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Freescale CEO Stresses Multicore Future

Freescale CEO Stresses Multicore Future

Freescale Semiconductor chief executive Rich Beyer took to the stage Tuesday for the first time since the company went public a few weeks ago, telling a shoulder-to-shoulder audience of about 2,000 engineers the "essence of what Freescale brings is still embedded processing."

Beyer, whose company raised $900 million in its initial public offering on May 26, assured engineers the company's mission hasn't changed. "We raised $900 million and used it to pay down debt," he said. "But we don't see that heading into any changes in strategy." Beyer's comments came at the keynote address of the Freescale Technology Forum, which is taking place in San Antonio, Texas this week.

Beyer cited Freescale's introduction of multiple microcontroller families and said the new technology will be applicable to mobile devices, security systems, medical innovations, smart grid applications, and new automotive technologies.

He said multicore solutions are critical to a future involving an explosion of network endpoints and Internet traffic. In making his case, Beyer cited forecasts showing there will be 10 billion smart mobile devices connected to the Internet by 2015. He said global mobile traffic will increase by a factor of 26 between 2010 and 2015.

"Moore's Law alone will not keep up with the requirements," he said as he introduced the company's new QorIQ AMP, an advanced multi-processor series of devices that reportedly delivers four times the performance of current products at half the power consumption. The AMP series incorporates a multi-threaded 64-bit Power Architecture core, 28-nm process technology, and up to 24 virtual cores.

Beyer also introduced the company's i.MX 6 series of MCUs that scales from one to four CPU cores for multimedia consumer applications. Built on ARM Cortex core technology, the i.MX 6 series includes dual-stream 1080p video processing for 3D class video decoding.

During the keynote, Freescale engineers also discussed technology aimed at the world's medical challenges, particularly as society tries to deal with the growing population of aging Baby Boomers. The company highlighted the introduction of its K50 Kinetis MCU family for medical applications by showing how a biometric bed could detect the high blood-glucose level of a 52-year-old man who had eaten too much cake the previous night before going to sleep.

Steve Nelson, Freescale's director of marketing, also demonstrated how a tablet PC could be used to remotely "pre-condition" the interior of a Chevy Volt that was parked in a conference hallway. Explaining that "40 percent of the energy in the battery can be spent on the HVAC system" in electric vehicles, he used a tablet PC (powered by a Freescale MCU) to remotely turn on the air conditioning in the Volt while it was still plugged into a wall socket.

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