It's been expected by many analysts and fanboys alike that AMD would eventually either produce their own ARM-type chip or license one of ARM's creations. Today, AMD has finally done one of those options by licensing the ARM Cortex-A5. The Cortex-A5 will find its way into AMD's APU line of CPUs.
It's not actually the processing functions of the Cortex-A5 that AMD is after, however. This is the unexpected part. Instead, AMD is looking to use the security features that ARM has been working on for some time. Dubbed TrustZone, ARM has produced hardware and software which make data transfers and transactions more secure.
The Cortex-A5 was chosen as it is the smallest of ARM's chips and will take up only a marginal amount of space on one of AMD's APUs. If produced on the 28nm process, it is expected the A5 will add about 10-15mm2 of die size. The A5 will take care of all of the security functions for securing online transactions.
"With AMD's support for, and inclusion in, the expanding TrustZone ecosystem, consumers and businesses can rest assured their data and content are secured by an industry-standard security solution that spans a multitude of devices and operating systems," said Wolfe. "This example of AMD's ambidextrous strategy, which leverages our history of x86 and graphics innovation while also embracing other technologies and intellectual property, will help drive a more secure computing experience for our consumer and businesses customers."