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The ARM CPU family is widely recognized as being ideal for hand-held computing applications and there already exist a number of products using discrete CPUs. The traditional route to further reducing costs and power consumption is integration, i.e. of the peripherals with the CPU. While the ARM7100 follows this route and is the first of a series of high-integration portable computer microcontrollers, it also incorporates many innovative features, solving design, test, roadmap and time-to-market issues. The ARM7100 was the result of collaboration between Psion and ARM. Psion had specific requirements, for CPU performance, peripheral integration and low overall power consumption including a number of power management features. Prior to the ARM7100, ARM had designed a number of high-integration parts and from this experience had developed new bus architecture ideas. These were incorporated into the ARM7100 to produce a highly modular design, giving benefits to both the silicon designer and the product manufacturer. The ARM7100 can be considered in several ways: a reference design for microcontroller designers (and test engineers), enabling a fast-start for customer-specific designs, the micro component of a hardware platform for hand-held computing systems, such as portable computers, browsers or smart phones. (This system includes a vertical software offering, from device drivers and operating system, to applications complete with a developers environment), an off-the-shelf standard product enabling products to be rapidly designed without the delay or up-front development costs of an ASIC or customer-specific part, the first member of a family of ARM-powered standard parts, enabling portable computer designers to plan and implement a range of products sharing a common architecture, and development environment, This article firstly describes the ARM7100 device and then attempts to highlight key device features, in an interesting and relevant manner, by describing two new innovative products from Psion, and a new start-up company, OptionExist.
ARM architecture, embedded systems, portable computing, system design, RISCs

J. Christensen, S. Rayne, G. Milne and A. Khan, "Microcontroller Design Advantages for Portable Computing," in IEEE Micro, vol. 17, no. , pp. 49-55, 1997.
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