Chapter 1

The History of ARM

WHAT’S IN THIS CHAPTER?

  • The beginnings of Acorn
  • How Acorn became ARM
  • ARM naming conventions
  • ARM processor architecture

In the late 1970s, the computer industry was going through a period of huge change and substantial growth. Up until that time, computers were the size of a room and took dozens of people to operate. The ENIAC weighed 30 tons, took up a surface of 1,800 square feet (167 square meters), and required 150 kilowatts of energy. Huge technological advances were being made, and people started talking about the possibility of creating a computer that didn’t weigh more than 2 tons. Then, the transistor revolution happened. Suddenly, all the power held in a room full of electronics (some would say electrics) could be put into a single microchip, just a few centimeters squared. Businesses could afford to have multiple systems; schools bought computers for research and education; and even families could finally enjoy personal computing. The 1970s saw the birth of some of the major players in computers: Apple Computer, Atari, Commodore, and Acorn, to name but a few. It would take only a few years to see some of the mythical names in personal computing: The Amiga, the Atari ST, and the Commodore 64, for example — gift-giving hasn’t been the same since.

THE ORIGIN OF ARM

In late 1978, Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry founded Acorn Computers, Ltd. in Cambridge, UK. Initially working as a consultancy group, Hauser and Curry obtained a contract from Ace ...

Get Professional Embedded ARM Development now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.