Thursday, October 05, 2006

ARM wrestles for cellular security role

ARM wants to open up the applications programming interface for its TrustZone extensions to its ARM core in an effort to set a standard in cellphone handset security. The effort came to light yesterday at a panel discussion I chaired at the ARM Developers Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.

At a cocktail reception afterwards, ARM chief executive Warren East told me the company’s cores are in 90 percent of all cellphones and 70 percent of digital cameras. That makes the company with only a few hundred million in annual revenues a major force in mobile.

But it’s far from the only voice. The Trusted Computing Group recently finished a mobile security spec chaired by Nokia. It uses a version of the group’s Trusted Platform Module. Other groups addressing some aspects of mobile security include the Open Mobile Alliance, the Java Community Process, the Open Mobile Terminal Platform and STIP.

Reps from Broadcom and Motorola who attended a private ARM meeting on the API effort expressed hopes for one overarching mobile security standard. But a Freescale security architect took a wait-and-see attitude, as do I. –rbm

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