While most of the smartphone and wearables we’ve come to deal with are based on Intel’s x86 and Arm’s instruction sets, there’s a new instruction set in town – the open-source RISC-V. SiFive which is the cup design company behind RISC-V has now received financial backing from Qualcomm.
According to The Information, SiFive has raised $65.4 million in its latest funding round and a part of that investment was from smartphone chipset manufacturer Qualcomm. Qualcomm joins Intel and Samsung as investors in the startup company and can thus create chip designs on the open-source RISC-V instruction set.
Speaking of RISC-V, SiFive’s instruction set is free and scalable with devices ranging from microcontrollers to large scale commuters suited for compatibility. The company has over 100 chip design wins and is believed to come up with new designs at most every three months while designers like ARM take a whole year for doing the same.
SiFive has promised that their clients can receive sample chips with the requested design within weeks. While these chip designs have been implemented in microcontrollers, networking and IoT, the closest consumers have got to SiFive is through Huami wearables, which is sub-brand of Xiaomi.
While it’s obvious that wearables don’t demand that much horsepower as smartphones, the fact that Qualcomm is backing SiFive suggests that the chip designer startup has a bright future for its open source RISC-V introduction set. Qualcomm also joins other technology companies like Western Digital, TSMC, NVIDIA, Google and Alibaba who are part of the 235 members on board the RISC-V Foundation.