Qualcomm embeds Cog’s virtualization tech in Snapdragon chips

Australia’s Cog Systems strikes deal with chip-maker

Qualcomm Technologies says it will embed an Australian-developed virtualization platform in select Snapdragon chips, including the new Snapdragon 855.

Qualcomm last year revealed details of the Snapdragon 855, which it has claimed is the world’s first commercial mobile platform to support the new 5G wireless standard. The system on a chip is expected to power a range of major Android-based handsets, including Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S10.

The announcement is a major win for Cog Systems, whose D4 Secure platform it designed to help lock down mobile devices and other embedded systems.

“This means any device maker using a Snapdragon chip need only get in touch with Qualcomm or our team to turn on our defence-grade security,” Cog CEO Daniel Potts wrote in a blog entry.

“What is exciting about this is that by having great foundational security we take care of limitations that prevented OEMs from creating new and innovative products using technology like AI and machine learning for biometrics, real-time (which robots and autonomous vehicle need).”

The announcement is the result of “many months of careful due diligence with Qualcomm and years of engineering,” Potts wrote.

“Adding Cog’s virtualization technology to our chipset platforms enhances our already robust security and brings significant flexibility for our customers,” said Qualcomm’s director of product management, Jesse Seed, in a statement. “Simplifying and securing the connected device ecosystem is critical and a key goal for both companies.”

D4 uses an L4 microkernal-based bare metal hypervisor and has a modular architecture that allows key services such as a VPN or key store to be isolated.

“From a technical standpoint, we try to encourage everyone to embrace a more modular approach to software architecture as opposed to monolithic, and to do that one of the key technology underpinnings of our solution is virtualization,” Potts told Computerworld in an interview earlier this year.

“One way of thinking of Cog is we’re really virtualization for IoT, so just like VMware is for cloud now—it's had massive success in the cloud — think of us as being virtualization for IoT.”

“In the operating system space alone, particularly for the little devices, there's probably over 400 real-time operating systems out there, so it's really, really fragmented — and then you've got your applications and your libraries and all that on top of that,” the CEO said.

“This is where virtualization's really cool: What it enables us to do is allow those legacy systems to run inside one of these modules, one of these virtual machines, so that the device-maker is able to reuse what they have — or they're able to choose really best-in-class software from the ecosystem, whether it’s open source or otherwise.”

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