ARM processors are everywhere

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You might not realise it, but ARM processors are ubiquitous. When I look around my house, I can count eight ARM processors in routers, phones, eBook readers and web servers. There are more ARM processors in my house than Intel processors.

ARM assembly language is perhaps the easiest assembly language in widespread use. The Intel instruction set was developed over years of CPU revisions, which made the Complex Instruction Set (CISC) even more complex. In case you want to learn assembly, the ARM instruction set is simple to learn. Once you know how to write ARM assembly, it is easier to learn Intel assembly.

Finally, ARM processors are being used everywhere. Whether you like the iPhone or Android, they both use ARM processors. ARM processors excel at low-power computing, which makes them valuable for mobile computing, and consumer electronic devices like routers, NAS storage, eBook readers, game consoles and cell phones. Unlike desktop computers, resources are very limited on mobile devices. On such devices optimisation makes the difference between a slow and unusable application and a fast and responsive one.

Thanks to the profusion of Android devices, you can start programming ARM assembly within minutes and at low cost. You don’t need to sign an NDA or pay for development tools. If you have an Android phone and a computer, you already have everything you need. Assembly language programming will not require the buttons or the touch-screen. Any device with a working USB port and with root access will do.

Setting up an ARM device with Linux was a monumental effort: you had to buy a dev-kit which easily ran in the hundreds of dollars. Then you struggled to shoe-horn Linux onto the tiny device. With Android, you already get an ARM device running Linux. All the device drivers are in place. All you need is a Linux distribution that allows you to get the native development tools. This is considerably easier. It should take around an hour of effort.

At this point, you have a choice. You can either go with setting up your own device, which lets you develop on a real ARM computer. Or you can download a prebuilt QEMU image.

 

Continue at: http://www.eggwall.com/2011/09/android-arm-assembly-device-set-up-part.html

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