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What makes ARM devices so appealing as application processors?

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shaiko

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High-end ARM cores (Cortex A for example) established themselves as the leaders in embedded application processing.
In the same time the market offers many DSP devices with stronger processing capabilities that can run an OS with rich user interfaces (Linux, Android, Windows CE etc...) - nonetheless ARM continues to rule.

When considering to use ARM or DSP for application processing - I know ARM has the following advantages:

1. Lower cost.
2. Abundancy of software development tool vendors.
3. Abundancy of chip vendors.
4. Portability of code.

The above are very important - but there're more a product of good marketing and market acceptance then an actual technological advantage (over DSP's that can do the same job).
I want to know whether the're any "architectural" advantages that give ARM the edge as application processors.
For example: an instruction set that's more suitable for application processing, better memory management units etc...
 

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