Sun Microsystems' new Microelectronics division has licensed its technology for a multi-threaded chip for embedded and mobile devices.

Sun said it is licensing a suite of patents to ARM Holdings, a UK company that makes graphics processors and processors for mobile devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants.

ARM plans to use Sun's Java chip multi-threading, input/output, memory and power management technologies in a variety of connected devices.

This would be the first licensing of Sun's scalable processor architecture (SPARC) chip multi-threading (CMT) technology in mobile devices after using it primarily in Sun servers, said Fadi Azhari, director of marketing for SPARC CMT technology.

CMT is a processor design that allows multiple sets, or threads, of instructions to travel through a processor at the same time. Multi-threading makes more efficient use of the processor, thus reducing energy usage. Sun's Niagara 1 and 2 processors offer CMT.

"We have not licensed chip multi-threading in that [mobile] market," Azhari said. "What we are doing here is unleashing this huge innovation that we have at the silicon level, with CMT, to enable other companies to be successful and build that marketplace."

Sun created the Microelectronics division in late March to develop processor technology for use in Sun hardware but also to license the technology to other firms. The strategy is to help companies develop more technology products that will generate new demand for Sun's servers, storage and other IT infrastructure.

However, this does not mean that Sun is about to begin developing mobile devices, Azhari said.

The first licensing deal from the Microelectronics group was of 10Gbit Ethernet networking technology to Marvell Technology on 3 April.