Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Speeding up Consumer Connections

Bringing high-end graphics technology to the masses
ARM Cortex-A8
© Texas Instruments
The single-chip, superscalar 600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8, adds more than four times the power of its previous device. It allows the OMAP35 processors to work more quickly on numerous applications.

By Barry Hochfelder

Consumers are becoming savvier. For example, as cell phones evolve, become seemingly ubiquitous and offer more and more services—the iPhone, BlackBerry and others—users expect higher-quality graphics, more intuitive user interfaces and, of course, the ability to connect quickly to the Internet. Basically, they want what gamers have had. And gamers want more and better.

Texas Instruments in February released four new OMAP™ processors based on the Cortex-A8 core from ARM® (Cambridge, U.K.). The single-chip, superscalar 600 MHz Cortex-A8, which has more than four times the processing power of its 300 MHz device, makes the four new OMAP35x processors applications ranging from portable navigation devices to internet appliances to personal medical equipment.

The new OMAP35x devices—four single-chip processors, the 3503, 3515, 3525 and 3530—extend TI's wireless handset technology to mainstream customers reaching new markets, including automotive, consumer, embedded and medical. The integrated, single-chip devices combine photo-realistic graphics and TI's advanced video DSP technology, to offer integrated multi-core processing capabilities in any single-chip combination. These will allow original equipment manufacturers to redefine the standard for advanced user interfaces, web browsing, productivity and multimedia experience.

These processors offer a variety of combinations of the Cortex-A8 core, multimedia-rich peripherals, OpenGL® ES 2.0 compatible graphics engine, video accelerators and TMS320C64x+™ DSP core. TI's DaVinci™ software technology for video-centric customers will be available for the highest-performance video in the OMAP35x devices, including the OMAP3525 and OMAP3530. Development with the new OMAP35x devices will be supported by the TI Developer Network, which encompasses an ecosystem of more than 400 companies with expertise reaching from operating system implementation to application user interfaces. The applications processors also support 12MP still image capture and are pin-for-pin compatible to make it easy for OEMs to efficiently create a complete product portfolio based on the single platform. Software developed on previous generations of ARM devices and the C64x+ DSP are also compatible with the cores on the OMAP35x devices.

The ARM processor is based upon the company's ARMv7 architecture and can scale from 600MHz to greater than 1GHz, making it a good fit for internet devices, mobile devices needing operation in less than 300mW; and performance-optimized consumer applications requiring 2,000 Dhrystone MIPS (millions of instructions per second).

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