TI escalates ARM (chip) race

From CNET News.com: Texas Instruments sent out a little reminder on Monday that it won't be a cakewalk into the smartphone market for newcomers Intel and Nvidia.

While Intel announced LG Electronics as its first smartphone customer and Nvidia hawks its initial mobile phone technology platforms to prospective customers, TI continues to upgrade its arsenal of ARM-design-based processors, which have been shipping for years to cell phone customers. (Samsung and Palm--and the latter's newest Palm Pre--are among TI's customers.)

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, TI announced a new OMAP 4 mobile chip platform that will allow smartphones to do 1080p video record and playback and integrate 20-megapixel cameras. TI claims the OMAP 4 will deliver 10-times-faster Web page loading times, more than 7 times higher computing performance, and 10 times better graphics performance than its current OMAP processors.

The OMAP 4 processor is based on the dual-core ARM Cortex A9 MPCore supporting symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and capable of speeds of more than 1GHz per core, according to TI. Basic ARM processor designs are licensed by U.K.-based ARM Holdings to companies like Texas Instruments and Qualcomm that tweak the design and then manufacture the chip.

OMAP 4 platform and development tools are expected to sample in the second half of 2009, with production expected by the second half of 2010.

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