TI opens up OMAP with ARM Cortex-A8 and DaVinci link

Texas Instruments has introduced its first processors based on the ARM Cortex-A8 core, and they are notable because they offer the performance to widen the market for its OMAP mobile phone platform to other types of handheld product, including medical monitors.

The superscalar 600MHz Cortex-A8 core has been integrated into four OMAP35x applications processors which have been tuned to meet the needs of designs in automotive, consumer, embedded and medical where graphics and Internet capabilities are becoming important.

For the first time the software for the company’s DaVinci multimedia platform will be able to run high end video on the OMAP35x devices, including the OMAP3525 and OMAP3530.

“We are finally at a point where photo-realistic graphics, constant Internet access and multimedia capabilities run on all of our applications without concern about dead batteries,” said Mike Hames, senior v-p for applications specific products at TI.

The four processors offer various combinations of the Cortex-A8 core, multimedia-rich peripherals, OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible graphics engine, video accelerators and TMS320C64x+ DSP core.

The processors also support 12Mpixel still image capture. Software developed on previous generations of ARM devices and the C64x+ DSP are also compatible with the cores on the OMAP35x devices.

The jump in processing power comes from the Cortex-A8’s 600MHz clock speed and its superscalar architecture which lifts it well above the 300MHz ARM9 core, which is used in previous generation OMAP processors.

As a result the Cortex-A8 achieves more than 1200 Dhrystone millions of instructions per second (MIPS) and can run operating systems, such as Windows Embedded CE and Linux, which are so critical to Internet terminal designs.

The first device, the OMAP3503 will ship within four weeks. The other three devices (OMAP3515, OMAP3525 and OMAP3530) will be available with complete development tools in the second half of 2008.

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