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TI Unveils New Smartphone/PDA Chip

Texas Instruments is heralding a new wireless processor for smartphones or PDAs.

Due out in sample form in the first quarter of 2004, the Dallas chipmaker said its multimedia-enhanced OMAP1710 will handle applications 40 percent better than previous versions at about half the power consumption. The new chip is expected to compete with similar offerings from Intel and Motorola .

Based on its predecessor (the OMAP1610), the OMAP1710 is powered by an ARM core and instruction set-enhanced TI DSP engine that supports multimedia applications such as still images, graphics, full-motion video and audio.

The processor is also the first chip by TI to be produced using the 90-nanometer (nm) process technology. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter and represents the latest trend in the semiconductor sector.

"We are excited that TI will be the first company to deliver application processors for cell phones that will provide our customers with the performance and power efficiency advantage made possible by advanced 90 nm technology," TI vice president and worldwide OMAP platform general manager Alain Mutricy said in a statement.

The chip also sports higher frequency, larger data and instruction caches, Java and improved security. For example, the company said its new OMAP chip includes hardware security encryption that prevents the loading of unauthorized software and protects sensitive data such as the phone's identity.

The OMAP1710 chip is also software compatible with previous OMAP application processors, which the company said will make it easy for application developers and handset manufacturers to migrate to the latest chip.

Another selling point is that the new OMAP chip supports advanced mobile operating systems such as Linux, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Nucleus, Palm OS and Symbian OS.

And if that were not enough, the chip is compatible with TI's TCS wireless chipsets for GSM/GPRS/EDGE, cdma2000 1X and UMTS, all wireless technologies that vendors have been clamoring for in their devices.

"The milestone we have achieved with the OMAP1710 processor reinforces our strategy to leverage TI's advanced process technology to provide high-performance, low-power, highly-integrated products for mobile devices," Mutricy said.

Like all of TI's current OMAP processors, the new chip is supported by the OMAP Developer Network and the network of independent OMAP Technology Centers that provide development support services.