TI to ship dual-core chip for smartphones this year

Texas Instruments on Monday said it will start shipping a new dual-core chip for devices like smartphones and tablets later this year.

The OMAP4430 chip will deliver double the performance of existing single-core chips from the OMAP3 family. This will allow applications to run faster on mobile devices, said Robert Tolbert, director of product management for the OMAP smartphone business at TI.

The chip will also bring features like 1080p high-definition video playback to mobile devices, Tolbert said. It will operate at a clock speed of up to 1GHz and draw up to 50% less power than its predecessors.

Many of the chip's improvements come from a new processor design being implemented in OMAP4430, Tolbert said. The chip is based on Arm's latest Cortex-A9 processor design, while TI's earlier OMAP3 chips are based on Cortex-A8. Motorola's recently released Droid X phone, for example, uses the Cortex OMAP3630, which is based on Cortex-A8.

Devices with the dual-core chip will also be able to deliver 10 hours of 1080p video playback compared to OMAP3630's four hours of 720p video playback. The new chip can play more than 15 hours of 720p video.

TI is readying the chip for possible implementation in devices starting later in the year, though Tolbert declined to name customers.

Motorola has said in the past that it intends to put dual-core chips in future smartphones, but has not provided any release date for such devices.

While TI has a strong presence in the smartphone space, it is also aiming OMAP4 chips for use in handheld computing devices like tablets, Tolbert said. Companies like Nvidia have already announced chips based on the Cortex-A9 design for tablets.

The OMAP4430 chip will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, but TI intends to move to the 28-nm process in the future, which could bring further improvement and power-efficiency benefits to the chips.

Tolbert also said TI has signed a deal with Arm to make chips based on the Arm's upcoming processor design called Eagle. The two companies worked together on chip design, and TI will provide further details about Eagle-based chips later this year, Tolbert said.

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