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February 13th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Texas Instrument’s OMAP 5 is a 28 nanometer system-on-a-chip (SoC) that has been announced for production in late 2011. Although this means consumers probably won’t get their hands on the corresponding smart phones until late 2012, there is much to be anticipated in the mean time.

A major component of the upgrade from OMAP 4 to OMAP 5 is, of course, the processor involved. The design of the OMAP 5 is quad-core, featuring 2 Cortex A15 cores and 2 Cortex M4 cores. TI is the first to officially license the Cortex A15, ARM’s most recently developed Eagle core. Not many details of the Cortex A15’s architecture have been released, but at speeds of up to 2GHz per core, a major leap in technology from OMAP 4’s Cortex A9s is to be expected. TI estimates the OMAP 5 will triple the speed of the OMAP 4 while reducing its power consumption by 60 percent.

According to TI, OMAP 5 will allow mobile devices to run multiple operating systems at a level rivaling that of PCs. ARM based chips are estimated to control 95 percent of the tablet PC market share, so they certainly should know something about PC performance. According to TI the OMAP 5 will provide the best multimedia and graphics performance in the mobile market.

Creating major buzz is OMAP 5’s ability to support gesture-based interfaces, similar to the new Xbox 360 Kinect system. As touch-less technology invades all walks of life, its influence on smart phones is inevitable. Imagine moving 3D objects around with a wiggle of your fingers. And yes, a 3D display is a part of the deal. No glasses required.

Technically speaking, there are two editions of the OMAP 5. The 5430, most likely for use in smart phones, is 14 mm square, with PoP dual-channel LPDDR2 memory support. The 5432, targeted for larger devices, is 17 mm square with BGA dual-channel DDR3/DDR3L memory.

Also a part of the OMAP 5 package are 2D and 3D video capability at 1080p. Add in the support of facial recognition, a 24 mega pixel (5430) or 20 mega pixel (5432) camera , typical Wi-Fi technology, and 4G connectivity, and you have a perfect storm of impressive technology. Perhaps more amazing is that all of this power actually fits into that 14 – 17 mm wide space.

TI has said that they are targeting the future of Windows and are currently in discussions with Microsoft. With decent competition from Qualcom, Samsung, and even N-vidia, the processing world is constantly requiring much from its participants. With the OMAP 5, it certainly seems that TI has delivered.

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