Chipmaker Texas Instruments placed its OMAP 4 application processors in many smartphone, tablet and e-reader devices last year, but the company debuted the first reference design demo running its latest OMAP 5 chip and Android 4.0 at CES 2012, and Texas Instruments’ Vice President said it is “way ahead of Apple.”
The device is a chunky reference design, but its responsiveness while swiping through the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is impressive (as seen in the video below). The demo’s video playback is fluid, and Texas Instruments said the OMAP 5 could push 1080P content at 60 frames per second or more.
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OMAP’s Vice President Remi El-Ouazzane said the OMAP 5 system on a chip is running at 800 MHz, and it is capable of outclassing ARM9 chips measured at nearly double the speed. In fact, the SoC will use two of ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 CPUs, which equates to two Cortex-A9 processors running at 1.5GHz.
“This is the greatest platform on Earth right now… way ahead of Apple,” said El-Ouazzane at CES 2012, according to Engadget.
The mobile processor space is traveling in the same direction as desktops, especially with companies like Intel and AMD preferring more efficient, multi-core CPUs. El-Ouazzane said Texas Instruments is working with Microsoft to see OMAP 5 chipsets placed in notebooks by early 2013.
“You’ll see [commercially available products] ramping up with this stuff in late 2012 or early 2013. We are also running Windows 8 on the latest OMAP; it runs perfectly well, and we’ve been working very closely with Microsoft. We’re working on multiple form factors — tablets, thin-and-lights — and we think ARM is going to bring tablets to the masses,” El-Ouazzane explained.
OMAP 5 SoC is a large leap from OMAP 4, and it is produced under the new 28nm fabrication process for cheaper manufacturing. The process also causes the chips to draw less power, thus improving battery life. Improved performance is a favorable feature, but it is also important that the OMAP 5 operate without sweating in order to reap battery gains and reduce operation temperatures.
According to Texas Instruments (PDF download), OMAP 5 will also showcase two PwerVR SGX544MP graphics cores and a 2D BitBlt graphics accelerator for controlling user-interface acceleration. The specs respectively support 24- and 20-megapixel cameras for 3D HD video recording in the front and rear, and the OMAP 5 supports up to 8 GB of dual channel DDR3 memory, 3D HDMI 1.4 video output, and an output to four HD 3D displays. It also includes three USB 2.0 ports and a SATA 2.0 controller.
The OMAP 5-based reference platform is shipping to partners next week, and it is estimated to appear in products sometime in Q3 or Q4 of this year.
El-Ouazzane further elaborated and said he hopes to bring Android into the enterprise even more in the near future.