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Freescale Semiconductor Offers New Solution for Netbooks

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January 06, 2009

Freescale Semiconductor Offers New Solution for Netbooks

By Shamila Janakiraman, TMCnet Contributor

Freescale Semiconductor (News - Alert) enters the netbook market with a new comprehensive solution which can be used to produce netbooks featuring 8.9 inch displays and a battery life of eight hours between charges. The company designs and manufactures embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets.

Freescale’s comprehensive netbook reference design solution is based on the new i.MX515 processor which features ARM (News - Alert) Cortex A8 technology. The solution also includes software, components and resources that will enable OEMs to develop and deploy netbook products rapidly.
The processor design solution has been created with Pegatron’s reference design for the i.MX515 processor. The solution also includes Canonical’s Ubuntu (News - Alert) operating system, a new power management IC from Freescale known as the SGTL5000 ultra low-power audio codec besides software from Adobe Flash Player.
“We see a huge opportunity in the netbook market as consumers demand more cost-effective and higher performing solutions,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group.
“Our solution for netbooks will enable OEMs to develop compelling products that feature cell phone-like battery life at extremely aggressive price points. We believe the combination of the i.MX515 processor and related enablement solutions will dramatically accelerate the evolution of this exciting new space,” Su continued.

ABI Research (News - Alert) has predicted that consumers will buy 140 million netbooks by 2013 which is high compared to the sales of only 15 million sold in 2008. Netbooks are streamlined, embedded devices which provide optimum performance for several Internet-based activities like social networking, browsing the Web, email and other uses.
“As was evident in the 2008 holiday season, the netbook market has exploded due to consumer demand for affordable and compact devices that allow users to conduct routine tasks like social networking or shopping on the Web,” said Philip Solis, principal analyst at ABI Research.
Freescale’s i.MX515 processor has an integrated ARM Cortex-A8 core and it is manufactured using 65-nm process technology. It provides up to 2100 Dhrystone MIPS and can scale in performance from 600MHz to 1GHz. The advanced power management features in the processor are hardware-based video acceleration block which allows an extended battery life and also does not need fans or heat sinks.
The i.MX515 processor offers OpenVG and OpenGL graphics cores which enable 2D and 3D graphics besides Flash and SVG for improving user experiences. Freescale will enable Adobe software to run on the processor’s dedicated OpenVG graphics block.
Freescale’s netbook solution includes the MC13982 power management IC. This helps reduce size and weight of the netbook at the same time extending battery life.
Shamila Janakiraman is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Shamila’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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