Freescale

Freescale may be the first semiconductor company to associate itself aggressively with portable Linux devices. The former Motorola semiconductor division is sharply targeting the low-priced Linux-based Netbook market, which is hot in the world market and just starting to get warm in the US.

Early this year, Freescale launched a new processor called the i.MX515 Cortex A8 Netbook Processor. Company literature positions the part for “low-power, gigahertz performance Netbooks at sub-$200 price points”. According to CNET, Glen Burchers, director of global marketing for Freescale's consumer products group, says “Because the primary function (of a Netbook) is accessing the Internet, Linux and Firefox are a good operating system and application for that purpose.”

Freescale is developing a reference design with ASUS-subsidiary Pegatron. It will feature the 1GHz i.MX51 processor, Ubuntu Linux, Adobe's Flash Player, a new power management chip and the SGTL5000 ultra-low-power audio codec.

Some data:

  • The i.MX515 is a 65nm CPU based on an ARM11 Cortex-A8 blueprint.
  • Clocks from 600MHz to 1GHz.
  • Includes the SGTL5000 ultra-low-power audio codec.
  • OpenVG and OpenGL graphics cores are available.
  • Up to eight hours battery life with displays up to 8.9".
  • Memory interface supports both DDR2 and mobile DDR1.
  • MC13982 power-management integrated circuit, for reduced size and weight and more battery life.

The company is working first with Tier 1 OEMs (so watch for ASUS units) and expects products to start hitting the market in Q2 of this year—in other words, about now.

Resources:

Freescale Semiconductor: www.freescale.com/webapp/search/Serp.jsp

“New Freescale Processors Target Linux Netbooks”: arstechnica.com/journals/linux.ars/2009/01/07/new-freescale-processors-target-linux-netbooks

“Freescale Chip Aims at 1GHz, $199 Netbook”: news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10130690-92.html

“Freescale, Nvidia Chase Netbook Sockets”: www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212700361

 

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal.

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