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.


Freescale Semiconductor:

“New Freescale Processors Target Linux Netbooks”:

“Freescale Chip Aims at 1GHz, $199 Netbook”:

“Freescale, Nvidia Chase Netbook Sockets”:

Linux Journal 's editorial vision is led by David “Doc” Searls, named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in IT by eWeek. Doc is the co-author of the best selling Cluetrain Manifesto and author of The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge. He is a fellow at the Center for Information Technology & Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. You can contact Editor-in-Chief Doc Searls via e-mail,

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