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Scalable app processors target wireless handhelds

Posted: 04 Dec 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Marvell? application processor? Intel? processor? handheld?

Marvell has launched its first family of application processors based on Intel's XScale Technology. The PXA3xx series are aimed at feature handsets, smartphones, GPS navigation systems, wireless handhelds and other consumer electronic devices.

The first processor in the family to ship in volume is the Marvell PXA320 (Monahans P). Demonstrated earlier this year running at 1.2GHz, the Marvell PXA320 is scalable to 806MHz. OEMs are expected to be introducing devices based on the Marvell PXA320 in the first quarter of 2007.

The PXA 3xx family is completely software compatible and includes two pin-compatible components specifically tailored to high volume consumer products such as mobile phones, digital media players, GPS navigation systems, and embedded devices. The Marvell PXA300 (Monahans-L) offers performance and cost optimization for high volume handheld devices while the Marvell PXA 310 (Monahan-LV) provides high-resolution VGA multimedia performance with extended battery life for demanding 3G video and audio use.

The PXA310 delivers 30fps H.264 playback performance at VGA resolutions along with general purpose processing. Both products deliver "Scalable to 624MHz" performance and are software compatible with Marvell PXA320 processors so that a single software development effort scales across a wide range of devices segments. All products in the family are either shipping in volume or available in samples now, and will be shipping in volume in the first half of 2007.

The PXA3xx family of processors delivers improved performance and extended battery life, enabling advanced video and audio capabilities, according to Marvell. Wireless Intel SpeedStep with MusicMax technology provides intelligent power management, enabling varying power states so users can listen up to 30 hours of MP3s on their handsets without sacrificing battery life. Intel VideoMax technology in the PXA3xx family of application processors supports high-performance video capabilities, and will continue delivering improved resolution with future versions of the PXA3xx family of processors.

Supports H.264 codecs
Power efficient video playback and capture enables high resolution content and supports advanced codecs such as H.264 for rich video quality, up to D1 resolution at 30 frames per second. The PXA3xx family also supports digital cameras, and advanced camera effects such as image stabilization and up to 5Mpixel camera sensors.

The PXA3xx family gives users the ability to browse the Web, enjoy premium music and watch the latest videos on the go, without sacrificing performance or battery life within an optional secure framework. Wireless customers can listen to music over a stereo Bluetooth headset while reading email, open active content over WIFI, and take cellular phone calls with personalized MIDI ring tones and caller ID.

With platform enabling solutions available for Microsoft, Linux, Palm, and a spectrum of RTOS offerings, device developers can choose the experience, applications and services that meet consumers' needs. Development of multiple operating environments conserves development work, accelerates time to market and reduces risk for manufacturers serving diverse wireless operator requirements. Compliance with the ARM architecture, allows existing ARM-based applications to be ported quickly to the PXA3xx family.

Marvell is currently also shipping in volume the PXA 800 (internally codenamed Hermon) series of Cellular baseband processors. Pricing of the new Marvell processors was not released.

- Marty Gold

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