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Symbian supports ARM Cortex in smartphones

Posted: 29 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processor? operating system? ARM processor?

Symbian Ltd has ported its mobile OS to ARM's Cortex-A8 processor, which is running on Texas Instruments' OMAP3430 applications processor.

The OS supplier also revealed it has started shipping the latest version of its software, Symbian OS v9.5, which offers improved memory usage and integrated push e-mail support. It expects the first handsets using the latest OS to be shipping by the middle of next year.

Symbian says the ARM Cortex processor will enable "significantly higher smartphone performance whilst maintaining greater power efficiency and lowering development costs for handset manufacturers."

It says it is the first OS supplier to support ARM Cortex-A8 in smartphones.

Complete ARM support
The move means Symbian supports all ARM processor architectures, from the ARM9 range through the ARM11 series. Jorgen Behrens, executive VP, marketing, Symbian, said: "This provides further evidence that the intensive R&D collaboration between Symbian, ARM and TI continues to drive innovation in mobile technology."

The company said the support extends to the Symbian OS v9.5.

Symbian has been working on the OS v9.5 for much of last year in close collaboration with its licensees, leading handset vendors and its user interface platform partners MOAP, S60 and UIQ.

The company says the OS reduces hardware requirements and thus enables cost reductions on many smartphones as well as extending its application to lower cost models.

Demand paging
Key memory optimization features of the v9.5 include demand paging and automatic RAM de-fragmentation, which the company says can reduce average RAM usage in excess of 25 percent, allowing for more concurrent applications.

Demand paging means loading a part of the disk's library into physical memory only when needed, rather than preloading it, and should make phones based on v9.5 faster to start and more responsive.

On the connectivity side, the latest version has an improved SIP stack and comes with the ability to switch between cellular and Wi-Fi connections. v9.5 also comes with improved support for location based services such as GPS navigation, as well as support for multistandard digital TV, including DVB-H and ISDB-T.

The company says one major advance is the integration of ActiveSync Protocol for over-the-air connectivity with Microsoft Exchange servers.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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