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Custom IC, software ease e-book design

Posted: 11 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:custom IC? software? e-book? power management?

TI's reference design for e-books demonstates a power management chip for a new e- paper display.

Texas Instruments is offering a custom silicon and software intended to streamline the design process for e-books using the same E-Ink display.

TI's chips and software also are intended to allow OEMs to lengthen the battery lifetime of their e-books by 50 percent while shrinking the footprint by eliminating 40 discrete components.

"We are offering a comprehensive e-book development platform to e-book developers that will speed their time to market, lower their BOM, shrink their footprint by 200 square millimeters and increase their battery lifetime by about 50 percent," claimed Gregg Burke, TI's eBook business line manager.

"Based on an e-book using a 6-inch E-Ink electrophoretic display (EPD) with a 600mA/hour battery, readers could get up to 14,800 page turns, 50 percent better than current e-book," he added. Idle time for an e-book that continuously displays a single page is about four weeks, significantly longer than other e-books, Burke said.

Sriram Peruvemba, VP of marketing for E-Ink, said eliminating 40 components will allow significant reduction in the footprint of any e-book using TI's chip. "TI is also the first to offer a software-based EPD controller, which will allow E-Ink to make updates without EPD driver chipmakers having to do a redesign," Peruvemba.

TI's EPD power management chip, the TPS6518x, is said to supply the signals needed to drive the E-Ink display, replacing 40 discrete components.

TI's also developed software for its C64x+DSP technology, which is already used for multimedia acceleration. OEMs can load TI's software into its new OMAP3621 microprocessor with an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU integrated alongside an Imagination POWERVR3D graphics accelerator.

TI said it has created a reference design using a 9.5-inch E-Ink display running either the Android or Linux operating systems. The reference design is being shown this week during the Consumer Electronics Show. The design includes other TI chips for wireless connectivity and multimedia management, including both audio and video processing, WiLink 6.0 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM radio and 3G modem connectivity.

TI said it will give OEMs access to the schematics and software source code for its reference design while manufacturers design e-books.

Using software to drive the E-Ink display, OEMs will be able to program their devices to add special features, such as controlling a second LCD display to show videos and other multimedia content not appropriate for the EPDs.

TI said its reference design also eliminates the need for dedicated external flash memory to store waveforms as well as dedicated SDRAM memory for frame buffering.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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