Dec 08 AT 9:00 AM Taylor Wimberly 12 Comments

Texas Instruments announces dual-core 1.5 GHz OMAP4 for second half of 2011

Today Texas Instruments announced that their new OMAP4440 processor will be go into production by the second half of 2011. This dual-core processor boasts clock speeds of 1.5 GHz per ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore and it includes a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The OMAP4440 also includes other feature enhancements like the ability to support 1080p stereoscopic 3D playback (glasses-free), 1080p video conferencing, and support for up to two 12-megapixel cameras in parallel (yeah, 3D photos).

Compared to the previous model OMAP4430, the newer OMAP4440 offers a 1.25x increase in graphics performance, a 30 percent decrease in webpage load time, and a 2x increase in 1080p video playback performance.

TI has high hopes for the OMAP4440 and thinks it will upgrade mobile user experiences. Remi El-Ouazzane, VP OMAP platform business unit, said that OMAP4440-powered devices will offer experiences that will “radically impact how consumers continue to integrate mobile technology into their daily lives.”

We know TI can crank out the goods after they supplied the OMAP3430 processor inside the Motorola Droid (which became the best selling Android phone), but it appears that they are already late to the multi-core party.

Motorola has decided to go with NVIDIA’s dual-core Tegra 2 processor for their next round of flagship devices including the Olympus (AT&T phone), Etna (Verizon 4G phone), and the Everest (Honeycomb tablet). That was TI’s biggest customer for the high-end Android phone market, so who will give them a chance now?

I also have to wonder why TI is just cranking up the clock speed of their dual-core A9s instead of going to quad-core like NVIDIA. TI says they expect the OMAP4400 to go into production by the second half of 2011, so that means we likely won’t see devices till around this time next year.

Hopefully TI will meet their deadline or even exceed it, but look at recent history. The OMAP3 was announced way back in 2006 when Ryan Block still ran Engadget, but we didn’t see it in a product till the Palm Pre was released three years later in 2009. The OMAP4 was first announced at MWC 2009 and then re-announced at MWC 2010, so this latest press release would be the third bulletin (hopefully the 3rd time’s a charm).

If history repeats itself, we might not see an OMAP4440 processor inside an Android phone till 2012. Please don’t think I’m trying to rain on their parade, but I’m a tech blogger and the things that get me the most excited are products coming out in the next couple of months.

We have heard no rumors or seen any leaks of Android products that are using OMAP4. On the other hand, we have seen Samsung’s dual-core Orion running Android and heard reports of prototype phones in the wild, while Qualcomm’s dual-core Snapdragon is being used in Acer’s 7-inch tablet coming in April.

I’m not sure who’s using OMAP4 for Android devices, but I want to find out. The 1080p video conferencing and 12-megapixel 3D pictures sound really awesome, but who’s to say we won’t see those same experiences on similar multi-core processor from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, or Samsung.

The Android world moves at lightning speed and if you can’t keep up with the competition then the handset and tablet makers will pass you by. Other than HTC being loyal to Qualcomm, most manufactures will use whatever is the best available processor.

So it looks like Texas Instruments will miss out on the initial wave of flagship devices for Gingerbread and Honeycomb, but who’s to say they can’t make a comeback and power the lead gadgets that will be running Ice Cream and Jelly Bean?

Bonus: I found TI’s video from when they first announced the OMAP4 back in 2009. It might be a little old, but it shows you the original vision that TI had for OMAP4 and the progress they’ve made since then.

Show Press Release

TI’s OMAP4440 processor boasts new upgrades, raises the bar for mobile design

Mobile video teleconferencing, stereoscopic-3D and gesture recognition capabilities gain from OMAPâ„¢ 4 technology upgrades, including speeds of 1.5 GHz per CPU core

DALLAS (Dec. 8, 2010) — Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN) today announced that the OMAP4440 applications processor enhancements deliver impressive performance improvements beyond the OMAP4430 processor, including a 1.25x increase in graphics performance, a 30 percent decrease in webpage load time, a 2x increase in 1080p video playback performance and clock speeds as fast as 1.5 GHz per ARM® Cortexâ„¢-A9 MPCoreâ„¢. These marked performance advantages, along with other feature enhancements, reaffirm the OMAPâ„¢ 4 platform’s ability to drive today’s most coveted Smartphone and tablet user experiences, such as 1080p stereoscopic 3D (S3D), 1080p video conferencing and gesture recognition. For OMAP4440 processor details, visit: www.ti.com/omap4440.

“The increased performance given by the OMAP4440 applications processor illustrates TI’s ability to push mobile computing possibilities with the right processor architecture enveloped in the right platform, ” said Remi El-Ouazzane, vice president, OMAP platform business unit, TI. “We seized an opportunity to enhance the platform capabilities driving the OMAP4430 processor’s success today. As OMAP4430 processor-based products hit the market in first half 2011, we’re arming our customers with a huge performance boost via an easy migration to OMAP4440 processor for their next wave of exciting devices. The resulting user experiences will radically impact how consumers continue to integrate mobile technology into their daily lives.”

OMAP4440 processor: Primed for upgraded mobile user experiences
The OMAP 4 platform is a highly-optimized system-on-chip (SOC) leveraging two ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore general-purpose processors, reaching speeds of 1.5 GHz per core, complemented by two ARM Cortex-M3 cores to power-efficiently offload time-critical and control tasks. High-performance multimedia capabilities are provided by programmable cores including a POWERVRâ„¢ 3D graphics engine, TI IVA 3 for high-definition/multi-standard video, TI image signal processor (ISP) for high-quality/high-megapixels imaging, TI low-power audio processor and TI digital signal processor (DSP) based on the TI C64x DSP for natural user interface and signal processing innovations optimized for mobile applications.

The OMAP 4 platform efficiently supports concurrent, high-performance processing and high-definition multimedia with dual, high-bandwidth memory channels. The platform is secured with TI M-Shieldâ„¢ security, and delivers high performance within the small power budget of mobile devices by leveraging TI SmartReflexâ„¢ power and performance management technologies. As the second member of the OMAP 4 product family, the OMAP4440 processor’s upgraded features and benefits include:

Feature* Benefit
Two ARM® Cortexâ„¢-A9 MPCoresâ„¢ optimized to 1.5 GHz each 50% increase in overall performance; 33% reduction in webpage load time
End-to-end graphics acceleration enhancement (triangles per second, fill rate and shaders) 25% increase in overall graphics performance
Support for HDMI v1.4 3D modes Full 1080p HD S3D playback to 3D TV
1080p60 video format support 2x higher performance video playback
Support for up to two 12-megapixel cameras in parallel Higher stereoscopic resolution encode enabling stereo photography, which meets the same resolution previously experienced only with 2D photography
IVA 3 multimedia hardware accelerator Industry’s highest quality video playback at low bit rates
Complete pin-to-pin hardware and software compatibility Easy migration from the OMAP4430 processors

*Comparative data is relative to the OMAP4430 processor’s performance

The OMAP4440 processor is uniquely positioned to support the widely anticipated mobile video teleconferencing experience. For example, successful mobile video teleconferencing requires a few key components directly addressed by the following OMAP4440 processor features:

Mobile video teleconferencing component OMAP4440 processor-enabled feature
High-quality mobile video conferencing Improved video quality in low-light conditions; video stabilization
Chat software (i.e., Skype or Google Talk) Video codec support includes H.264, VP7, H.263, SVC, and more
Peer-to-peer (1 local user with one other user) chat functionality 1080p mobile video conferencing
Multi-chat (1 local user with up to 4 other users) functionality 720p resolution with stereo audio support
Cloud access for simultaneous application support (e.g., browsing the web while chatting or document sharing) Optimized symmetric multiprocessing architecture to deliver low latency and high bandwidth support

Availability and pricing
The OMAP4440 applications processor will sample in first quarter 2011, with production expected by the second half of 2011. These products are intended for high-volume wireless OEMs and ODMs and are not available through distributors.

Source: OMAP4

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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