DALLAS—Texas Instruments Inc. has shown off Windows RT running on an Omap-powered Toshiba tablet on video for the first time.
Microsoft's operating system, adapted for the ARM ecosystem, seemed to get off to a slow start, but TI now seems confident enough not only to show the device working on camera, but also showing it to press.
EE Times had a chance to play with the reference design, and despite one crash early on, the system seemed fast, responsive and fluid.
"It hasn't been easy, because it was new work for everyone involved," said Bill Crean, product manager of the OMAP processor business unit.
Crean said his team had been working "very closely" with Microsoft for two years to adapt Windows—previously available only on on Intel Corp.'s x86 architecture—for ARM chips, but said now that things were running more smoothly, "the leash" had been "loosened" somewhat.
Power management, said Crean, is still an ongoing struggle, but he said it was an area in which TI outshone much of its competition.
Asked whether Windows RT could stand up to the version running on Intel's x86 chips, Crean said TI had a significant power advantage.
"We can achieve connected standby—Intel can't," he said.
"It's a level of power ARM and Omap can achieve, and tablets based on our platform will just have longer battery life," he said.
In graphics, too, TI believes it has an advantage over its ARM-based rivals, saying that despite the fact Nvidia is known for its home grown graphics, the firm faces memory bandwidth bottlenecks that TI simply does not.
Indeed, when EE Times tested the tablet Omap-powered tablet Thursday (June 14), the graphics were extremely fluid and crisp.
"There's been a lot of learning in TI when it comes to Windows," said Crean, noting that his team had expanded so much it had even had to move to a bigger facility in Redmond, Wash.
As for working with Microsoft, Crean stopped short of saying it had been difficult to work with the software giant, but noted it had been a "unique" experience.
I think OMAP is already being used in some of the smart phones (I've seen some from Samsung) and also in some of the not so well known tablet computers for quite some time. OMAP is already there in this market.
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