Freescale Semiconductor has entered the netbook market with a solution designed that enables netbooks that feature 8.9 inch displays to deliver eight hours of battery life between charges and retail at sub-$200 price points.
Based on the new i.MX515 processor featuring ARM Cortex-A8 technology, Freescale's solution includes a lineup of software, components and resources to help OEMs quickly develop and deploy netbook products.
A comprehensive netbook reference design based on the i.MX515 processor is available now. Created in concert with Pegatron, the reference design features the i.MX515 processor, Canonical's Ubuntu operating system, a new power management IC from Freescale, the SGTL5000 ultra low-power audio codec and Adobe Flash Lite software, Adobe's Flash Player for mobile phones and devices.
Integrating an ARM Cortex-A8 core and manufactured using 65-nm process technology, Freescale's new i.MX515 provides up to 2100 Dhrystone MIPS and can scale in performance from 600MHz to 1GHz. Advanced power management features included in the i.MX515 processor, such as a dedicated, hardware-based video acceleration block, allow for extended battery life and eliminate the need for fans or heat sinks.
By incorporating highly integrated devices and low-cost printed circuit boards, the Freescale solution is engineered to keep bill of materials low. In addition, the i.MX515 supports cost efficiency by featuring a memory interface supporting both DDR2 and mobile DDR1. While mobile DDR1 is ideal for the most power sensitive mobile Internet devices, DDR2 is better suited for netbooks as it provides low power at significantly less cost. Although the i.MX515 offers support for both, many competing Cortex-A8 platform options available today only offer mobile DDR1, limiting designers' options to maximize cost savings.
The i.MX515 is one of the only processors to offer both OpenVG and OpenGL graphics cores, thereby enabling 2D and 3D graphics as well as Flash and SVG for enhanced user experiences. Video created for the Adobe Player is one of the leading video formats on the Internet today. Working with Adobe, Freescale plans to enable the Adobe software to run on the processor's dedicated OpenVG graphics block, thereby extending battery life and enabling netbook web browsing experiences as rich and responsive as those on traditional PCs.
A key component of Freescale's netbook solution is the new MC13982 power management IC. Integrating a variety of discrete functions into a single device, the MC13982 contributes to reduced size and weight of end products while extending their battery life through innovative power management and control features. The device incorporates a battery charging system, four adjustable buck converters for powering the processor core and memory, two boost converters for LCD backlighting, and RGB LED displays along with serial backlighting drivers for display and keypad.
Availability and Pricing
Freescale's netbook reference design is available now. The company is currently sampling the i.MX515 processor and MC13982 power management device to tier one netbook customers. Volume production for the i.MX515 device is planned for Q2 2009 to power netbooks designed for the 2009 holiday shopping season.