LONDON Recently formed Cherrypal (Palo Alto, Calif. and Hong Kong, China) has launched a netbook computer priced at $99 that, according to reports, is powered by a processor from Ingenic Semiconductor Co. Ltd. (Beijing, China).
The Cherrypal Africa has a 7-inch screen size, is powered by a 400-MHz processor and features 256-Mbytes of RAM, 2-Gbytes of flash memory and can run either the Linux or Windows CE operating systems, the company states without revealing the make or model of the microprocessor.
However, according to numerous reports of the launch of the Africa model, the processor is made by Ingenic and is an XBurst CPU which is in turn said to be based on the MIPS-II instruction set architecture. According to an online database of processors for PDAs, Ingenic's four processors, the JZ4720, JZ4730, JZ4740 and JZ4755 are all MIPS-II compatible processors. However Ingenic has also been linked speculatively to ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) in the past.
Ingenic's website is not very forthcoming. "XBurst RISC ISA is compatible of [sic] one standard RISC ISA and support [sic] Linux, WinCE, a large number of third-party softwares and development tools. XBurst SIMD instructions can effectively accelerate video/audio/graphic processing," the website says. There is one reference to MIPS-II on a supporting page for the JZ4740 microprocesso, which could be found here when this story was first posted.
On the website Ingenic claims to have implemented an eight-stage pipeline design that allows the CPU to issue instructions at speed with low power consumption. As a result it is claiming it can get its processors to reach 400-MHz clock frequency in a 0.18-micron CMOS manufacturing process technology, while other companies would typically only achieve a 200-MHz clock frequency in 0.18-micron.
The company is likely to be fabless but does not indicate where it gets its silicon fabricated.