TI raises speed bar with new smartphone processor

Texas Instruments' new OMAP4440 dual-core chip is capable of full high-definition video

A new Texas Instruments chip that incorporates Arm technology could raise the level of graphics and application performance in smartphones and tablets.

The OMAP4440 chip, announced Wednesday, includes two Arm CPU cores running at 1.5GHz, and a graphics processor that is capable of playing back full high-definition 1080p and 3D video.

"We're expecting to see OMAP4440 production hit the market during the second half of 2011," said Heather Ailara, a TI spokeswoman.

The chip is targeted at smartphones and tablets, though the company declined to comment on which device makers will use the chip.

The company's chips are widely used in smartphones. Motorola uses TI's earlier OMAP3630 chip in the popular Droid X handset. The OMAP4440 is faster than TI's dual-core OMAP4430 chip, which includes two processor cores running at 1GHz.

Chip makers are raising the bar in smartphone and tablet performance by cranking up the clock speed and adding more processing cores. Adding more cores helps preserve battery life while delivering more performance. TI's chip will compete with dual-core chips based on Arm processors designs such as Nvidia's Tegra 2, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and Samsung's Orion.

The chip's CPUs are based on Arm's Cortex-A9 chip design. It also incorporates a PowerVR 3D graphics engine to play stereoscopic 3D video. The OMAP4440 supports features that will allow smartphones and tablets to have HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) output and up to two 12-megapixel cameras.

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