Smartphone has its core in ARM's Cortex

01 June 2007

At CITA Wireless last month, Smartphone OS developer, Symbian (, unveiled the first mobile operating system to support ARM’s Cortex-A8 processor (

It is claimed to be the first mobile OS that is scaleable across all ARM processor architectures from the Cortex-A8 to the mainstream ARM11 processors and the ARM9 processors.

The ARM Cortex-A8 is based on the ARM v7 architecture and runs on Texas Instruments’ OMAP3430 processor. The combination is described as bringing desktop levels of performance to low-cost, high-volume smartphones, with up to three times the performance of handsets currently available.

The OMAP is claimed to be the first 65nm applications processor and so able to deliver faster user interfaces and data access, for entertainment applications, for example, within a power budget. It has integrated software and advanced graphics support as well as OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG graphics standards. Over 70 per cent of smartphones worldwide are Symbian smartphones. The company licensed software to handset manufacturers who shipped 51.7million smartphone handsets worldwide in 2006 alone.

The level of interest in mobile multimedia is also reflected in another announcement from TI, which uses Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX graphics accelerator technology for the next-generation OMAP 3 architecture (www. The OMAP 3 platform supports OpenGL ES2.0 to deliver 3D graphics for multimedia handsets that are so advanced that they rival handheld gaming devices, claims the graphics, video processor and SoC IP supplier.

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