Texas Instruments, Qualcomm announce ARM processors for Windows 8

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Texas Instruments and Qualcomm have both announced ARM processors that are compatible with Windows 8. The two companies likely got the green light right after Microsoft gave its first preview of Windows 8 yesterday.

Texas Instruments unveiled the multicore OMAP4470 processor, which has a clock speeds of 1.8 GHz, an 80 percent increase in Web browsing performance, increased memory bandwidth, a 2.5x boost in graphics functionality-via the POWERVR SGX544 core from Imagination Technologies, and a unique hardware composition engine. The OMAP4470 processor is the first OMAP offering to leverage the POWERVR SGX544, which is powerful enough for desktop applications yet highly power-efficient for mobile applications. The company says the OMAP4470 supports "Android, Linux, and the next version of Microsoft Windows." The 45nm OMAP4470 processor is expected to sample in the second half of 2011, with devices expected to hit the market in first half 2012.

OMAP4470 can leverage a resolution up to QXGA (2048 x 1536). The new applications processor can support up to three HD screens and up to two times more layered imaging and video composition than competitive solutions. This feature is enabled by the combination of a hardware composition engine with a dedicated 2D graphics core, a highly sophisticated display subsystem, and dual-channel LPDDR2 memory enabling up to 7.5GB/s of throughput to composite the graphics and/or video data output. This frees the GPU to perform graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming or widget creation while the compositing process is assigned to more power-efficient hardware subsystems.

"Superior mobile computing relies on a user experience that dwarfs all others," Remi El-Ouazzane, vice president of the OMAP platform business unit, said in a statement. "Fast and crisp Web browsing, HD and liquid UIs, support for the latest applications-these are the elements consumers judge and buy their devices on. The OMAP4470 processor delivers the maximum experience possible with an unmatched, power-efficient architecture."

Qualcomm unveiled its upcoming Snapdragon MSM8960 with integrated 3G/LTE modem, designed to power devices running "the next version of Windows." Qualcomm says it is collaborating with Microsoft to address the converging and fast-changing mobile computing landscape, and its Snapdragon family of dual-core and quad-core processors will enable optimal computing performance, extended battery life and connectivity, and top-notch graphics and multimedia in devices. The first processor in the Snapdragon family to power devices using the next version of Windows will be the MSM8960, which is sampling this month, followed by the quad-core Snapdragon APQ8064, which is anticipated to sample in early 2012.

"Qualcomm and Microsoft have a long and productive history of collaboration focused on driving innovation forward, and we are pleased to be among the leaders of the next evolution of mobile computing," Luis Pineda, senior vice president of product management, computing and consumer products at Qualcomm, said in a statement. "Our upcoming family of Snapdragon processors is intelligently integrated, optimized for mobile and built smarter, making it the ideal processor to address consumers' growing demands for new, innovative experiences and usage scenarios that we believe will be delivered by the next version of Windows."

Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 8 will support Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. It specifically said the ARM-based systems would be designed by partners Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments.

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