Palm Chooses TI Chips for Next Gen Wireless Handhelds

Palm's Solutions Group has selected Texas Instrument's OMAP processor platform to power a set of next-generation wireless handhelds that will use GSM/GPRS technology. Palm branded handhelds that incorporate OMAP processors are expected to be introduced in approximately one year. Palm's contract with TI isn't exclusive so it might use processors from other companies on its non-wireless models. Todd Bradley, Chief Operating Officer of the Solutions Group, said only that TI is his company's preferred source.

Palm has recently been in talks with Intel about using chips from the XScale family, which are also ARM core-based processors.

This is part of Palm's move away from Motorola's Dragonball processors, which are used in all current Palm-powered handhelds, and to processors based on designs from ARM Holdings.

Palm's next operating system, OS 5, is being developed to run on ARM-based chips. These will have much greater processing power than ones currently being used.

Despite the changes, Palm isn't abandoning its past. The new OS will still be able to run the majority of current applications, though there will be some exceptions, including applications that don't follow Palm's ground rules for developing apps.

Palm has been promising that OS 5 will be available in the second half of 2002. If wireless handhelds with TI chips are the first out running OS 5, they will be slipping in just under that wire.

This decision doesn't mean that any of Palm's licensees are required to also use TI processors on their handhelds that run OS 5. Last summer, Palm announced the Palm OS Ready Program. Under it, various chip manufacturers like Intel, Motorola, and TI create Palm OS Ready processors. The "Palm OS Ready" in their names means all of these microprocessors, no matter who makes them, will be able to run the next generation of the Palm OS.

TI's OMAP processors support high-performance and low power consumption -- essential features for any mobile device. Through the Palm OS Ready Program, TI is optimizing the OMAP wireless platform for the Palm OS.

"Working together, Palm and TI can accelerate the convergence of wireless voice, multimedia, and data," said Mr. Bradley. "We believe these capabilities will be increasingly important to the growing number of mobile enterprise users."

The companies also will work together to advertise the new handhelds and expand the market for wireless handhelds. TI also will adopting them internally as an executive standard and place them on its approved technology standards list for its more than 35 thousand employees worldwide.

GSM/GPRS is the wireless standard that dominates the rest of the world but not the U.S. Still, its use is slowly growing. Cingular is installing GSM/GRPS on top of its TDMA and analog networks and AT&T is doing something similar. Verizon Wireless, the biggest wireless carrier in the U.S., is under pressure from its parent company, Vodafone, to switch from CDMA to GSM. GPRS is the next generation of GSM, offering 144 Kbps connections and always-on access.

Palm has already received FCC approval to release a handheld with wireless data capabilities that the company is widely expected to announce early next year. This will be a Dragonball-based model running OS 4.

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Please tell me what I'm missing here...

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:02:11 PM #
What the heck happened to the StrongARM processors?

RE: Please tell me what I'm missing here...
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:12:32 PM #
Palm never said they'd use StrongARM - which is only one chip in the family of ARM processors. The StrongARM technology is well over 5 years old now - it was in the Newton MP2K! The newer designs have even lower power and better support moving forward...


I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:10:20 PM #
Bradley also said that Palm is also working on a handheld that uses the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) wireless network, which offers high-speed Internet access.

humm excellent can we have a color Palm that uses GPRS.

and to all of you who debate this. B&W is dead and will be gone soon

RE: Interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:13:19 PM #
I am still for a separate handheld and a separate mobile for the simple reason that I have more upgrade options.

RE: Interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:14:52 PM #
Thanks for ending the debate... didn't realise we were in the presence of greatness...

RE: Interesting
Scott @ 12/17/2001 4:24:09 PM #
Where in the announcement did it say that these new handhelds would cost less than $150? If not, I think B&W will be around a bit longer.


RE: Interesting
Coyote67 @ 12/17/2001 6:35:00 PM #
Sounds like they are trying to make a treo clone.

When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Interesting
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 8:49:42 PM #
I sincerely hope that someday in the future when decent color screens actually exist, idiots like the original poster are forced to use the crappy, expensive ones we have today.

Backward compatibility

tipds @ 12/17/2001 4:20:19 PM #
I wonder if systems using the new CPU will be able to run all the applications that run on current Palm based systems. I can honestly say that, if my next handheald won't run all my existing Palm applications, I'll probably give a PPC a whirl. Heck, the PPC systems come with Excel, Word, etc. support at no extra cost.

Tip DS

RE: Backward compatibility
frauen1 @ 12/17/2001 4:25:02 PM #
Yes, Palm has been working very hard to ensure that the current Palm apps can run on the ARM-based units. The one thing I've been impressed with Palm over the years is their efforts to provide backwards compatibility. In fact, at PalmSource 2000 they had an ARM-based demo unit which they let developers beam apps to it and see what happens.

Don't expect hacks to work, however...

RE: Backward compatibility
Ed @ 12/17/2001 4:26:28 PM #
If I don't explicitly state in every single article that mentions OS 5 that it will still be able to run the current crop of applications, someone always asks. Yes, Palm is including backward capability and I've added a paragraph to the article that says this, too.

News Editor
RE: Backward compatibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:36:07 PM #
You did say it:

"The new OS will still be able to run the majority of current applications, though there will be some exceptions, including applications that don't follow Palm's ground rules for developing apps."

Those who are turning a blind eye to this are just trolls looking for trouble.


RE: Backward compatibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 4:53:33 PM #
Hey, and all new Palm devices also come with Excel, Word and Powerpoint!! So what's your point?

RE: Backward compatibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 5:46:03 PM #
If I don't explicitly state in every single article that mentions OS 5 that it will still be able to run the current crop of applications, someone always asks.

Yes, and the vast majority of these people are trolls. Seriously, lighten your stress load and ignore these idiots.

RE: Backward compatibility
aardvarko @ 12/18/2001 1:15:05 AM #
If you really want to relieve your stress load, turn off anonymous postings. Really, how many times have you seen a registered poster trolling?

webmaster at aardvarko dot com
RE: Backward compatibility
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2001 9:27:07 AM #
Uh ... the guy that originally posted the question didn't do it anonymously.

RE: Backward compatibility
TROLL @ 12/21/2001 7:31:40 PM #
> If you really want to relieve your stress load, turn
> off anonymous postings. Really, how many times have
> you seen a registered poster trolling?

Just because you disagree with a post doesn't make it a troll. Simply ignore the post and get on with your life. Those of us who come here for info and to hear the opinions of others don't need to see the constant name-calling from seasoned troll hunters like you. Relax. This is a Palm site. This isn't the real world, buddy.

The trolls always have the last laugh...

The Mysterious $50M Investor

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 6:30:20 PM #
Hmm can TI be the "mysterious investor"? Whoever invested $50m in Palm Inc must have a high stake in that company. Good way to fight off other chips manufacturers.

RE: The Mysterious $50M Investor
TROLL @ 12/21/2001 7:36:58 PM #
The investor was actually Bill Gates. But the money was provided indirectly through another company. If you read the original Palminfocenter story, one of the comments correctly named this "investor".

The trolls always have the last laugh...

Why TI?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/17/2001 8:24:08 PM #
I find it weird that all previous references to the Palm's ARM project mentioned StrongARM. Even though they never offically released anything all rumor sites and trade mag all pointed to StrongARM, did they switch over mid-design?

Is it just me or is TI's webpage impossible to navigate. I couldn't really find any information on their processors on there. I did find a OMAP reference design and it seems like their processors top out at 120 MHz. Isn't that kind of slow compared to the current StrongARMs and even slower compared to the upcoming 400 MHz Intel XScales? And what ever happened to Motorola? Didn't Palm make an annoucement a while back saying it would work with Intel, Motorola and TI? The only reason I could see Palm going with TI over Intel, which has a better processor, or Motorola, who owns large stakes in the company and have a long history with as well as makes their compiler is they got the $50M from TI and have some deal for using their chips.

Don't you guys think everyone should the same processor? That way I could take my Palm flash Symbian on it or Linux or even god forbid WinCE if the mood struck me. This seems to work well on the desktop environment. What might be even neater is OS agnostic applications, using the OS as only a boot loader. Does anyone know if StrongARM is binary compatible with TI's OMAP and Motorola's Dragonball MX? I know they're all ARM but aren't they different flavors?

Do you think the other Palm licences will follow suit and use TI?

RE: Why TI?
bcombee @ 12/18/2001 12:38:56 AM #
Yes, all of the ARM chips are binary compatible. They have different drivers, but code that uses standard OS calls will work on any ARM-based Palm OS device.

Palm announced that they would be using TI's ARM-based chips for wireless devices. This makes some sense; TI has a lot of expertise making ARM-core chips that work with their wireless DSPs. This would enable things like a one-chip cell phone solution, where the cell phone CPU runs Palm OS and talks to an embedded DSP which handles the signal processing for the phone.

Their agreement wasn't exclusive. Palm can still get chips from other vendors if they're appropriate, and the other licensees haven't announced who they will be using. The whole Palm Ready program is designed to provide a number of different chips for different market segments.

RE: Why TI?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2001 3:25:42 AM #
Dave Nagel: "...We are developing the OS with the ARM 7 instruction set, which gives us upward compatibility with a range of processors from 30MHz to [Intel’s] XScale in the 700MHz territory. We’ll have a broad range of platforms in mid-2002 that licensees can choose from depending on their specific design goals."




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