Palm to Release XScale Powered Handheld in 2003
According to DigiTimes, Palm Inc. is going to release a handheld that runs the new Palm OS 5 on an Intel PXA250 microprocessor, part of the company's XScale line. This microprocessor can operate at up to 400 MHz. Palm's XScale powered handhelds will be available early next year, which means they won't be the company's first devices to run Palm OS 5.
This news is a bit surprising as Palm has announced that its first generation of OS 5 handhelds will use processors made by Texas Instruments. However, the models with the TI chips are expected to be out this year, while the Intel ones won't be out until 2003.
Palm's CEO said last week that his company will release an OS 5 smartphone this fall which will use TI chips.
The XScale handhelds will be produced by Asustek Computer, a Taiwanese manufacturer. Pilot production is scheduled to begin later this year and the company plans to make 200,000 units during the first quarter of next year.
Palm has the flexibility to use chips from different processors because of the Palm OS Ready Program. This got the processor manufacturers to create a Device Abstraction Layer (DAL) for their own processors. This is sort of a translation layer between the hardware and the OS, intended to remove any incompatibilities between, say, Intel and Motorola chips. This saves the Palm OS licensees a tremendous amount of work and allows them to choose the processor they like without having to write a DAL of their own.
At this point, of the Palm OS licensees only Palm has announced who will make the chips for their OS 5 devices.
About the Intel PXA 250 Microprocessor
The PXA 250 microprocessor is a 32-bit Intel XScale core-based CPU with 200, 300 and 400 MHz versions. It can run at 400 MHz while using the same amount of power as a 206 MHz StrongARM chip. The PXA250 has both Low Power and Turbo modes for improved battery life. It also has an integrated LCD controller and SD/MMC Card Support. It is fully ARM architecture compliant
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