Motorola Readying Dragonball-ARM Chips

Motorola, who makes the Dragonball microprocessors used in all Palm OS handhelds, is continuing to develop the chips, including its plans to integrate them with processor designs from ARM.

Sometime in the second half of this year, the company will release the 68K code M68SZ328 DragonBall. This is simply the next generation of the Dragonball made with an 0.18-micron process, meaning it should have a higher speed with lower battery requirements. If Palm were to release speed-bumped versions of its current handhelds later this year, they would probably run this microprocessor.

At the same time, Motorola is releasing the first generation of its new line that integrates the Dragonball designs with ones from ARM, named logically enough the Dragonball-ARM. This microprocessor will also be manufactured with an 0.18-micron process.

Next year, the company will introduce two more microprocessors, the DragonBall-ARM+ and DragonBall-Arm2. Both will be made with a 0.13-micron process.

These processors will be 32-bit, as opposed to the 16-bit of current Dragonball processors. ARM cores are noted for their excellent combination of high performance, small die size, low power consumption, and tight code density.

Palm has already demoed OS 4.0 running on chips with ARM designs. While Palm hasn't yet announced who will manufacture the microprocessors for their next generation products, Motorola is clearly working hard to keep all PalmOS-based handheld manufactures as customers.

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Too late for the M68SZ328 DragonBall

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 11:57:08 AM #
Most Palm device manufacturer had already released their new devices this year. So there should be few takers for the upcoming M68SZ328 DragonBall processor. Save for new devices from Handspring maybe (Color screen Edge anyone?) and the upcoming m7XX (?), there seem to be no other new Palm devices in the horizon. By next year, the buzz will all be about the ARM processor and Palm OS5.

RE: Too late for the M68SZ328 DragonBall
SilliconMan @ 5/18/2001 4:24:58 PM #
I definetly do NOT think Palm will use the new proc. Back when the IIIc was in the works, the DragonBall VZ came out and we all thought Palm would use it so the color wouldn't bog down the unit. But they never even bothered to touch the VZ and the finally put it in the m500 and m505. I don't think the m700 will use the new proc.

Palming away.....
RE: Too late for the M68SZ328 DragonBall
atrizzah @ 5/19/2001 10:24:01 AM #
I think the new processors will definitely be used in the next generation Palm products. The OS 5 units are supposed to support it because OS 5 will supposedly be 32-bit and bring Palms to the next level. I've heard that there will possibly be more increased resolution support, Bluetooth support, and more.

Peace Out

hitbox sux!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 5:21:24 PM #

RE: hitbox sux!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 5:23:09 PM #
Yeah...I keep getting errors because of hitbox, there any way to prevent hitbox problems from affecting the rendering of the rest of the page, Ed?

RE: hitbox sux!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/19/2001 3:51:52 AM #
You can always try to use an ad-removing software such as webwasher

RE: hitbox sux!
Admin @ 5/19/2001 12:29:02 PM #
I've started a thread in our feebnack forum to discuss the problems and solutions to hitbox.

I would appreciate it if we continued the conversation over there.

PalmInfocenter webmaster

Speed of the DragonARMS

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 8:26:57 PM #
What would the speed of the Dragonball-ARMs be in MHz?

Will speeds enter the triple digits?

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 9:09:56 PM #
1000 - they will debut at the current speed of Pentium 3s. Within 6 months they will reach 2000 MHz and will be used as servers to run NT and windows 2000. These are the new CRAY supercomputers the Pentagon will be using in SDI.

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/18/2001 9:44:36 PM #
1.0 or more GHz!? That's faster than my PC! Are you sure about this!? I mean can I really jump off my seat and shout WOW!? Or this needs verification? But I do believe you since Motorola is also the manufacturer of Mac processors AND they are capable of designing such processors. I hope they can also deliver this.

OK now. How about the screens? If we do have such fast processors, can we now have QuakeIII played in our handhelds? It's saddening to note that (handheld) developments are focused on the processors, OSs, screen color depth only -- not minding the screen display speed.

Nevertheless, I'd be observing ARM processors evolve.

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/19/2001 1:06:13 AM #
He's pulling your leg. Expect somewhere around 200-300Mhz (If you're lucky).

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
SilliconMan @ 5/19/2001 9:56:04 AM #
Yeah, Intels processors run at 1.7ghz, and AMD close. But ARMs, NO. They would eat the battery in your Palm m505 in 5 minutes!!!

Palming away.....
RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/19/2001 2:22:18 PM #
OK. So now that ARM processors are here, how would it affect new handheld models? What good/s does it bring?

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2001 11:15:47 AM #
Aren't PocketPC moving to Xscale? Won't that make palm one-upped once again? I'm confused...

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2001 2:42:43 PM #
Windows CE runs on several platforms (StrongARM, MIPS variants, etc). There is no mass migration planned to one particular architecture in the WinCE world.

Palm *never* said they were working on PalmOS for XScale platforms. They said they were working on PalmOS for ARM-based devices. "ARM" encompasses many reference designs from ARM, including StrongARM/XScale, the new Dragonball-ARM, and several other designs (

Will Dragonball-ARM be better than StrongARM/XScale? I don't think enough specifics are public now to take a guess. It seems logical to assume the new Dragonball-ARM chips' clock speeds will be well into triple digits, but how that will compare to other processors isn't clear. Plus, current PalmOS (and presumably PalmOS 5 for ARM) doesn't take nearly the resources to run as WinCE. Even if Dragonball-ARMs are slower than StrongARMs, PalmOS could provide a speed advantage over WinCE anyway.

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2001 4:31:36 PM #
Thanks for clearing that up.

RE: Speed of the DragonARMS
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/8/2001 9:15:24 PM #
If palm OS is fast on monochrome @16mhz and good enough on 320x320, 16bit @33 mhz (using video acceleration), what are the going to do with 200-300mhz procesors?!



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