Agilent Unveils Possible Future Palm Chip

Agilent Technologies has introduced a highly integrated system-on-chip that is capable of running Palm OS 5.0 if Palm Inc. chooses it as the processor for its next generation of handhelds.

Agilent's new, low-power chip, the AAEC-2000, contains an ARM920T embedded processor core that operates at 200 MHz. It also offers a wide selection of I/O, full color LCD controller, frame buffer, external memory controller, programmable PLL, and a versatile memory manager.

Production quantities are expected to be available in August. Pricing for the AAEC-2000 is expected to be $15 each in 100,000 unit quantities.

Palm has already demoed OS 5.0 running on chips with ARM designs but hasn't yet announced who will manufacture the microprocessors. OS 5.0 powered handhelds aren't expected until spring 2002.

Motorola recently unveiled a line of chips that are also strong contenders to be Palm's choice for the devices.

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It's nice to know..

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 8:02:48 AM #
Ahhh, it's nice to know exactly when my new m505 won't be worth crap - Spring 2002. Ain't technology obsolescence grand!

RE: It's nice to know..
mikecane @ 5/23/2001 8:31:03 AM #
If you listen to the people who have returned their m505s, it isn't worth crap today. Hah!

Seriously, I wouldn't put much stock in next year's Palms. I think they will be transition models that we can all do without. (Of course, as usual, HandEra and Sony might pull big surprises!)

It's the 2003 Palms -- if there will be any -- that should be something to get. In the meantime, enjoy your m505.

RE: It's nice to know..
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 8:39:54 AM #
You make a good point. If the power supply needed for an ARM processor is too large, the unit may be a brick. In my opinion, all of the current Pocket PC's are bricks. The Ipaq is a brick since you need that sleeve to do any expansion. I think smallness rules as far as PDA's go even beyond color, resolution, memory, and multimedia.

RE: It's nice to know..
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 9:07:28 AM #
I'm with you - size does rule, as I don't use what I don't carry with me. I've read all the carping about the m505 screen with some bewilderment. Yes, it's a compromise, and the screen isn't as good/perfect as others, but the combination of size/screen/battery-life is a good one. I love having color and an SD slot added to what is basically the same as my old Vx.

RE: It's nice to know...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 9:29:32 AM #
Can you show me any good uses of the SD slot?
When you do, then I'll give credit to the m505.

But until, i'd rather go large and have the better screen.

and by that time it will be obsolete and the new SD devices will be made for a new generation of palms.

ah.. its just oh so hard to keep up

RE: It's nice to know..
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 9:57:09 AM #
Since I carry my Palm in my shirt pocket, I'm a size person. As far as I'm concerned, the m505 is the first unit that made my two year old Palm Vx obsolete. I use the SD slot now to store large reference databases using MsMount. It's just a temporary fix. I've ordered a PalmPix and will use the SD card to store photo's. I'd be willing to bet that any new Palm OS handheld with an ARM processor won't, initially, be the size of the m505 due to power consumption issues.

RE: It's nice to know..
mikefoley @ 5/23/2001 10:26:55 AM #
Where did you order a PalmPix for the m505? According to Kodak, they aren't out yet or orderable.

I want one also for my m505. What I want more tho is the serial cable so I can plug my m505 into my cell phone!


Good use for SD Card
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 10:54:33 AM #
I got a 32 Meg. MMC Card at Fry's for only 59.95. It's very fast, and incredibly useful to be able to put on that much stuff. In conjunction with Powerrun and McFile, I can put Large Teal Movie cards on the card and watch them, without using any of the 8 megabytes internal. Don't buy the palm SD Card, it's way overpriced. Look for the SD+MMC Cards for Digital Cameras, they have a much wider selection for better prices. Hope this helps.

TealMovie on an m505?!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 11:02:38 AM #
How are you running TealMovie on the m505? Ed tried it for his m505 review and only got sound, no picture! Did Teal issue an OS4-compatible update? Or do you have some secret?

Powerrun and McFile... Where?
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 11:23:48 AM #
I just got a Palm m500 and have an m505 on backorder. I have been frustrated by the current lack of tools for the sd slot... what are powerrun and mcfile, and where can I get them?


See link
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 12:00:11 PM #

-- this prior article should help you find thsoe programs.

More likely Motorola

GrouchoMarx @ 5/23/2001 11:34:59 AM #
System-on-a-chip is a nice idea, but I think Palm is more likely to go with Motorola. They've been swearing up and down that their ARM devices will be backwards compatible, and the way they're planning to go about it is essentially hardware-level translation (not emulation) with compatible runtime APIs. Motorola's hybrid "DragonARM" chips fit the bill for that quite easily. Agilent's chips may be better farther down the line, or make for smaller devices, but at least initially backward compatibility will require something like the DragonARM.


RE: More likely Motorola
CarlJ @ 5/23/2001 11:58:01 AM #
Groucho, I'm curious about where you got the "translation not emulation" bit; I haven't heard that detail before. I figured they could run an emulator based on POSE fairly effectively (especially considering that as soon as the code called any system routine, they could run the corresponding ARM-based routine directly/natively, so they wouldn't have to run the DragonBall-based ROM code through the emulator -- the emulator would only really need to run the "user space" code). That said, I think they'd be likely to go with Motorola anyway, but that's just my unsubstantiated guess.

Actually, this whole processor switch offers all sorts of interesting possibilities... they could do a lot of things like Apple did when switched over to PowerPC chips, including having "fat" apps, with separate-but-equivalent DragonBall and StrongARM code segments... the apps would run just fine on all current Palms (which would never look for/at the StrongARM resource, and the StrongARM Palms would look first for a native code ("armc" anyone?) resource to run, and then, failing that, feed the "code" resource to the emulator.

ARM != StrongARM
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/23/2001 2:12:01 PM #
For the billionth time, there are several ARM designs. Although they share similarities, Motorola's Dragonball-ARM is neither StrongARM nor XScale technology. Intel is the exclusive manufacturer of StrongARM/XScale tech.

This is cool

atrizzah @ 5/23/2001 5:15:41 PM #
This is good news, as far as I can see. Unfortunately, we don't have any specs for the Motorola DragonballARM chips for comparison. I think the more options there are for PalmOS producers and customers, the more viable an option it will be for everyone. I sure can't wait until they put ARM and Bluetooth into my future Palm. I think OS 5 will take PDA's to the next level.

Peace Out


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