BRITISH CHIP SHOP ARM today announced development of two Cortex A9 dual core processors that are capable of running at up to 2GHz.
The processors, which feature hard macro implimentation, are built using the TSMC 40nm-G process and draw less than 250mw per CPU under full load, making them ideal for embedded applications and portable devices where heat, size and battery drain are crucial issues.
ARM, which doesn't actually fabricate chips itself, has licensed the Cortex A9 designs to 15 chip makers over the last 18 months. It's not a wild stretch of imagination to posit that the company has already licensed the chips to Apple's recently acquired processor design company, PA Semi. The Santa Clara based company, which has strong historical ties with Cambridge-based ARM, is widely thought to be working on custom processors which would service Apple's future needs, so it would be remiss of us not to add some wild speculation to the mix.
Apple-friendly websites having been getting in a lather over the possibility of a tablet device from Cupertino for months and months now, and new fake pics and predictive specifications turn up on an almost daily basis.
General consensus and a large dollop of wishful thinking would have us believe that Apple will soon bless eager Macolytes with a device with anything between a 9-inch and 14-inch multitouch screen and looking to all the world like a giant Iphone. Add a docking and charging station bristling with ports, which will also allow the tablet to sit on your desktop like a conventional monitor, and you have the idea.
Sitting between the Iphone/Ipod Touch and the Macbook, and predicted to be priced at anything between $700 and $1,000, one reporter has even claimed that he has spoken to an anonymous source who has had a hands-on experience with an engineering mock-up of the device.
The Taiwanese Economic News has even claimed that several component suppliers are churning out parts for the Apple tablet as we write, and that it will be launched in February 2010.
Despite the fact that Apple seems to have a problem keeping a lid on its Ipod release schedule - everyone in the world predicted the latest Ipod launch for example - the Cupertino company keeps a tighter reign on its computer releases.
The new designs from ARM, dubbed Project Osprey, would seem to be a perfect fit for any forthcoming ultraportable from Apple. ARM's CPU marketing chief Nandan Nayampally has said that devices running the new chips will start appearing in the first half of 2010 and will be capable of running Adobe Flash and Air, and browsers like Firefox without breaking into too much of a sweat.
He also hinted that the chips would be perfectly suited to photocopiers, computers, netbooks, printers, consumer electronics devices, servers and portable media devices. We reckon he had to bite his tongue to stop himself from adding 'beautifully designed tablet computers' to the end of that particular list. µ
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