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Freescale Semiconductor targets the netbook market


Comprehensive solution based on ARM® technology designed to enable low-power, gigahertz performance netbooks at sub-$200 price points

AUSTIN, Texas .– Freescale Semiconductor enters the fast-growing netbook market with a comprehensive solution designed to enable netbooks that feature 8.9 inch displays, deliver eight hours of battery life between charges and retail at sub-$200 price points.
Based on the new i.MX515 processor featuring ARM Cortex™-A8 technology, Freescale’s solution includes an impressive lineup of software, components and resources to help OEMs quickly develop and deploy compelling netbook products.

A comprehensive netbook reference design based on the i.MX515 processor is available now. Created in concert with Pegatron, the reference design features the i.MX515 processor, Canonical’s Ubuntu® operating system, a new power management IC from Freescale, the SGTL5000 ultra low-power audio codec and Adobe® Flash® Lite™ software, Adobe’s Flash Player for mobile phones and devices.

“We see a huge opportunity in the netbook market as consumers demand more cost-effective and higher performing solutions,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Our solution for netbooks will enable OEMs to develop compelling products that feature cell phone-like battery life at extremely aggressive price points. We believe the combination of the i.MX515 processor and related enablement solutions will dramatically accelerate the evolution of this exciting new space.”

According to analyst firm ABI Research, consumers are expected to purchase 140 million netbooks in 2013, compared with only 15 million sold in 2008. Often priced between $300 and $400 (USD), netbooks are streamlined, embedded devices that provide more than enough performance for a host of Internet-based activities such as social networking, surfing the Web, using e-mail and other common tasks.

“As was evident in the 2008 holiday season, the netbook market has exploded due to consumer demand for affordable and compact devices that allow users to conduct routine tasks like social networking or shopping on the Web,” said Philip Solis, principal analyst at ABI Research. “The netbook market is still in its infancy, and it represents a huge market opportunity for companies like Freescale. As advanced platforms for netbooks become increasingly available, price points will drop and the market will expand.”

Unleashing ARM technology for netbook markets
Integrating an ARM Cortex-A8 core and manufactured using 65-nm process technology, Freescale’s new i.MX515 provides up to 2100 Dhrystone MIPS and can scale in performance from 600MHz to 1GHz. Advanced power management features included in the i.MX515 processor, such as a dedicated, hardware-based video acceleration block, allow for extended battery life and eliminate the need for fans or heat sinks.

By incorporating highly integrated devices and low-cost printed circuit boards, the Freescale solution is engineered to keep bill of materials low. In addition, the i.MX515 supports cost efficiency by featuring a memory interface supporting both DDR2 and mobile DDR1. While mobile DDR1 is ideal for the most power sensitive mobile Internet devices, DDR2 is better suited for netbooks as it provides low power at significantly less cost. Although the i.MX515 offers support for both, many competing Cortex-A8 platform options available today only offer mobile DDR1, limiting designers’ options to maximize cost savings.

The i.MX515 is one of the only processors to offer both OpenVG and OpenGL graphics cores, thereby enabling 2D and 3D graphics as well as Flash and SVG for enhanced user experiences. Video created for the Adobe Player is one of the leading video formats on the Internet today. Working with Adobe, Freescale plans to enable the Adobe software to run on the processor’s dedicated OpenVG graphics block, thereby extending battery life and enabling netbook web browsing experiences as rich and responsive as those on traditional PCs.

New netbook power management technology from Freescale
A key component of Freescale’s netbook solution is the new MC13982 power management IC. Integrating a variety of discrete functions into a single device, the MC13982 contributes to reduced size and weight of end products while extending their battery life through innovative power management and control features. The device incorporates a battery charging system, four adjustable buck converters for powering the processor core and memory, two boost converters for LCD backlighting, and RGB LED displays along with serial backlighting drivers for display and keypad.

About Adobe Flash Platform
The Adobe Flash Platform is the de facto standard for delivering breakthrough applications, content and video on the Web. Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Flash Lite™ are on over 98 percent of connected computers and more than 800 million devices, and deliver more than 80 percent of Web video worldwide, ensuring that content and applications are presented consistently in the format users want. For more information on the Adobe Flash Platform, visit

Freescale’s netbook reference design is available now. The company is currently sampling the i.MX515 processor and MC13982 power management device to tier one netbook customers. Volume production for the i.MX515 device is planned for Q2 2009 to power netbooks designed for the 2009 holiday shopping season.


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