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IBM unveils Linux-based PDA reference design

Jan 21, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

[Updated Jan. 22, 2003] IBM unveiled an open standards based Linux/Java PDA reference design at LinuxWorld in New York this week. Based on the IBM PowerPC 405LP embedded processor, the reference design, dubbed the “embedded Linux application platform” (e-LAP), is intended to jump-start PDA manufacturers, who can use the design as is, or can modify it to meet their own PDA, electronic book, or… “personal media device” requirements.

The e-LAP reference design PDA includes . . .

  • PowerPC 405LP Processor
  • 32MB SDRAM
  • 32MB Flash (NOR)
  • 64MB M-Systems DiskOnChip Flash device
  • 4-inch LCD color display (240 x 320 pixels)
  • TCPA security chip
  • Stereo speakers, audio in, audio out
  • AC power-in
  • Integrated microphone/speech input chamber
  • SDIO slot
  • Philips USB 1.1 (one client port, two host ports [one is disabled])
  • Speech-on button
  • Navigation mouse
  • 4 programmable input buttons
  • Li-Ion battery (1700 mAh)
  • Bluetooth 1.1 (via Toshiba SDIO card)
  • Xilinx XCR3128XL FPGA (128 macrocells, 3000 gates)

Additionally, a plug-in “developer sled” adds the following options, for development and debug purposes . . .

  • USB 1.1 host
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Serial port
  • 8- or 16-bit PCMCIA slot
  • JTAG debug port
  • Flash programming port

IBM's PowerPC 405LP system-on-chip processor, which seems poised to compete with Intel's XScale processors for mobile device design wins, is described in its preliminary data sheet as a “highly integrated device offering high-performance at ultra-low power”. The chip contains a 32-bit PowerPC 405D4 RISC core processor (with MMU) which dynamically scales from 152 to 380 MHz, and also includes an SDRAM/RAM/ROM/Flash controller, DMA and interrupt controllers, extensive power management, color LCD controller for 1/4 VGA up to XGA (2K x 2K pixels), touch panel interface, 2 16550-type serial ports, IIC (master and slave), CODEC interface, and up to 32 general purpose I/O lines. The 405LP implements a technology known as dynamic power management, for both processor and memory power requirements, in order to maximize battery life in mobile devices.

The reference design's software stack includes MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition, Trolltech Qt/Embedded and Qtopia PDA application suite, and Opera browser. Additionally, an IBM WebSphere software development kit, which will be made available in the second quarter, is also being previewed at LinuxWorld. The IBM-supplied software will include a J2ME certified Java Runtime platform for devices (IBM's WebSphere Micro Environment) along with support for multimedia, data connectivity, and speech and handwriting recognition.

The integrated hardware/software reference design will initially be supplied through the IBM Microelectronics Division. In addition, the IBM Engineering & Technology Services group will be available to assist device manufacturers in modifying the reference design to match their specific requirements. The reference design will become available beginning March 1, 2003, a spokesman said.

Note: an enlarged photo of the e-LAP PDA is available here

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