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One-chip HSDPA phone design runs Linux

Feb 14, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

At 3GSM this week, Broadcom demonstrated a “single-chip” mobile phone hardware reference design said to support all major “open” operating systems, including Linux. The “CellAirity” design is based on a Broadcom processor integrating an ARM11 core with on-chip engines for a variety of cellular protocols.

Along with its CellAirity design, Broadcom is demonstrating a Linux-based operating system intended to comply with specifications from the recently launched LiMo Foundation. However, it is not clear where Broadcom got the OS, nor whether Broadcom plans to offer it as part of a combination hardware/software reference design. The company said only that its Linux demo shows off the “flexibility of its cellular platform,” and that it is ready as a company to “supply the key hardware and software components required for affordable smartphones.”

CellAirity phone mockups
(Click to enlarge)

Few technical details about CellAirity are publicly available, other than that the design (or designs) use Broadcom's currently sampling BCM2153 HEDGE (HSDPA+EDGE) SoC (system-on-chip). The BCM2153, which was unveiled yesterday, is based on an ARM11 processor, and integrates on-chip “accelerators” for HSDPA, WCDMA, and EDGE.

BCM2153 function block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Other known CellAirity details are:

  • Supports Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Built-in multimedia processor for up to 5 megapixel cameras
  • Multimedia encode and decode at 30 frames per second at CIF or QVGA resolutions
  • 64-voice polyphonic ringtones
  • Integrated audio amplifiers to support full duplex speaker phones

Broadcom suggests that its CellAirity design will help reduce hardware costs for advanced smartphones, thanks to its single-chip architecture. The market for high-end handset products will reach volumes of 230 million units by 2010, according to iSuppli figures cited by Broadcom.

“Our Linux HSDPA reference design demonstrates the viability of offering an OpenOS architecture on an affordable smartphone or high-end feature phone product,” said David Foos, senior product marketing manager at Broadcom, in a statement.

Pricing and availability were not disclosed.

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