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PND-on-a-chip gets Android support

Jan 6, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Broadcom announced that it has ported Android and Windows CE to a ARM-based CPU described as “a PND [personal navigation device] on a chip.” The BCM4760 includes a GPS receiver and baseband, an ARM11 processor, a touchscreen controller, and an OpenGL ES 1.1/OpenVG 2.0-compliant graphics processor, the company says.

The BCM4760 (right), which was announced at last year's Computex show in Taiwan and has since begun sampling, is said to integrate many of the components required for "next-generation" PNDs, which will deliver life-like maps "without the lags and blocky renderings of many current devices." Fabbed using the company's low-power 65nm process, the chip measures 13 x 13mm and includes a 500MHz ARM1136JF-S processor core, says Broadcom.

According to Broadcom, the BCM4760 has a memory subsystem that supports mobile SDR or DDR RAM running at up to 166MHz, plus a USB 2.0 On-The-Go controller and a four- or five-wire touchscreen controller. The chip also includes an audio mixer with a digital-to-analog converter, plus a graphics processor that is compatible with OpenGL ES 1.1 and OpenVG 2.0, the company adds.

Meanwhile, the BCM4760 additionally integrates a GPS receiver, including baseband, radio frequency (RF) circuitry, and a low noise amplifier (LNA), Broadcom says. It's claimed the chip's core processor is powerful enough to support a "full range of devices beyond the PND market," including PMPs (personal media players), gaming devices, and other mobile products.

Broadcom also touts the BCM4760 as being compatible with many of its other chips, including Bluetooth and WiFi solutions. For example, the BCM59040 power managementunit (PMU) is said to add features such as a DC/DC converter, a switcher regulated charger with USB and wall adapter inputs, and USB OTG. Similarly, the BCM2727 VideoCore III coprocessor can add high definition (HD) video playback and recording, graphics acceleration, and image signal processing (ISP), according to the company.

Broadcom provided no further details of its Android or Windows CE ports, but said these "open operating systems" will hasten adoption of the BCM4760. In a statement, the company cited an In-Stat projection that 53 million PNDs will be shipped in 2013.

Scott Pomerantz, VP and GM of Broadcom's GPS line of business, stated, "Time and again we've seen that platforms such as the PC or the smartphone that are based on open operating systems have been best able to offer their users a wide variety of applications and functionality, even driving a new software 'applications store' model. By supporting Android and Windows CE on our new navigation processor, Broadcom is enabling a similar approach in the PND market."


Broadcom said the BCM4760, which is sampling now, is being demonstrated at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. A product page for the device may be found on the company's website, here.

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