AMD Shows Off New PDA Design

By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2003-08-06 Print this article Print

AMD demonstrated at LinuxWorld Monday a PDA reference design based on its Alchemy embedded processor.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. at LinuxWorld Monday demonstrated a PDA reference design based on its Alchemy embedded processor. Click here to see the new PDA. The PDA, a mockup manufactured by a contract manufacturer, nevertheless showed off Metrowerks Qtopia PIM application running on top of the Metrowerks OpenPDA software suite. The OpenPDA application ran on top of Linux, using the 2.4.20 kernel, which natively supports the Alchemy Au1100 embedded processor the PDA was built around.
AMD has had the Alchemy processor running on the OpenPDA platform since January, according to Steve Davis, a program manager for AMD.
Alchemy Semiconductor was formed by the majority of the team members who left Digital Equipment Corp. after building the StrongARM core. Intel later purchased the DECs assets in 1997, which brought to Intel the then-unheralded StrongARM team and intellectual property that later became the current XScale core. AMD, meanwhile, bought Alchemy Semiconductor in January 2002, and the company became AMDs embedded processor division. To date, the embedded processor line has remained hidden at AMD. In AMDs quarterly reports, the company breaks out revenue in three areas: its PC processor division; memory products, specifically flash memory; and "Other IC Products," which includes the embedded line. For the quarter ended June 23, AMD reported 5 percent of its revenue, or $32 million, for the "Other IC Products" segment. AMD showed off the PDA design running an embedded media player, as well as a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) ported to the architecture. Brett Haskins, a Linux solutions developer for Metrowerks, said it also had run the Opera browser on the PDA, as well. The Au1100 runs at 400 MHz at 0.25 watts; in February, AMD said the chip was priced at $24.80 in 10,000-unit lots.
"Ive looked at a number of embedded processors, and a lot of time playing back the embedded video is choppy. It stutters," Haskins said. The Alchemy "chip plays it back smoothly." AMD does not plan to announce any design wins within the current quarter, a spokeswoman for the company said. However, AMD is in talks with several Asian OEMs for PDAs or PDA-like devices, Davis said.

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