Introducing the i.MX515 ARM Processor from Freescale

FreescaleFreescale Semiconductor continues to beat its drum about its own ARM based processor. The i.MX515 is the latest in the MX family of processors (formerly known as the DragonBall MX) that has been designed for the high-end consumer market, such as smartbooks, smartphones and game consoles. The processor is based on the powerful single-core Cortex-A8 from ARM.

The ARM TechCon3 conference held last week gave Freescale the opportunity to demonstrate some up-and-coming products featuring their MX515 processor. Steve Sperle, Consumer Segment Marketing Manager of Freescale kindly showcased three interesting products; The Pegeatron smartbook, Sharp NetWalker PC-Z1 and a tiny nettop box showcased the power of the i.MX515 processor, which can be clocked up to 800MHz.

We’ve mentioned the Pegatron smartbook many times during the past few months, and it genuinely seems like a powerful device. It’s a shame that no OEM has decided to bring it to market yet, although we expect this is due to the Flash Software not yet being 100% finished and ready for use. Adobe expects Flash 10.1 to be ready by the end of the year, and a beta version is already in the hands of developers.

In what could be viewed as an almost altruistic gesture, Pegatron kindly gave a smartbook to the first 80 TechCon3 online reservations. Whether this points to an imminent release we can’t say, but it could quite easily be demonstration units that are now surplus to requirements due to an securing an OEM supplier.

The nettop box is simply a computer in a tiny little box, no bigger than a small pile of CDs. It has no screen, and no keyboard, but has wide range of inputs and output connectors. Although just as powerful as the smartbook, we do wonder whether there is a market for nettop devices. We understand that they are compact, powerful and portable, but we don’t see any benefit over a smartbook. We remain sceptical about it being launched anytime soon.

The final product was the Sharp NetWalker, and is best described as a mini smartbook with a screen of around 5 inches, and manages to squeeze an impressive 10 hours of life out of the battery before recharging is required. Out of the three, this is the only product that is currently available to customers (in Japan only), and in the meantime we hope that the Freescale manage to secure more design wins.

Below, Steve Sperle demonstrates future products using Freescales ARM powered i.MX515 processor at ARM TechCon3.

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