Motorola to sample ARM-based processor for Palm OS

Motorola will ship samples of the two latest additions to its line of DragonBall processors, including the ARM-based DragonBall MX1, during the fourth quarter of this year, the company announced on Tuesday.

The DragonBall MX1, which runs at clock speeds up to 200MHz, is based on the ARM processor core and is designed to be used in PDAs (personal digital assistants) running future versions of Palm Inc.'s Palm OS as well as in 3G (third-generation) mobile phones, according to a Motorola statement.

Palm has promised users a range of multimedia functions, including improved graphics, wireless connectivity and multimedia, in a future version of Palm OS that supports the ARM processor, which runs at higher speeds than existing processors used in Palm-based PDAs.

However, whether Palm OS will be ready for the ARM-based MX1 when Motorola starts shipping samples remains to be seen. Speaking in Taipei earlier this month, Alan Kessler, general manager of Palm's Platform Solutions Group, declined to say when Palm OS 5.0, the first version of the operating system to support the ARM core, will be available. The DragonBall Super VZ, which will be sampled alongside the MX1, runs at 66MHz and is based on the 68K processor architecture supported by existing versions of the Palm OS.

Both processors will be manufactured at Motorola's manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, using a 0.18 micron process, said Motorola spokeswoman Dawn Lam.

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