Wireless Systems Design

DSP + ARM Device Seeks Portable Data Terminals

Often, people think that the wireless space is comprised solely of cell phones, PDAs, and wireless-networking devices. In truth, however, such products represent only a segment of this market's far-reaching potential. Take the fast-rising portable-data-terminal (PDT) market, for instance. Its diverse range of mobile and connected devices improves business efficiencies while raising employee productivity. Among the numerous products within this space are devices for industrial, portable-medical, point-of-sale (PoS), asset-inventory, and enterprise applications.

PDT devices rely on extensive signal-processing capabilities. They also require a robust user interface that's built on a high-level operating system (OS). To meet the demands of this growing market, Texas Instruments, Inc. (www.ti.com) recently came out with the OMAP5912 processor (see figure).

At the heart of this device are the OMAP59xx processors. They provide real-time capabilities and the high-performance data processing and transfer acceleration of multimedia or analysis results. In addition, they offer an embedded hardware encryption engine that delivers the required security features—all at the lowest power possible.

By seamlessly integrating an ARM9 processor with a real-time, power-efficient TMS320C55x DSP, the OMAP5912 combines signal and application processing in one device. Developers can optimally partition tasks between the ARM9 and DSP for increased performance. By building on the OMAP platform's software offerings, they can reduce design complexity and time to market.

The OMAP5912 houses a feature-rich peripheral set that's optimized for the PDT market. It includes USB On the Go for robust data transfer; display capability to graphically capture and manipulate the data with different display technologies and sizes; and a dual camera interface for secondary display/capture capability. The processor boasts 30% faster processing performance than the previous OMAP59xx device. It also provides a standard interface for multiple input devices.

This processor supports a variety of high-level OSs. Among them are Microsoft Windows CE, Linux, Integrity, QNX, Nucleus, VxWorks, and TI's own DSP/BIOS. As a result, it can run multiple application threads and efficiently manage interprocessor communications. In the near future, TI plans to offer technology that's based on the OMAP59xx processors to meet the specifications required by the PDT market. Look for TI and its partners to be disclosing details of system-level offerings in the portable-medical, asset and inventory management, and PoS spaces.

This processor strives to satisfy PDT customers' growing demands for real-time, high-level applications and secure connectivity.

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