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Freescale Semiconductor announces new system-on-a-chip (SoC) for e-readers

Cheaper e-readers for everybody? That might be exactly what Freescale Semiconductor is aiming for with their new processor, which is said to have the capability to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing such devices.

Read on for more information…

E-readers aren’t exactly the kind of things one’d expect people to rush out and buy on a regular basis, unlike other electronic devices like laptops and mp3 players. That’s probably because traditional print media has been surprisingly resilient against various forms of alternative media, but some may be more inclined to think that the relatively low rate of adoption can be attributed to the prices e-readers command.

That may soon change however, with the new ARM Cortex A8-based processor, the i.MX508, which Freescale claims will “deliver the performance, energy efficiency and system cost savings necessary to help OEMs evolve and grow the dynamic eReader product category.”

According to Freescale, the i.MX508 will allow OEMs to enjoy up to a 50% reduction in manufacturing costs because of its integration with dual USB/PHY, NAND memory and more importantly, the E Ink display controller, which forms a significant part of an e-reader’s manufacturing costs.

With the ARM core clocked at 800MHz, which is twice the speed of Freescale’s current e-reader processors, the i.MX508 is said to be able to support newer and larger e-reader panels at resolutions “up to 2048 x1536 pixels at 106 hertz”.

Battery life is also expected to improve, due to the i.MX508’s built-in power saving features, whichs allows for various components of the device to be powered down or turned off while not in use.

The i.MX508 is expected to be available by end 2010.

Source: Freescale Semiconductor

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