Motorola stacks mobile chip, memory

In hopes of providing device-independent mobile development, Motorola has unveiled a mobile architecture that combines processor cores for communications and applications in a single package with a shared-memory subsystem.

In hopes of providing device-independent mobile development, Motorola has unveiled a mobile architecture that combines processor cores for communications and applications in a single package with a shared-memory subsystem.

The MXC (Mobile Extreme Convergence) architecture, launched last week at the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association conference in Las Vegas, is designed also to boost the performance of mobile platforms and applications.

MXC separates software application logic from communications logic to make work easier for application developers, said Franc Fink, vice president and general manger of the wireless and mobile systems group at Motorola.

Developers will be able to write an application once and easily port it to other MXC devices without worrying about the communications processing protocols, Fink said.

The design stacks application and communications inside the DSP (digital signal processor) chip in a package that measures 16mm by 20mm by 1.4mm. As a result, the MXC could conceivably become embedded in a variety of devices that are not currently enabled for wireless, including MP3 players, digital cameras, camcorders, and DVD players.

"You can take (MXC) off any PDA and put it on a cell phone, and you have a smart phone. The isolation allows you to write it once and switch it to another device," said Allen Leibovitch, manager of semiconductor research at IDC.

Although the technology is sound and promising, according to industry analysts, success or failure of the MXC architecture is also dependent on some nontechnical issues.

"The challenge will, of course, be how many system and handset manufacturers design future handsets using this architecture," said Gerry Purdy, principal analyst at MobileTrax.

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