Google, TI cozy up on Android Ice Cream Sandwich

TI and Google are getting together on Ice Cream Sandwich, the version of Android that unifies the phone and tablet platforms.

Texas Instruments and Google are hooking up on Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that will run on both phones and tablets.

Though TI has been a player in Android phones (most notably the Motorola Droid series), it has been largely absent from Android tablets, which are populated with Nvidia's Tegra chips mostly. That is expected to change with Ice Cream Sandwich, however, which will finally fuse the phone and tablet versions of Android into one.

Ice Cream Sandwich will allow developers to create apps once. The operating system, due in the fourth quarter, will be smart enough to figure out which type of device the app is running on and then adjust accordingly.

Texas Instruments and Google are pairing up for upcoming devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich on top of TI processors.
Texas Instruments and Google are pairing up for upcoming devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich on top of TI processors. Texas Instruments

As the above graphic indicates, TI will be a prominent part of the Ice Cream Sandwich rollout. This is a promotional image that TI will use for events "in the fall," according to an e-mail received from the company's PR representative today.

Though it remains to be seen which devices use TI's chips, it has two competitive dual-core processors, the 4460 and 4470. The 4470 is of particular interest going forward.

This "is more than just a faster speed grade of the OMAP 4460; the new design includes significant graphics and memory improvements as well," Linley Gwennap, who heads The Linley Group, a chip consulting firm, wrote in a research note.

The 4470 is rated at 1.8GHz, 20 percent faster than the 4460. TI has also modified the memory controller to support faster memory and the 4470 includes a PowerVR SGX544 graphics processing unit (GPU), which TI is also using in OMAP5, the next iteration of TI's OMAP processor series.

"This GPU delivers twice the raw performance of the SGX540 in the earlier OMAP4 chips," according to Gwennap. The 4470 is expected to sample later this year and appear in devices in 2012.

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