Freescale Launching New i.MX53 Processor Family, Shows Off Tablets, MIDs, eReaders

This week, Freescale introduced the first member of a new family of  processors dubbed i.MX53. According to Freescale, the i.MX53 family of ARM processors is based on “an enhanced version of the ARM Cortex-A8 core running at up to 1 GHz, and a derivative part designed to deliver up to 1.2 GHz of performance.”

Devices based on the i.MX535 aren’t available yet, but at the Freescale Headquarters on Wednesday, we saw a number of demos that showcase just how far the current-gen i.MX51 family has come. We saw a new eReader chip that flips pages at lightning speed, we watched as a new instant-on technology cold booted Android in just a couple of seconds on a MID, and we got to demo a wide-variety of devices that showcase the already strong performance of the i.MX51 platform.

i.MX51e Speeds Up eBooks

Freescale already dominates the eReader market as its chips power leading devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader series. However, we all know that one of the most disappointing things about any current-gen eInk device is how long it takes to flip pages. One or two seconds can seem like an eternity to wait when you’re trying to flip through a book.

Yesterday, Freescale demoed its brand new iMX51e chip for us and, as you can see in the video below, it promises to revolutionize eReaders by making the turn time nearly instantaneous.

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Instant-On with Ubiquitous QuickBoot

A company called Ubiquitous has recently developed a software technology called Ubiquitous QuickBoot that is capable of cold-booting a completely powered-off Android or other Linux-based Freescale MIDs in about a second. According to Ubiquitous’s press release QuickBoot works by restoring “necessary portions of the memory image by automatically determining the priority of memory usage of the system.”

The video below shows a demo of Ubiquitous QuickBoot running on the Sharp Netwalker Z1 MID, which is powered by a Freescale i.MX515 processor. The Netwalker Z1 has been out for over a year now, but this is the first time we’d seen this Ubuntu Linux-powered MID, which is sold primarily in Japan.

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720p Video Playback in the Palm of Your Hand

The current generation i.MX51 family of processors is more than capable of playing 720p video, as the video below shows. We snapped the i.MX515-powered Sharp Netwalker T1 (the slate form factored successor to the Netwalker Z1) running YouTube Flash video. We also saw it running a trailer at full-screen, but that’s not shown in the video.

While the video really demos the video playback capability of the platform, we were again intrigued by the device used for the demo. The Netwalker PC-T1 has been out for a few months, but most users outside Japan haven’t seen it. It’s just fascinating to see full Ubuntu Linux running on a tiny slate.

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Pegatron Tablet Demo

Freescale had this intriguing Pegatron tablet prototype in their office as well. As you can see from the video below, it not only plays video, but can also handle 3D games with great prowess, and it’s running on the same i.MX51 platform as the other devices we saw. We were also intrigued by the tablet’s unique ThunderSoft UI which sits on top of Android 2.1.

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Smartbook Demo

Freescale wants you to know that their chips can power smartbooks too. Here we saw a a smartbook prototype with the i.MX515 and a sharp 1024×600 display running 720p video with no problems.

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Cooking with the QOOQ tablet

We also saw the QOOQ, a very unique device running on the current-gen Freescale processor. It’s a kitchen PC with a unique Linux Os and content that’s designed to teach you how to cook. This device has been out in France for a while now and we don’t know if we’ll ever see it in the U.S. However, it’s a great example of a truly dedicated device serving a single purpose really well.

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AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Andrii Degeler Says:

    Is there any information about prices? Is it the same chip that has been mentioned at early March as the most inexpensive solution for e-books? (As I remember, it was a i.MX508 for $150, http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/new-freescale-chip-could-birth-a-150-e-reader/.)

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