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Smartphone-class processors target in-car multimedia applications

October 25, 2010 | Julien Happich | 222901162
As consumers increasingly embrace downloadable applications that run on popular mobile products such as tablets and smartphones, automakers are looking to differentiate new car models with high performance driver information systems (DIS) that enable similar use cases for customizable in-dash applications and fully reconfigurable instrument clusters. To meet this demand, Freescale Semiconductor has expanded its i.MX53 processor family with automotive versions designed to enable next-generation automotive multimedia applications.

The i.MX536 and i.MX534 products are smartphone-class processors specifically designed for in-vehicle operation. Freescale incorporates two independent graphics processing engines to render high frame rate graphics required for reconfigurable and highly realistic looking display-based instrument clusters. This allows automobile designers to migrate from fixed analog instrument clusters to a single display-based cluster that can be customized across vehicle families.

The i.MX53x processors are based on Freescale's latest implementation of the ARM Cortex-A8 core, which delivers 800 MHz of performance in automotive environments. For reconfigurable instrument cluster applications, the i.MX534 offers dual graphics processors for ultra fast rendering of 2D needles, combined with 3D images. The i.MX536 adds a dedicated hardware video processor capable of full 1080p video decode and 720p encode with minimal CPU loading for advanced multimedia applications.

Both processors include a 400MHz external memory interface that supports common DDR2 and DDR3 memories as well as low power DDR2. The products' dual parallel display ports and on board LVDS interface enable dual display applications. High performance multichannel audio and audio mixing applications are enabled via enhanced serial audio interface technology, multiple I2S I/O ports and a hardware based asynchronous sample rate converter. The i.MX536 and i.MX534 devices are part of the Freescale Product Longevity program, with 15 years of assured supply.

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