Texas Instruments: ‘Tablets could become the centre of computing convergence’

by Doug Drinkwater

November 23 2011

TI's Deepu Talla
TI's Deepu Talla

Texas Instruments’ Deepu Talla believes that the tablet could become viable desktop replacements in future, and claims that the convergence of devices will drive smartphones, tablets and laptops closer together.

Talla is TI’s general manager of mobile computing and revealed his thoughts when speaking to TabTimes earlier in the week.

He begun by proclaiming the chipmaker’s excitement on the future of Windows, with which the company will begin making chips to support. With this opening up of the OS beyond Intel, Talla reckons that Windows could help grow the tablet market, leading a plethora of new and interesting devices.

“Windows has traditionally been closed, to the x86 architecture, but opening it up to ARM, TI, Qualcomm and Nvidia will bring different innovation from each company,” said Talla.

“The market today is between Apple and Android but it is possible in the future that there will be the same Windows operating system for a laptop, tablet and smartphone. We’re not there yet, but it’s coming as part of this convergence between devices. All that matters is that it is the same user experience across devices”.

Talla insisted that this could drive the lines to blur between ultra-thin laptops and tablets over the next two years, and said that the growth in mobile devices and faster and more powerful chips will drive significant changes in the workplace.

“Further down the line, future chips may allow for the tablet to be docked into one or two monitors, to act as a desktop. You can then add your keyboard. You can imagine a tablet streaming from your set-top box, or becoming your gaming engine.”

As a result of this, Texas Instruments believes that the tablet market will come to be made up of two categories; a value-line of content consuming $149-$249 tablets, like the Kindle Fire; and $399 and over models used for content creation. It is these models which could come to replace the desktop, according to the TI mobile manager.

Talla was also keen to highlight the growth of TI’s OMAP mobile processors, with the OMAP 4 line (with dual-core A9 graphics) now featuring in tablets including the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet, RIM’s PlayBook, Toshiba’s AT200 and Motorola’s two new Xoom tablets (Xoom 2, Xoom 2 Media Edition).

TI shipped the OMAP 4430 (based on a dual-core A9 processor running at 1GHz) in the first half of the year, but now plans to ‘up the ante’ by releasing the faster OMAP 4460 processor in time for Christmas. This model has increased clock speed of the CPU (by up to 50%) and multi-media activators.

Following that, TI will launch the OMAP 4470 and OMAP 5, which, according to Talla, will feature the industry’s first Cortex A15 mobile processor.  This model will come to market at the end of 2012.

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