...New Chip Enables 'Smaller, Faster, Smarter' Products...
...Manufacturers Express Enthusiasm for StrongARM Architecture...
MAYNARD, Mass., September 2, 1997 _ Digital Equipment Corporation today ushered
in a new era of mobile computing and communications performance for the consumer
electronics market by unveiling the SA-1100 microprocessor, the newest member of
the high-performance, low-power StrongARM family. Designed to boost the
capabilities and appeal of handheld PCs, subnotebooks, wallet PCs, "smart"
cellular phones, and Internet-enabled "Web" phones, the StrongARM SA-1100 chip
delivers three to five times the performance of competing products either
currently available or on the drawing board. The chip also features integrated
user interfaces, very low power consumption and competitive prices.
High Volume Markets
International Data Corporation analysts estimate that the total handheld market
will grow from 3.1 million units in 1996 to nearly 28 million units by 2001.
Handheld computing devices will represent the largest market with 16 million
units in 2001. The segment for smart phones, which combine electronic mail and
Internet access capabilities with cellular voice communication, is projected to
see the fastest growth _ from 35,000 units in 1996 to 8.8 million in 2001.
According to Ed Caldwell, vice president, Digital Semiconductor, a Digital
Equipment Corporation business, "Digital Semiconductor's StrongARM products are
well positioned to benefit from the tremendous volume potential of the growing
portable computing and communications markets. The companies announcing support
of the SA-1100 today are leaders in their respective industries, and their
actions constitute firm endorsements of the StrongARM architecture."
"Digital's StrongARM SA-1100 is a great example of the processors that will
allow future handheld and embedded systems to provide fast performance, color
displays, and high-speed communications for users," said J. Gerry Purdy,
president and CEO of Mobile Insights, Inc. "Products like this will greatly
expand the market for handheld and embedded systems."
Northern Telecom (Nortel) is developing a cellular, touch-screen, pen-friendly
"network telephone" that will deliver a steady stream of high-value services and
applications using Java. Phil Terrett, senior manager, product line management,
Advanced Wireless Terminals division of Nortel Ltd., said, "To deliver that in
an affordable, pocket-size package with respectable performance and battery life
presented a challenge to us. The StrongARM SA-1100 chip is one of the
significant enabling technologies which helped make this a reality."
"Microsoft welcomes the SA-1100 microprocessor because it really opens up the
envelope for Windows CE performance," said Jim Floyd, Handheld PC product
manager at Microsoft Corporation. "The SA-1100 and the Windows CE operating
system have matching strengths and features that can bring desktop performance
to handheld PCs. The cooperation between Digital and Microsoft now extends from
servers and clusters down to handheld PCs."
Sandy Benett, chief operating officer at Newton, Inc., said, "The StrongARM
architecture is an important feature of the MessagePad 2000 handheld computer.
It facilitates faster response times, longer periods between battery changes,
and voice recording capability. We will continue to work closely with Digital
in the future _ the StrongARM chip plays an important role in our ongoing
According to Stephen Randall, joint president, Psion Software PLC, "Ultimately,
AA battery-powered PDAs will require the kind of performance and functionality
expected from connected phones, video conferencing systems and desktop devices,
including full support for Enterprise Java. We are seeing increasing demand
from licensees for industrial-strength, high-end mobile devices. EPOC32 was
architected precisely for these applications, and we are developing products
based on the SA-1100 that for the first time turn these high-end concepts into
"The StrongARM SA-1100 processor is the latest product of a fruitful
relationship between Digital and ARM," said Robin Saxby, president and CEO of
Advanced RISC Machines. "Digital has made great strides in making the ARM
architecture the top performer in portable and embedded applications. With the
recent opening of our Austin, Texas, design center, we are able to support
locally further innovations by Digital and other partners."
Better Features for Users, OEMs
Tom Schild, StrongARM portable products marketing manager for Digital
Semiconductor, said that the StrongARM SA-1100 "delivers on the industry's
promise of enhanced mobile communications and practical, compatible handheld
computing. As the computing, communications and consumer electronics markets
converge, the SA-1100 will continue to win significant designs."
Features that users can expect to see in StrongARM-based handheld systems
include more accurate user interfaces such as handwriting and speech
recognition, color displays, faster synchronization with desktop systems,
softmodem, and integrated communications.
For OEMs, the SA-1100 chip offers the ability to run Java applications off the
Web. A highly integrated, single-chip solution with inexpensive packaging, the
SA-1100 enables reduction of system costs and added form factor flexibility. An
SA-1100 Evaluation Platform is also available to assist designers in product
development and to shorten time to market for new products.
The SA-1100 200MHz chip is the first embedded processor to approach 1000 MIPS
per watt, a ratio approximately three times that of its nearest major
competitor. At speeds of 200MHz and 133MHz, the SA-1100 microprocessor delivers
up to 230 Dhrystone V2.1 MIPS, while typically consuming less than 250
milliwatts (mW) of power.
The StrongARM SA-1100 chip's high performance and large caches make it the
fastest Java application processor in the embedded market and also the first
embedded processor to emulate a v.34+ modem in software, utilizing less than 25
percent of the CPU. An integrated high-speed multiplier with digital signal
processor (DSP) functions enables improved speech and handwriting recognition.
In addition, the SA-1100 chip's low operational power consumption, combined with
power-conserving idle and sleep modes, enables AA battery-operated devices to
provide three to six weeks of normal use between battery changes _ the longest
battery life for any high-speed processor.
The chip's integrated features include a memory controller that supports SRAM,
DRAM, Flash, and ROM as well as single or dual PCMCIA cards; a flexible display
controller that supports monochrome and color displays in resolutions up to
1024x1024; 28 general purpose I/O and six serial interfaces including USB,
Codec, FIR, and SDLC; and all required timer and system functions.
The StrongARM SA-1100 microprocessor is ARM v.4-compliant and is supported by
the widest range of operating systems and development tool chains in the
industry. They include:
Company Operating system Tool chain
Microsoft WindowsCE Visual C/C++
Newton, Inc. NewtonOS Newton Developer Tools
Psion Software EPOC32 Gnu
Lucent Technologies Inferno Inferno tool chain
JavaSoft, Inc. JavaOS Java Workshop
Microware OS-9 FasTrac
Geoworks Sokoto ARM tool chain, C/C++ tools
JMI Software Systems C-EXECUTIVE C-EXECUTIVE tools
Wind River Systems VxWorks Tornado
The StrongARM SA-1100 microprocessor is priced at $29 for the 133MHz version and
$39 for the 200MHz version in quantities of 10,000. Samples are available now;
volume shipments will begin in the first quarter of 1998. The SA-1100
Evaluation Platform is priced at $2,500 and is available now.
Digital Semiconductor, a Digital Equipment Corporation business headquartered in
Hudson, Massachusetts, designs, manufactures and markets industry-leading
semiconductor products including Alpha microprocessors and PCI chips for
networking, bridging, and multimedia, plus low-power StrongARM microprocessors
under license from Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
and Samsung Electronics Company Ltd. are alternate sources for Alpha
microprocessors. Web site: http://www.digital.com/semiconductor
Digital Equipment Corporation is a world leader in open client/server solutions
from personal computing to integrated worldwide information systems. Digital's
scalable Alpha and x86 platforms, storage, networking, software and services,
together with industry-focused solutions from business partners, help
organizations compete and win in today's global marketplace.