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  1. Technology
November 28, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Philips Electronics NV has traditionally been ascloseasthis with Motorola Inc on microprocessors – its Signetics unit was an official 68000 second source, and it uses a variant of the 68000 in its Compact Disk-interactive games and educational multimedia system – but for RISCs, it has hitched its wagon to the MIPS Technologies Inc star and a couple of years ago, licensed the basic R-series design for embedded applications. Now Philips Semiconductors (formerly Signetics) in Sunnyvale has come out with its first major MIPS part, which it is calling the One Chip PDA. The part is a single-chip highly-integrated implementation using the R3000 core, designed specifically for liquid crystal display handheld devices, either with a touch-screen or a keyboard. Philips sees it going into more than just so-called Personal Digital Assistants, and suggests smart telephones, organisers, handheld games, electronic books and data collection devices. Modules currently on the One Chip PDA include the LCD and Video Modules with bit-mapped graphics; support for multiple screen sizes, a main memory-resident video buffer with direct memory access data transfers; monochrome four- or eight-level gray, or 8-bit colour modes; time-based dithering algorithm; and support for 4-bit or 8-bit split and non-split screens. There is also a Touch-Screen Module, which uses a 10-bit analogue-to-digital converter to digitise touch-screen measurements, and allows for measurements of position. The Sound Generation Module is an 8-bit digital-to-analogue converter with built-in amplifier for direct connection to speakers, which supports generation of a single tone of programmable frequency, amplitude and duration; and enables digital-to-analogue conversion of sound samples stored in memory. The Realtime Module generates the clock from a 32.768KHz crystal, and provides a 48-bit counter for permanent date and time; 48-bit alarm register; 16-bit periodic timer; interrupts on alarm each one second and periodic timer. There is also an RC5, RC6/lrDA Compatible Infrared Module which provides for up to 1Kbps at 30 feet using consumer mode, up to 115Kbps at three feet using IrDA. And the High-Speed UART is a basic serial communications channel with full-duplex universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter, programmable baud-rate and direct memory access support for receive or transmit. The 3.3V device features fully static CMOS design and all peripheral modules can be individually powered down from running into dozing, sleeping and coma modes. Samples will be available in January 1996, with volume set for the following quarter, and the part will be under $20 in 100,000-up quantities.

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