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TI, Nokia, ARM team up for common phone silicon

It's good, it's open, it's er, ours

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In something of a coup, Texas Instruments has turned a trademarked brand name for its proprietary silicon into an "open" industry alliance.

TI's OMAP is already the runaway leading platform for smartphones, leveraging the company's pioneering work in DSPs to an ARM processor core. In December it announced a partnership with ST Micro and yesterday added Nokia and ARM itself to a consortium called the MIPI, or the Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance. It modestly places itself in a third chunk of a triangle currently occupied by 3GPP and OMA.

Ten MIPI working groups are expected to release initial drafts by the end of the year. TI itself heaqds the Systems Power Management group, ARM the HML, or "high speed multilink" group for peripherals, ST the software group and Nokia the test and debug group. MIPI wants other suppliers of processors, memory and peripherals such as cameras and displays and software vendors to sign up too.

Although seen as a warning shot against Intel, which is keen but not quite ready to join in the battle for smartphone silicon, it's more of a message to would-be manufacturers in Asia that TI represents a cheaper, safer platform for the future. Although the phone business won't become the PC industry for quite some time, large parts of it are being commoditized. TI wants Asia to commoditize with them, rather than say Motorola now or Intel in the future.

The group says all technology must be contributed royalty-free. ®

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