TI Joins the (Phone/MID/Netpad) Party

ti-omap-1Large-screen phones and MIDs have been limited by underpowered hardware. Consequently, the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the Toshiba TG01 was welcome news. Now Texas Instruments (TI) is joining the party with its new Zoom OMAP34x-II Mobile Development Platform (MDP).

Hands On: Windows Mobile 6.5 and the TI OMAP 34x-II Platform (the source of the picture) shows Texas Instruments’ new Zoom OMAP34x-II Mobile Development Platform (MDP) on a Windows Mobile 6.5 device with a 4.1” 800 x 480 WVGA – get this – capacitive touchscreen and an HDMI video out port! The platform also includes a 6-in-1 SD/MMC Card Slot,  USB port, and the usual WiFi and Bluetooth and 3G.

The WinMo 6.5 device is a prototype. However, you can pre-order a variant of this prototype for $1150 (WiFi only), or $1399 with a 3G modem.Per Texas Instruments and Wind River do up Android right, the OS on this device will be Android, not Windows Mobile. Yes, this platform supports multiple OS’s.

At these prices, the pre-order device really is for developers, not consumers, though I doubt in this economy anyone’s money will be refused. As much as I like gadgets, the price point of this one is too rich for me. However, I may not have long to wait.

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Archos to release Android phone / tablet (the source of the second picture) announces: “Archos’s use of the OMAP3 processor in an upcoming ‘Internet Media Tablet’ that runs on Android and also doubles as a phone. No pictures yet, but the spec sheet makes it sound like a hotrodded Archos 5: five-inch screen, up to a 500GB hard drive, a battery capable of 7 seven hours of video playback, and Flash support, all in a package just 10mm (.39 inches) thick. The underlying OS will be Android, but Archos plans to really beef up the media features — there’s even mention of HD video playback. That sounds seriously sweet — if Archos ditches the current mushy resistive screen in the 5 for a capacitive unit, this could be a knockout Android device when it launches in the third quarter.” This press release provides further details.

Here Comes the Netpads: Archos Android-based Internet Media Tablet? dubs this device the first “netpad”; “devices that have good web browsers, net connectivity, and a form factor smaller than a netbook but larger than an iPhone.” The current Archos 5 is a netpad, but pales in comparison to the upcoming device.

Netpad or MID (or phone), the upcoming Archos device looks like interesting competition for the Athena successor, the HTC Thoth, discussed briefly in The (HTC) Road Ahead.

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