The SoC - OMAP3 3430

Before we dive into the phones, let's take a look at the SoC at the core of both. We talked about the OMAP 3430 back in 2009 (well maybe not way back, but it sure feels like it) in the context of the Palm Pre, which uses the OMAP 3430. It turns out that Texas Instruments' OMAP 3430 SoC is quite popular if not a microcosm of the generation of smartphones we're talking about; it's common to the N900, Motorola Droid, and Palm Pre.

OMAP 3430 Block Diagram

The Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 is designed for a 65nm manufacturing process, in fact, all of the OMAP34x series are designed for 65-nm process, whereas OMAP36 is intended for 45-nm processes. OMAP 3430 supports up to 12 megapixel cameras on its onboard image-signal processor, and packs an onboard IVA 2+ image, video and audio DSP accelerator clocked at 430 MHz, and a PowerVR SGX 530 GPU. Those clocks are recommended by TI, but in practice handset OEMs set them through a dialog with carriers to meet appropriate performance and battery life targets. OMAP3430's IVA 2+ supports MPEG-4 and H.264 encode/decode of 30 fps video at 720x480, and WMV9 decode at the same resolution and framerate. OMAP3430 can drive displays up to WXGA (1280x800) resolution at 24-bits. Note that the OMAP3 series SoCs don't pack internal cellular modems, meaning OEMs shop around for their own and connect over internal USB or multi channel buffered serial (McBSP).

At the heart of the OMAP 3430 SoC is the 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU. Remember that Cortex-A8 is an ARMv7 design with a 13 stage pipeline, compared to the 8 stage ARM11 (ARMv6) design common to OMAP2 and the CPU in the iPhone 3G. In practice, the performance delta between ARMv6 (ARM11) and ARMv7 (Cortex-A8) is between 2x and 3x.


Birds of a feather: N900 and Motorola Droid Physical Comparison and OMAP 3430 Continued


View All Comments

  • Fri13 - Sunday, June 20, 2010 - link

    Symbian is server-client architectured operating system. Symbian has EKA2 microkernel + servers (modules). But Symbian is not at same time _just_ the operating system. It has other features (like libraries and so on) as well what does not belong to the actual OS.
    Fact is that Symbian really is open source.

    But in other hand, the Android is not the operating system. It is a software system. The Linux is the operating system in the Android. Linux is monolithic kernel. Monolithic kernel is exactly same thing as operating system. It is the oldest (actually original) OS architecture. Server-client and layered architectures were developed almost few decades after the monolithic because there was demand to get OS architecture what is in theory more secure and more stable, but slower.

    Symbian is licensed under EPL. While Linux OS is licensed under GPLv2 (only).

    Both licenses are aproofed by the OSI and FSF. So both OS's are Libre software.
    Android is software system what has multple different licensed software in it. The Linux OS in it is the GPLv2 (what can not be changed) and the distributor itself can use as well closed source software if the license allows. Usually this means that the software platforms or the softwares what are responsible for user interface can be with different license than F/OSS license.

    By the facts, it is not true at all to say that "Android is not F/OSS operating system". Because a) Linux kernel is the operating system in Android. Android is just one distribution of the Linux. b) When talking about the operating systems and android, if wanted to be very wide speaking by terms, then Android is totally F/OSS.
  • numberoneoppa - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    Great article, Brian. I learned a lot. =) Reply
  • legoman666 - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    I love my N900 :D I bought it last November, right when it was first released. I had a N810 at the time, so I was excited to get the next iteration. With PR1.2 and a modest overclock to 800mhz, it scores ~12000ms on the sunspider javascript benchmark, which is on par with the HTC Incredible and the Nexus 1.

    I didn't have to get t-mobile, as my local carrier, Cincinnati Bell, uses the same 3g frequencies as T-mobile. I get blazing fast speeds of 3mb/s.

    As Brian said in the review, the Skype integration is excellent. It even tells you how much credit you have remaining and the call cost at the end of the call. (And I can make video calls over 3g, take that iPhone)
  • topsecret - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    You should test the N900 with it running meego. Reply
  • Talcite - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Nokia doesn't plan to port meego to the N900. Reply
  • CityBlue - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Yes they do plan to port MeeGo to the N900 - in fact, the N900 is the primary development platform for MeeGo so not making it available in one form or another would be utterly ridiculous.

    What Nokia have said is that the version of MeeGo that will be made available for the N900 will not be officially supported, which basically means you can't go running to Nokia Care when you find a bug. Since I can't believe anyone does this even with a supported OS, the lack of Nokia Care is no great loss - you'll still have a very large and committed community to fall back on for help.

    So in brief: Yes, MeeGo *IS* coming to the N900 - whether you install it or not is your choice.
  • jed22281 - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Yup, exactly what cityblue said.
    Brian needs to clarify this in his article.
    There'll be plenty of "unofficial" support for meego on n900
  • tbutler - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    ...sorry, those airquotes have some very painful memories for those of us who lived through the 770 era. When 'unofficial' support meant a kludged-together hack. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the clarification CityBlue, I'll definitely update. I wrote some of this partially when support wasn't fully understood.

  • topsecret - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    "the Motorola Droid remains the flagship of Android phones that come with a hardware keyboard"
    I dunno, the samsung moment is a pretty nice phone.

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