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Intel puts StrongArm on death row

Intel puts StrongArm on death row

Intel has told developers that its SA-1110 StrongArm processor will not be available for much longer.

The chip has served as the processor in several generations of personal digital assistants (PDAs) from numerous companies but it has been superseded by Intel's XScale line.

The company has told developers that it would continue accepting orders for just six more months. The last StrongArm shipments from Intel were due no later than February 6, 2004, according to a notice sent to developers last week.

"Everybody is transitioning off 206MHz StrongArm processors and onto 400MHz XScale processors," Intel spokesman, Mark Miller, said.

He was referring to the company's XScale chip, launched one year ago as a successor to the StrongArm.

XScale is already being used in many Intel processor-based PDAs.With the launch of a new version that includes a baseband processor, Intel is hoping the chip will also be popular with mobile telephone handset makers.

The StrongArm processor was the product of a 1995 licensing agreement between ARM (then called Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.) and Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), which was later acquired by Compaq Computer. DEC produced several StrongArm microprocessors based on RISC's 32-bit processor core that were put into use in products such as network terminals.

In late 1997, Intel struck a deal to acquire the StrongArm technology and business from DEC for $US700 million.

Soon after buying the business, Intel announced it would move StrongArm into devices such as digital set top boxes, Web-enabled screen phones, point of sale terminals and mobile telephones.

The chip became a favourite of personal digital assistant (PDA) and mobile device developers and customers included Casio Computer, Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, LG Electronics, NEC, Sharp and Toshiba.


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