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NEC unveils SoC series for automotive infotainment

Santa Clara, Calif. — Aimed at shortening design time and lowering software development costs, NEC Electronics has launched the first devices of the company’s new EMMA car series of automotive system LSI devices. The EC-4260 (NaviEngine-MID) and EC-4250 (NaviEngine-mini) system-on-chips (SoCs) deliver the performance, peripheral set, and software ecosystem to meet the demands of high-performance applications such as navigation, infotainment and telematics systems, said NEC.

The EC-4260 with three CPU cores and EC-4250 with two CPU cores join the EC-4270 (introduced in 2007) to support the expanding market of car-navigation systems, particularly in Japan, Europe and the U.S.

Using three ARM-11 cores from ARM Ltd., the EC-4260 SoC operates at 1440 MIPS (at 400 MHz), while the EC-4250 performs 960 MIPS using two ARM-11 cores. Basing these devices on an industry-standard core gives design engineers access to a wide array of software elements, which will shorten design time and lower software development costs, said NEC.

The multi-core architecture also supports symmetrical multi-processing (SMP) mode. In this mode, a single version of the operating system (OS) is running on multiple cores, and tasks are dynamically allocated to cores at runtime, maximizing the use of available processing power, according to NEC.

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The SoCs also include a graphics processing unit (GPU) that realizes “excellent 2D/3D imaging,” according to NEC. The EC-4260 SoC enables 2D/3D imaging and supports OpenGL ES and OpenVG specifications. The EC-4250 enables 2D imaging and supports the OpenVG specification. NEC said these features provide graphics software compatibility contributing to faster time-to market for system designers.

The new products also offer a development environment for automotive customers. For example, for communications, there is support for a variety of protocols, including USB, MOST bus, CAN, I2S and I2C. Also included is an audio routing engine that has sample rate conversion capability. The software suite, aimed at speeding up development, includes evaluation boards, in-circuit emulator, on-chip debugger, middleware, and operating systems, all of them are also compatible with those of the EC-4270 SoC.

Availability: Samples are available now, followed by mass production in 2010. Expected production is 100,000 units per month by 2012.
Pricing: The EC-4260 and EC-4250 devices are currently available for samples, priced per unit at $140 and $70, respectively.