TI's PlayBook win at RIM could threaten Marvell's business

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is using Texas Instruments' dual-core OMAP 4430 applications processor in its forthcoming PlayBook tablet, a move that one analyst firm believes is a "significant blow" to RIM's main processor supplier Marvell.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, TI confirmed that it is supplying the silicon for RIM's tablet. TI's OMAP 4430 is a 45-nm, 1 GHz processor with two ARM Cortex-A9 cores. RIM is aiming to release the WiFi-only version of the PlayBook, powered by its new QNX platform, sometime in the next few months. RIM also announced a version of the device for Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) WiMAX network, to be released in the summer.

Research firm CCS Insight said RIM's selection of TI is a knock against Marvell. "We believe future access to RIM designs for Marvell's Armada processor family is now in question, particularly given the likelihood that RIM will migrate its portfolio to the QNX operating system," the firm wrote in a research note.

Representatives from Marvell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. RIM declined to comment.

Rumors of RIM using chips from the likes of Freescale, TI and others have been floating for months, but the confirmation of TI inside the PlayBook helps solidify concerns that Marvell's position is slipping.

RIM wasn't the only player at CES to show off a tablet powered by a dual-core processor; LG and Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) proffered tablets running Nvidia's Tegra 2 offering while Acer showed up with a tablet powered by Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) dual-core Snapdragon processor.

For more:
- see this TI post
- see this EE Times article

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