Flashback: Remember the great devices powered by TI OMAP chips

We often talk about how many companies have dropped out of the smartphone race, but the industry is also tough on component makers. These days, most Android devices are powered by either Qualcomm or MediaTek chipset. There is also the Exynos line from Samsung LSI, but the company rarely finds a customer outside of its sister Samsung Electronics. Unisoc has carved out a niche of its own with success.

But we’re not going to talk about any of those today, and instead want to remember a chip maker that was called discontinued nearly a decade ago – Texas Instruments, “TI” as its friends knew it.

The TI OMAP Series – Open Multimedia Application Platform – has powered some of the most influential devices over the years, smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches.

Flashback: Remember all the great devices that were powered by TI OMAP chips

Let’s start with Nokia. The Nokia N9 ran MeeGo on a TI OMAP 3630, a 45nm chip with a single Cortex-A8 CPU and a PowerVR SGX530 GPU. We’ve revisited the N9 in a previous batch where we noticed how fast the phone feels compared to the main dual-core batteries that day.

Nokia has used OMAP chips in some of its best phones ever. MeeGo and N9 trace their history back to the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet (TI OMAP 1710), which ran the Linux-based Maemo. This was followed by the Nokia N800 in 2007 (TI OMAP 2420) and the N810 (2420 again) with slide-out QWERTY. This series ended with the Nokia N900 (OMAP 3430) in 2009.

Nokia N9
Nokia N800
Nokia N810
Nokia N900

Nokia N9 • Nokia N800 • Nokia N810 • Nokia N900

Back in 2004, the Nokia 7710 was Nokia’s first and only touchscreen device running Symbian Series 90, and the TI OMAP 1510 was the chipset of choice for this device (we hesitate to call it a tablet, although that’s what it was at that time).

Nokia 7710

Nokia 7710

OMAPs have powered many other N-series and E-series devices. The Nokia N90 multimedia drive had a 1710 chip, the N91 had a similar chip and 4/8 GB microdrive, and there was the N92 eccentric as well. The Nokia N82 used the OMAP 2420, as did the venerable Nokia N95, which is arguably the best Symbian ever.

Nokia N90
Nokia N91
Nokia N95
Nokia N82

Nokia N90 • Nokia N91 • Nokia N95 • Nokia N82

Nokia’s Communicator series was trying back in the 2000s with devices like the Nokia 9300, 9500, and Nokia E90. However, the failures of the Nokia N97 and N97 mini put an end to the Communicator’s design.

Nokia 9500
Nokia 9300
Nokia E90

Nokia 9500 • Nokia 9300 • Nokia E90

Anyway, Texas Instruments chips were the brains inside other Nokia brand phones as well: E61, E62, and E63.

Nokia E63
Nokia E62
Nokia E61

Nokia E63 • Nokia E62 • Nokia E61

OMAP chips have powered many other operating systems over the years as well. The TI OMAP 4460 – still 45nm, but now with two Cortex-A9 cores and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU – powers Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, one of Google’s first phones.

Some variants of the Galaxy S also used OMAP, for example, the Galaxy SL used OMAP 3630 instead of the Exynos 3 (aka Hummingbird). There was also an I9100G Galaxy S II with a TI chip instead of an Exynos from the regular I9100.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL
Samsung I9100G Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250 • Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL • Samsung I9100G Galaxy S II

Motorola has built quite a few Android devices based on the TI OMAP chipset. There have been the likes of DROID/MILESTONE, the Android phone designed to take on the iPhone. Long before Samsung DeX and The new Motorola is ready for .

Motorola Milestone
Motorola Droid X
Motorola RAZR XT910
Motorola Atrix 2 MB865

Motorola MILESTONE • Motorola DROID X • Motorola RAZR XT910 • Motorola ATRIX 2 MB865

A few Motos we want to highlight include the Motorola A1000, a Symbian-based PDA/smartphone, the Motorola MPx220, a Windows Mobile 2003 foldable phone without a touch screen, and the Motorola FlipOut, a kooky phone with QWERTY has been rotated out and defies the rugged Motorola.

Motorola A1000
Motorola MPx220
Motorola Flip Out
Motorola Davy

Motorola A1000 • Motorola MPx220 • Motorola FlipOut • Motorola DEFY

We’re promised TI OMAP-powered smartwatches and here are a couple. Remember MOTOACTV? It was an early test of a smartwatch that focused on exercise tracking and ran Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There was also the original Moto 360 watch, the first Google Wear watch from Motrola (nee Android Wear).

Motorola MOTOACTV
Motorola Moto 360 (1st generation)

Motorola MOTOACTV • Motorola Moto 360 (1st generation)

Like the Nokia N9, we think the Palm Pre was one of the most influential phones in terms of smartphone user interface. The Pre 2 also used an OMAP chip, while the cheaper Pixi runs on a Qualcomm chip.

wild palm
wild palm 2

Palm Pre • Palm Pre 2

There are too many phones to stop and discuss each one in detail, but we feel like we don’t pay enough respect to OMAPs just by mentioning them once in a while. These chips are built by powerful ISPs and we can prove it.

The Samsung i8910 Omnia HD was released in mid-2009 and was the first mobile phone that could record and play back 720p video. The Sony Ericsson Vivaz was the first SE phone that could capture 720p video and also used a TI chip. So did Satio (Idou), one of the first 12MP phones.

Samsung i8910 Omnia HD
Sony Ericsson Lively
Sony Ericsson Satio (Idou)

Samsung i8910 Omnia HD • Sony Ericsson Vivaz • Sony Ericsson Satio (Idou)

We don’t know what it was, but OMAP chipsets are well suited to running different operating systems. We’ve already covered Linux, Symbian, Windows Mobile, webOS, and Android, and now here’s another one – BlackBerry Tablet OS with Playbook, which quickly turned into BlackBerry 10 OS. The One BlackBerry Z10 used an OMAP chip, although most stuck with Snapdragons.

BlackBerry Playbook
Blackberry Z 10

BlackBerry Playbook • BlackBerry Z10

LG Optimus 3D, one of the first (and few) smartphones with a 3D display is also in the TI OMAP camp, its rival, the HTC EVO 3D, has appeared the Snapdragon S3 instead. Some of the other LG phones that should be mentioned here include the stylish Optimus Black P970 and Prada 3.0.

LG Optimus 3D P920
LG Optimus Black P970
LG Optimus Black P970

LG Optimus 3D P920 • LG Optimus Black P970 • LG Optimus Black P970

Amazon started building e-readers in 2007 to support one of its core businesses (remember, Amazon started as an online book store). Later, it branched out into making Android tablets, partly to get into the App Store business, but also to support the streaming service. The original Amazon Kindle Fire used TI OMAP, as did the Fire HD.

The B&N Nook Color tablet has an OMAP chip as well, even the Nook Simple Touch, one of the few eInk tablets (especially back in the day). Kindles and Nooks got some competition against the Kobo Arc, another tablet from a company that has branched out from the e-readers industry.

Amazon Kindle Fire
Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Amazon Kindle Fire • Amazon Kindle Fire

What happened to the Texas Instruments OMAP series? Well, in late 2012 there was a report that the company was giving up smartphones, but TI refuted that claim and said the OMAP 5 series is on the way. Two OMAP 5 chips – 28nm, now with two Cortex-A15 cores and a PowerVR SGX544 MP2 GPU – have been released but have never been used in a phone, tablet, or similar device (other than the DragonBox Pyra, a portable console/PDA, but we We’re not sure how important that is.)

What is your favorite TI OMAP phone? Would you like to see more details about any of the above devices?

note. If you missed Tegra more than TI chips, here’s a similar retrospective. Nvidia chips have powered their fair share of memorable hardware and the oddball too.