Inside Of Uconnect Access: TI's OMAP-DM3730
Uconnect Access relies on Texas Instruments' OMAP-DM3730 SoC, which an evolution of the OMAP 3530 in Hyundai's current-generation Genesis Coupe. TI shrank the manufacturing process from 65 to 45 nm and ratcheted up the clock rates of its memory controller, 2D/3D graphics, and IVA 2.2 advanced imaging, video, and audio engine. The same PowerVR SGX530 graphics core remains. The frequency increases are actually pretty substantial, representing a 50-percent speed-up to the IVA 2.2 subsystem, an 80-percent increase to the PowerVR SGX530 engine, and a 20-percent boost to the memory controller.
There's a single Cortex-A8 core at the heart of TI's DM3730, sporting a couple of errata fixes. Maximum clock rate jumps 39%, from the OMAP3530's 720 MHz up to 1 GHz. We aren't sure if Jeep's implementation takes full advantage of the SoC's peak frequency though, or if it's scaled back for heat and power reasons.
Although the hardware at the heart of Uconnect Access seems ancient compared to the latest smartphone and tablet platforms, it's plenty adequate to run an infotainment system. Remember that these embedded systems undergo long development times, and they employ SoCs with long-life support. This allows manufacturers to maintain an inventory of repair parts for up to a decade after the last vehicle rolls off of the assembly line. Thus, a mature product like the DM3730 makes more sense in the automotive world than Qualcomm's or Samsung's latest.
The DM3730 is complemented by 512 MB of memory, which we have to imagine is sufficient for the closed platform. That capacity isn't surprising; it's the same amount of RAM that Parrot used in its Asteroid Smart double-DUN head unit (see Parrot Asteroid Smart Review: Android In Your Car's Dash? for more detail). You do get plenty of on-board storage, though. Uconnect Access features 16 GB of eMMC flash for the operating system, maps, and apps. There weren’t any downloads available during our week with the Grand Cherokee, but Chrysler promises that Pandora, Aha, iHeartRadio, and Slacker Radio are coming soon.
Powering the Uconnect Access system is QNX Neutrino RTOS 6.5.0. It’s not as sexy as the latest QNX CAR Platform, but it does the job well. All of this is connected by Harman, in cooperation with Chrysler. Yes, that’s the same Harman as Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson. Interestingly enough, Harman also develops infotainment systems for virtually every other automotive manufacturer as well, including the Toyota Display Audio 6.1 with Entune system we evaluated in 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE: Technology In A Mid-Size Sedan.