Texas Instruments Phoenix 1 (Engineering Validation Tests 1)

Date of introduction:  (March 2006) Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
 16-level greyscale
New price:   Display size:  240 * 320 pixels 
Size:  7.9" x 3.9" x 0.85"
 200 x 100 x 22 mm3
Weight:  8.8 ounces, 250 grams Serial No:  P1-EVT1-B-0118
Batteries:  4*AAA Date of manufacture:  mth 02 year 2006
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  
Precision:  14 Integrated circuits:  CPU: TI-OMAP NP31AZZG
 SDRAM: HYB18L256160
 Flash: SST 39VF400A, ST NAND256W3A
 Display: Novatek NT7702H, 2*xxx
Program steps:  20M Bytes, 16M Bytes Flash-ROM Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner 

Texas Instruments filed already October 24, 2003 in Europe a patent application for a stylus based calculator and since the publication of the granted patent EP1424626 in June 2004 there are rumors about a new graphing calculator. The patent itself describes a then novel method of entering data with a stylus into graphing software applications. The sketch of the suggested design of the new calculator reminds us immediately to a failed development project nicknamed PET by the marketing department of Texas Instruments. We discovered in 2007 one of the rare prototypes labeled TI-PLT.

The Phoenix 1 obviously lacks a stylus and seems to trace back to another root than the "PDA-based graphing calculator", a hype started early in this millennium with the Hewlett Packard Xpander. This Windows CE based calculator looked like a PDA with a 240 * 320 pixel gray-scale touch screen,  a small numeric keypad and the stylus. Hewlett Packard canceled the project February 2001 with just a few prototypes left to the disappointed market. Dismantling one of the prototypes revealed a design centered around a Hitachi SH3 RISC-Processor, 8MB of RAM and 16MB of ROM.

Japanese calculator company Casio was more successful and introduced in 2002 the ClassPad 300 with a 160 * 240 pixel gray-scale touch screen supporting a lot of stylus based operation like drag-and-drop. This design makes use of the Hitachi SH7291 - a SH3 based RISC-Processor, 0.5M Bytes of RAM and 4M Bytes Flash-ROM. 

The ClassPad 300 Plus introduced in 2005 makes use of a much improved display with higher contrast and better readability under low lighting conditions.

This early Phoenix 1 prototype, later known as TI-Nspire CAS+, with the serial number P1-EVT1-B-0118 was used for Engineering Validation Tests (EVT - learn more about the Five Engineering Stages). At first glance does it look very similiar to the final TI-Nspire CAS device, but we observe some differences with the TI-Nspire CAS introduced in July 2007:

The color scheme is completely different
The cursor control makes use of inner and outer keys
Some function keys have different positions

Please notice that the evaluation of the Phoenix 1 led to multiple generations of TI-Nspire CAS+ Prototypes with different designs and color schemes and keyboard layout. Interesting to learn that these samples were labeled TI-Nspire CAS+ but still sported the "Phoenix" project name on the printed circuit boards (PCB's). Please notice this press release dated May 12, 2006 announcing the New Zealand introduction of the TI-nspire™ CAS+.

Architecture: Dismantling this Phoenix 1 prototype reveals an internal design somewhere between the PLT-SHH1 prototype based on the sophisticated POMAP1509E and the ZEVIO architecture of the final TI-Nspire CAS.

Processor: The OMAP™ processor of the Phoenix 1 prototype is labeled TI-OMAP NP31AZZG. We assume that this tiny chip is actually a System-on-Chip based on the OMAP5912 architecture from Texas Instruments hosting a ARM9 32-bit RISC processor clocked at 78 MHz and a TMS320C55xx Digital Signal Proecessor core. 

Memory: The Phoenix 1 prototype makes use of three different memory chips:


The disassembled Phoenix 1 prototype (Manufactured February 2006) features one SST 39VF400A NOR Flash-ROM, manufactured by Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. with a 256k*16 organization and one ST NAND256W3A NAND Flash-ROM with 32M Bytes size.

The program and data memory of the disassembled Phoenix 1 consists of one Qimonda HYB18L256160 SDRAM with 16M*16 size.

Please notice that all three memory chips are almost identical with the parts located in the released TI-Nspire CAS with the April 2007 manufacturing date. The only difference is the supply voltage, it was lowered from 3.3 volts to 1.8 volts.

Display: The Phoenix 1 uses a high-contrast display with a resolution of 240 * 320 pixels, a huge improvement over the TI-89 Titanium with 100 * 160 pixels or the Voyage 200 with 128 * 240 pixels. The large 16-level greyscale displays includes a novel split screen capability with up to 4 views.

The driver circuit of the LC-Display is compromised of 2 column driver and one row driver manufactured by Novatek, Taiwan. We located a NT7702H row-driver as bare chip mounted on a flexible piece of circuit board attached between the display and a PCB and two unknown column drivers. 


Phoenix 1 (Engineering Validation Tests P1-EVT1-B-0118)

U-Boot 1.1.2 (January 23, 2006)
Phoenix Built (February 14, 2006)
System Built (February 15, 2006)

Information provided by Xavier Andréani.

Phoenix 1 Computer Link Software for Windows


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© Joerg Woerner, January 4, 2012. No reprints without written permission.