Rumours began circulating back in September that Texas Instruments would begin winding down their OMAP operations as it pertains to producing ARM SoCs targeting smartphones and tablets, in order to put more emphasis on embedded devices where they have more power to succeed compared to the extremely competitive smartphone/tablet market. There have also been rumours that Amazon might even acquire TI's OMAP division since they have the resources to do so, they already use OMAP4 chips within their Kindle tablets, and would put them at a greater competitive advantage over some of the other tablet vendors.
With the future of the TI OMAP called into question, some have also had to question the fate of their forthcoming OMAP5. The OMAP5 is based on a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 design with these two high-performance cores operating at 2GHz. For less demanding workloads, the two Cortex-A15 cores are accompanied by two lower-end Cortex-M4 cores. The fifth generation OMAP also packs two PowerVR SGX544MP graphics cores and a dedicated 2D graphics accelerator.
Assuming no major changes in the OMAP plans, OMAP5 hardware should begin surfacing by the end of the calendar year. (For those wondering, I have heard that there should be an updated "PandaBoard" for the OMAP5; it should be exciting!) And while some are questioning the OMAP's future, the TI Linux developers continue work on the OMAP5 enablement in a feisty manner.
Patches continue to flow out of Texas Instruments for upping the OMAP5 Linux kernel support. Just yesterday was a new OMAP5 kernel patch-set from a TI developer. If looking on the linux-omap mailing list, it also remains very active with no sign of any slowdown in patch submission.
Here's to hoping that Linux-friendly OMAP5 hardware will begin appearing soon... The OMAP5430 and OMAP5432 should really be a nice upgrade over the existing OMAP4 and should be really interesting to get the SoCs in a new open-friendly development board with likely Linaro/Ubuntu support.