Wireless Systems Design

Multimedia Applications Gain Speed

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The evolution of the mobile-phone market has been slowed by the current economy. As a result, it seems that all sectors of the industry are suffering. Carriers cannot roll out new services as quickly as they predicted. Manufacturers can't count on a profit. And research and development is being cut across the board. As a result, many new applications aren't making it into 2.5G and 3G phones. Now, the growth of those applications is being nurtured by Royal Philips Electronics (www.semiconductors.philips.com) and Sasken Communication Technologies Limited (www.sasken.com).

These companies recently teamed up to fortify entertainment, advanced messaging, and video applications for 2.5G and 3G mobile phones (see figure). According to the agreement, Philips' Nexperia multimedia semiconductor baseband will be complemented by Sasken's software offering and engineering support. Specifically, Sasken's 2.5G software protocol stack will run on the Nexperia PCF5213 family. That protocol stack also will run on new generations of 2.5G and 3G application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

For 2.5G and 3G module and terminal manufacturers, this arrangement should provide application-specific solutions. It also will speed up time-to-market for mobile multimedia devices while reducing investments in research and development.

Handset manufacturers also benefit. They should now be able to serve a wider customer portfolio and introduce advanced applications, including audio and video streaming, MP3 and polyphonic melody generation, and multimedia messaging services (MMS).

The growth of this segment can be witnessed in these new applications. Text communication is beginning its transformation into audio and/or visual communication. Photographs, graphics, music, and video also are taking their first steps into the market. Yes, the mobile multimedia market has been delayed. But it's now being spurred on through industry efforts.

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