Budget Phones Get a Multimedia Boost

Two new highly integrated, baseband processors enable multimedia functions in low-cost GSM/GPRS cellular phones. Developed by Analog Devices, the SoftFone AD6721 reduces the cost and component count of entry-level multimedia phones. Meanwhile, the SoftFone AD6722 features an integrated image signal processor (ISP) for cameras up to three megapixels and a direct camera interface to eliminate the need for a separate camera coprocessor. Both of these devices are based on Analog Device’s RAM-based SoftFone architecture.

“Multimedia functionality is no longer reserved for only highend, expensive cellular phones,” says Christian Kermarrec, ADI’s vice president of RF and Wireless Systems. “Lower-end handsets are also expected to have camera-phone capabilities, MP3 and AAC audio playback for both ringtones and full-track music files. However, handset manufacturers have been limited in their cost-reduction plans by the cost of multimedia coprocessors that have generally been needed in phones with these capabilities.”

The SoftFone AD6721 (Atlas- 2H) and AD6722 (Dione) multimedia baseband processors leverage ADI’s DSP technology and an ARM7 TDMI microcontroller to perform both the communications and audio/video signal processing tasks in mediarich handsets.

The AD6722, manufactured in a 90nm process, includes an integrated ISP and direct interface to cameras (up to 3Mpixels) and QVGA displays. The ISP, which provides JPEG encoding and decoding, colour conversion, auto-focus sharpness measurement, scaling, and overlay control functions, eliminates the need for camera coprocessors and therefore lowers the cost of low-cost multimedia phones.

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