Electronic Design

Setting The Standard In Mobile Devices

Mobile device manufacturers juggle multiple standards to give their products broad appeal.

Yannick Levy, CEO of French IC manufacturer DiBcom, said that his company was one of the first to offer a chip to receive and demodulate DVB-H video. DiBcom's DIB7000-H works with almost any RF tuner and provides all the other receiver functions for TV on cell phones. Levy also says that mobile TV is popular in cars in Europe and Japan.

Japan uses the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) mobile TV standard, while Korea uses its own Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) standard. Levy points out that while the U.S. has its new Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC) digital standard, it is not likely to be used for mobile purposes. DVB-H will no doubt be the most widely accepted standard.

A newcomer, Newport Media, has introduced a system-on-a-chip (SoC) that significantly reduces the size, cost, and power requirements for adding digital TV to mobile handsets. It's also compatible with all of the popular global mobile TV standards, including DVB-H, DMB, ISDB-T, and MediaFLO.

NEC Electronics' uPD9910 audio processor combines a CPU and a DSP dedicated to music playback. It incorporates an SD Memory Card interface and supports the Content Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM) copyright protection technology. The device allows up to 50 hours of continuous music playback using a battery with the same capacity as current batteries, providing a tenfold increase.

Philips Semiconductor's PTN3700 is a special serial link IC that allows simplified connections between the ICs in one half of a video phone and the LCD in the other half (see the figure) . As these displays get bigger, a greater number of parallel lines must be run from one side of a clamshell design to the other. A full-color LCD screen requires up to 27 lines. Dhwani Vyas, general manager of the interface products group at Philips, said that the PTN3700 serializer/deserializer device reduces those 27 pins down to as few as four lines.

Vyas also touts the values of the Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance (MIPI). Its mission is to speed the development and deployment of new mobile services by establishing specifications for standard hardware and software interfaces to mobile application processors. It also encourages the adoption of those standards throughout the industry.

Forthcoming standards will target applications processors, including cameras, displays, and communications chips. Those interfaces currently are mostly proprietary, and standardization will lead to more compatible chips and software. Check out the group's progress at www.mipi.org.

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