Wireless Systems Design

Multimedia Technology Charms Handset Industry

Remaining competitive in these tough economic times can be a challenge. It's even more difficult to thrive against other major players. Yet somehow, the Santa Clara, California-based Nazomi Comm. seems to have succeeded on both of these fronts. At the heart of this company's success is its multimedia coprocessor technology. This technology is now being adopted by many of the world's largest phone carriers and suppliers. Sharp, for example, signed on this past June. Recently, the Korean-based SK Telecom joined it. SK Telecom has even mandated that all of its development partners include Nazomi's technology. They must integrate it into any cell phone that's going to feature SK Telecom's service.

Nazomi's technology will be used to increase the performance of SK Telecom's GIGA Platform. This platform is actually a cell-phone specification standard for all of the cell phones that feature the company's service. SK Telecom promotes this next-generation mobile-phone project. Its goal is to build an environment from which users are able to download and play mobile rich media with an acceleration chip.

To encourage a mobile-Internet market, SK Telecom, handset manufacturers, chip manufacturers, solution providers, and content providers are all participating in the GIGA project. As a result, GIGA phones should be able to significantly enhance the performance of applications. At the same time, they will dramatically increase multimedia performance while reducing power consumption. They vow to provide a 5X-to-6X graphic-processing performance improvement over general off-the-shelf cell phones.

Powering this project is Nazomi's multimedia coprocessor technology, which is embedded into its JA108 multimedia coprocessor chip. This device works by accelerating a cell phone's two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation, video and Flash animation gaming, and Java and other multimedia platforms.

Essentially, the JA108 relieves the baseband processor from having to execute performance-demanding multimedia applications. Offloading this task doesn't require any additional memory, tools, or porting efforts. The chip, which interfaces like a standard SRAM device, is a standalone application processor for Java and other multimedia platforms. Using the memory bus, it can be easily integrated into new and existing designs. It is available in an 8-×-8-mm, 132-ball TFBGA 0.5-mil pitch configuration. It also comes in a 9-×-14-mm, 123-ball TFBGA 0.5-mil pitch configuration. The chip's space-saving multichip package stacks JA108 die with 128 Mb of Flash and 32 Mb of SRAM devices.

By implementing this technology, carriers and device manufacturers like SK Telecom should be well equipped to deliver multimedia capabilities to consumers. Initially, features like a camera, color screen, and multi-poly sound will only be available in multifunctional, high-end phones. As such features gain a foothold in the marketplace, however, they are certain to trickle down to the mainstream consumer. For more details on this partnership, visit the companies' Web sites at www.sktelecom.com and www.nazomi.com.

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TAGS: Mobile
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