Dual processor handsets are way forward

ALTHOUGH THE company’s focus is still very much on AIBs (Add-In Boards), ATI is gradually recognising that it could grow its revenues from other areas – especially the cellular sector.

That’s why Dave Orton, ATI’s renowned CEO, took the time out to explain to the INQ the merits of integrating its chips into smartphones. Multimedia co-processors are the way to go, Orton insists.

The amount of time it takes to integrate new multimedia capabilities puts single processor devices at a disadvantage. Especially when it comes to time to market for new mobile phones, according to Orton.

Dave Orton claims that’s why Microsoft and Qualcomm recently announced a collaboration programme whereby the two companies would work together to speed the integration of Microsoft’s Windows 5.0 platform into Qualcomm’s dedicated handset processors , its Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chips.

ATI’s co-processors are already designed to work with the main mobile phone platforms: – Windows Mobile, Symbian and Linux as well as Qualcomm’s Brew. Orton says the dual processor approach isn’t costly either. The relevant chips have a build cost of between $3 and $3.50.

With a dedicated graphics co-processor, Orton insists, the amount of power the handset consumes actually goes down. That’s because when the handset’s multimedia applications aren’t required, the chip just goes into standby mode.

By contrast if all the functions are done in software on a single processor then there’s no opportunity for the processor to go into standby mode.

In terms of future handset offerings – where power consumption is a major factor – Orton sees ATI’s products dropping below 1.0V to 0.9V and even 0.8V. “Where also not very far off having a Gigahertz processor inside a cellphone, either,” Orton predicted.

News source: THEINQUIRER


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