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Fujitsu upgrades mobile gadgets with new media processors

Posted: 30 Mar 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fujitsu microelectronics asia? application processor? mobile media processor? mmp? mb86v00?

With cellphones and PDAs reaching new thresholds of convergence, Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia Pte Ltd answers the call by launching two mobile media processors (MMPs) for handheld devices-the MB86V00 & MB86V01.

Built using Fujitsu's low-leakage 0.18-micron CMOS process, they are housed in 289-pin FBGA packages. The media processors will be available in sample quantities next month and mass production of both MB86V00 and MB86V01 will start in September.

Two camera ports

The new MMPs--MB86V00 & MB86V01--incorporate MPEG-4 and JPEG hardware encoding and decoding functionality and include 2D/3D graphics accelerators with a 24bpp display controller. Two camera modules, up to 2Mpixel, can be attached to MMPs simultaneously, with one active at a time. The media processors support both CCD and CMOS image sensors with YUV interface.

"The mobile media processor combines graphics processing with MPEG-4 and JPEG hardware compression in a single chip, enabling high-quality images to be delivered to small-form-factor displays," said Rick Wong, Deputy Marketing Director, System LSIs Products, Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia. "So the MMPs are able to meet the complex and intensive processing required for video and graphics in mobile products, with a minimum of power."

Moreover, they have the ability to interface with two LCDs, enabling users to display multiple images simultaneously on two separate screens. That allows features like three-window display and mix of multiple visual images using alpha blending (transparency). The devices also provide hardware support for image scaling and rotation.

The devices feature a flexible CPU interface that enables easy connection to existing baseband or application processors. "Adding one of these MMPs to the central processor typically found in handheld devices enables the device to handle sophisticated graphics with ultra-low power consumption," said Michael Shih, VP, Sales and Marketing for Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia. "With the proliferation of features in mobile phones and PDAs, there is a growing need for a specialized application processor to handle multimedia functions without sacrificing battery life."

How it works

When mounted in a 3G cellphone, the MMP captures images through one of the two camera ports and then compresses the images using JPEG for still shots, or MPEG-4 for moving pictures. The processor will also render 2D graphics for maps, or 3D graphics for games and other forms of animation. The MMP incorporates two LCD interfaces, so images can be displayed on either one or two LCD screens.

To ensure that all these functions perform optimally and do not interfere with each other, Fujitsu is offering OS-independent driver software equipped with host processor support code. The software performs power-management operations by monitoring I/O and macro block activity, and determines when to throttle the various clock domains up or down.

To eliminate the need for external memory, the MB86V00 device incorporates 64Mbits of SDRAM as a system-in-package. To minimise power requirements, sophisticated clock-gating techniques shut down logical functions when they are not needed or not in use. The advanced power management hardware is managed by Fujitsu's firmware, which monitors various chip activities and throttles the clocks accordingly.

Not so long ago, cellphones were seen as simple communication tools limited to voice calls and short messages. As mobile devices become diverse in terms of features and functionality, handset manufacturers are starting to be on the lookout for new applications processors.

A stream of new media processors, such as Fujitsu's MB86V00 & MB86V01, will prove the agent of this multimedia thrust now blooming in the wireless and portable electronics segments.

- Rey Buan Jr.

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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