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Dialog Semi eyes LCD driver market

Posted: 25 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:dialog semiconductor? lcd driver? optrex? ntt docomo? mla device?

Targeting the deepening ranks of Asian handset makers, Dialog Semiconductor is jumping into the fray for LCD drivers on color phones, a fast-growing segment in countries like China and the dominant choice of Japanese and Korean consumers.

The company indicated earlier this year that it would make color drivers based on multiline addressing (MLA) LCD technology, licensed from Japan's Optrex Corp. and originally developed for NTT Docomo's i-mode handsets. The technology helps boost response time in small-sized LCDs, enabling speeds faster than 15 frames per second, while maintaining a low power profile.

Dialog is introducing two MLA devices, the DA8912A and DA8913A, which integrate graphics RAM and high speed interfaces along with power management functions into a single chip.

Dialog said the MLA technology also helped it improve contrast and reduce noise on handset displays.

Dialog is also one of the first companies to use one-time programmable nonvolatile memory technology from eMemory Technology, Inc., a Taiwanese firm aligned with Powerchip Semiconductor, one of its main investors. The novel cell structure has the characteristics of EPROM - used to store program data code - but uses a simple, logic-based process that is more easily ported from fab to fab. Unlike ROM, the memory's programming flexibility allows for coding before or after processing.

Chartered Semiconconductor, where Dialog is making the chips, uses the technology on its 0.35?m process.

The devices are designed to drive STN displays with a maximum size of 132 columns by 132 rows (DA8912A) or 96 columns by 96 rows (DA8913A), the company said, and support resolutions of either 4,096 or 65,536 colors. The DA8912A includes programmable on-chip temperature compensation to help fine-tune display quality.

The chips also support both display scrolling and partial display capability with data written into the RAM by a user-configurable microprocessor unit interface. Other features include a high-speed serial or 8/16 bit parallel interface for graphic data transfers or rewriting of data to the graphic display RAM; a pointer management system which automatically increments or decrements the RAM pointer after each access, allowing data to be streamed into RAM without having to manipulate any address pointers; and programmable color enhancement for tailoring the RGB output.

The devices operate down to 2.4V, but can surge to 21V via programmable voltage booster circuits.

Dialog said typical power consumption is 0.5mA, including display load, for the DA8913A 96 x 96 graphic CSTN LCD display driver; the DA8912A 132 x 132 driver has a typical power consumption of 0.9mA. Standby consumption is 101/4A for both devices, which are already shipping.

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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