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Sigmatel chip targets low-end MP3s

Posted: 31 Aug 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sigmatel? audio decoder? stmp3502?

"There is no way but up," as the famous adage goes, but for Sigmatel Inc., which recently rolled out an audio decoder for entry-level MP3 solutions with FM capability, going up can sometimes mean heading low.

In a bid to capture the low-end of the market, Sigmatel released the STMP3502 audio decoder that boasts of support for MP3 and WMA decode, FM tuner support, USB 2.0 full speed interface, LCD/LED interface and voice record capability. And as with other D-Major STMP35xx family members, the 3502 supports SLC and MLC NAND flash and USB mass storage class. Players using the 3502 can expect to have 20 to 25h of battery life on a single AA battery.

"There are competitors at the low end of the market that are charging a lower price. We didn't want to undermine our STMP3505 and STMP3510 products," said Sigmatel CEO Ron Edgerton. "With the new STMP3502, they can go for the lower end of the market, plus they can go to mid- and high-end with the 3505 and 3510."

With the 3502 completing Sigmatel's lineup, the company believes the customers are the ones to benefit, as they can easily switch the chips without having to worry about the same look and feel across all products.

"The STMP3502 was designed to have power management, audio codec and DSP all in one silicon," added Edgerton. "It provides all the power management on a chip, optimized by a proprietary firmware and software."

"The 3502 is more than a controller chip. It's actually a system-on-chip [SoC], the brains behind MP3 players, flash and hard drive," he said. "You have flash or hard drive for memory, and our chip does everything else in the player."

With this new product, Sigmatel-with 35 percent of total sales coming from China-targets potential Chinese and far-east players of MP3 market space.

Edgerton believes a significant development in the MP3 player market space will happen in the next three years, and China will play a major role. "We expect 40 percent to 50 percent year-on-year global growth in the next three years. China is a rapidly growing market, not only where products are manufactured but also where products are sold."

"The software of the 3502 is perfect for the Chinese market," the CEO said.

Jerico Abila

Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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