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Nvidia signs Hybrid Graphics to help speed 3D phone graphics

Posted: 14 Nov 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nvidia? hybrid graphics? 3d phone?

Nvidia Corp. has partnered with Hybrid Graphics, a Finnish-based embedded 3D graphics software provider, to help speed Java-based 3D graphics applications on Nvidia's graphics processing chip designed for mobile phones.

By partnering with Hybrid Graphics (Helsinki) to write a Java Specification Request (JSR) drivers optimized for Nvidia's GoForce GPU family, the U.S. company hopes to attract more handset vendors to use its mobile phone graphics chips.

The deal between the two companies will help build an infrastructure for higher performance hardware-accelerated 3D graphics content available for mobile handsets, said Brian Bruning, director of embedded content at Nvidia (Santa Clara, Calif.).

Under the partnership, Nvidia will offer handset OEMS "a one-stop solution for a full suite of optimized high- and low-level 2D/3D graphics APIs to their developer community," the company said. The APIs include support for graphics hardware acceleration, 3D and 2D scalable vector graphics and implementations of all native and Java graphics APIs running on Nvidia GoForce GPUs.

Prior to Hybrid Graphics deal, Nvidia's mobile graphics chips have been getting a boost from drivers written by other embedded 3D graphics software vendors. For example, Nividia's W900 GPU, designed into SonyEricsson's recently announced 3G (UMTS) triband Walkman phone, used 3D graphics software developed by Japan-based HI Corp. Similarly, Nvidia's graphics chip used to power Motorola's V3x RAZR cellphone uses embedded 3D graphics software developed by U.K.-based Superscape.

With the latest agreement, Nvidia is promising faster performance for Java-based 3D graphics content on its own graphics chips.

While declining to quantify the 3D acceleration speed provided by Hybrid's software because it has not been tested it in real-life applications, Bruning said, "We expect substantially faster performance." He added that Hybrid is "experienced in writing extremely efficient code paths," and called the company "a very smart team focused on hardware acceleration."

Smart phones that use open operating systems can run 3D graphics applications faster by using OpenGL ES (OpenGL for Embedded Systems), a cross-platform API which creates a flexible, low-level interface between software and graphics acceleration.

In contrast, a majority of mobile phones based on proprietary operating systems depend on Java Virtual Machine software to run Java-based 3D graphics content. In order for Java 3D graphics applications to leverage powerful graphics hardware, mobile phones need a JSR driver that can communicate with an OpenGL ES driver. Companies such as HI, Superscape and Hybrid Graphics have been all playing a key role in enabling the translation.

Neil Trevett, Nvidia's vice president of embedded content, said the deal "marks the introduction of this industry's first truly integrated JSR/Graphics Processing Unit solution."

Until now, OEMs have typically purchased graphics chips and high-level software from different vendors. By integrating Hybrid's high-level mobile 3D graphics over OpenGLES drivers for its graphics chips, Nvidia can help OEMs reduce time-to market for hardware while providing content developers with an optimized platform that simplifies the development process for Java/Open GL ES-based mobile content, it claimed.

Hybrid Graphics has cut similar deals with ARM Ltd and Texas Instruments Inc.

Mobile phone vendors are working on handsets capable of 3D hardware acceleration, using Hybrid Graphics embedded 3D graphics software on NVidia's graphics processor, Bruning said.

- Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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