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IP cores gear for competing standards

Posted: 16 Jan 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IP core? intellectual property? mobile display digital interface? MDDI? Mobile Industry Processor Interface?

Playing both sides of the serial-interface fence for multimedia handsets, Mixel Inc. is taking the wraps off what it is calling a "silicon-proven" IP core for the Mobile Display Digital Interface (MDDI) standard. The company is also developing a core for the rival Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) standard.

The company's newly available MXL-TXRX-MDDI core is a client transceiver geared for use in cellphones based on the CDMA interface standard, said Ashraf Takla, president and chief executive for Mixel, a semiconductor IP specialist.

Based on 0.18?m technology, the IP core enables the bidirectional transfer of A/V and control signals between the host processor and display terminal in a handset, Takla said. "The solution is the first silicon-proven IP available to SoC designers that meets VESA open-standard specifications" he said, referring to the Video Electronics Standards Association.

MDDI, a technology developed and backed by Qualcomm Inc., defines the serial-interface interconnect and speeds in a clamshell-style handset at variable data rates of up to 3.2Gbps. The solution lowers overall system costs by decreasing the number of signals that connect the digital baseband controller with the LCD and camera from as many as 90 to as few as eight pins plus power.

Advanced features
Use of MDDI makes it possible for a handset to adopt advanced features, such as high-definition quarter-VGA LCDs and high-resolution megapixel cameras, according to Qualcomm.

A competing interface, MIPI, is backed by an industry alliance. Founded by ARM, Nokia, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments, the MIPI Alliance is intended to complement existing standards bodies such as the Open Mobile Alliance.

Even as it ships its MDDI product, Mixel is working on an IP core for the emerging MIPI technology, said Takla. "We're starting to work on a MIPI solution," he said. "It complements what we're doing with MDDI."

Fabless semiconductor giant Qualcomm is shipping a cellphone chipset that includes MDDI technology, which is geared for the "host" portion of the handset design. Mixel's IP core, which works in conjunction with Qualcomm's chipsets, is aimed for the client side, Takla said.

The current MDDI solutions for the client side are proprietary. Mixel's merchant core enables OEMs to bring a low-cost product to market in a timely fashion, Takla said. This low-power, LVDS transceiver supports a bidirectional, half-duplex link.

The IP core consists of separate clock, data and hibernation receiver blocks. The data and clock receivers are transmitted on two separate channels. The receiver inputs support data rates of up to 450Mbps, with wide tolerances as a means to input common-mode voltages, according to the company. The hibernation receiver provides a high-threshold, low-power capability and reduces standby power consumption.

The MXL-TXRX-MDDI is currently available in TSMC's 0.18?m, low-power digital CMOS technology.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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