11th January 2001

Multimedia and connectivity technologies transforming much wider markets than just smartphones, says Imagination

Smart technologies powering smart devices is key


International CES, Las Vegas, USA: Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications
technologies company, says that it believes three key trends will transform the
consumer electronics industry and also drive many new vital emerging markets in
the next few years. These trends are:

1. GPU gaining ground:  GPU’s relevance to key modern applications
and its efficiency in carrying important functions are driving SoC designers to
use more GPU resources as a proportion of SoC silicon area. High performance,
ultra-low power GPUs (graphics processing units) that are best known for
powering the user interfaces and games in smartphones today will become the
‘heavy lifting’ processors of tomorrow’s SoCs. GPUs will become vastly more
powerful thanks to their scalable parallel processing capabilities, triggering
a mass market parallel software revolution. GPUs will increasingly be complemented
by highly optimised VPUs (video processing units) to deliver multiple streams
of multi-standard HD video within a graphics-rich application environment,
taking the user experience to another level of sophistication, quality and ease
of use.

2. On-chip RPUs: highly programmable
communication capabilities, built using RPUs (radio processing unit) that
support a broad range of major global connectivity and broadcast receiver
standards, will be essential for the next wave of integration. RPUs will increasingly
become integrated on-chip, just as Imagination predicted would happen for GPUs
more than ten years ago, to achieve the high performance, low cost, low power
consumption characteristics that consumer and emerging markets will expect as
standard.

3. Connected products have just
begun: connectivity to the internet will become a ’must-have’ feature resulting
in billions of new connected products across every category of consumer entertainment
and productivity product, as well as an emerging array of broader products from
consumer healthcare equipment to home automation systems.

Says Tony King-Smith, VP marketing,
Imagination: “Our business is focused on enabling new markets as well as taking
full advantage of discontinuities in the evolution of more established and
familiar product categories. Our PowerVR GPU and VPU (video processor)
technologies continue to enable profound transformations in user experiences in
an ever broader array of consumer and mobile products, resulting in consumers
now expecting these same user experiences on every device they use.

“Given our experience in these
markets, and our strategic relationships with many of the world’s leading
semiconductor, end product, content, applications and internet technology
companies, we are increasingly confident that our Ensigma RPU communications IP
cores, complemented by our Meta connected processors and Flow connectivity
technologies, are destined to increasingly power the next wave of ubiquitous
cloud-connected smart devices and systems throughout the home, car, office and
factory, as well as enabling innovative new mobile and embedded products that
touch everyone’s lives.”

GPUs are transforming the future of processing as well as graphics

Imagination made its name as a leader
in the development of underlying multimedia and communications technologies now
found in many of today’s most innovative products. More than ten years ago key
engineers in Imagination saw the emerging trend to integrate high performance
graphics and video on-chip alongside CPU, memory and other key functions to
enable SoCs (systems on chip). As a result of that vision, its PowerVR GPU
technology for OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenCL, DirectX and other APIs is the de
facto standard in embedded and mobile with over 600m devices shipped, while its
PowerVR VPU video decoders and encoders are at the heart of more than 200m
devices.

Having seen the revolution in user
experiences in mobile thanks to the processing power of GPUs, consumers now
expect that same experience everywhere – from TVs and hi-fi equipment to any
device they interact with.

However, the GPU revolution has
barely started. Over the next few years, the rise in available GPU processing
power will transform much more than the user interfaces and gaming experiences
of hundreds of millions of phones and tablets. The emergence of general-purpose
GPU computing (GPGPU) will result in sophisticated algorithms, previously
considered to be the sole domain of high end computers, starting to find their
way into consumer products – running on the same GPUs already used for these
rich GPU-based user experiences. Since a GPU is a truly parallel processor,
performance scales efficiently with advances in silicon processes, and becomes
significantly more powerful the more execution units are added. This means that
at last the parallel software revolution can begin, thanks to the enormous
installed base of suitable GPUs that are now starting to proliferate in the market,
combined with the emergence of industry standards such as Khronos Group’s
OpenCL and Google’s Renderscript to program them.

Imagination’s new generation PowerVR
Rogue graphics architecture, which is at the heart of the new PowerVR Series6
GPU core family, has already been adopted by many of the world’s leading
players, and will spearhead this transformation across many markets by
delivering exceptional performance per mm2 and per mW. These new generation
PowerVR GPUs will bring supercomputer class parallel processing to the mobile
and consumer world, as well as stunning next generation graphics.

As consumer devices become more
multimedia-rich, support of multiple streams of video in the most
bandwidth-efficient and power-efficient manner is key to delivering next
generation user experiences. Imagination sees highly optimised integration of
VPU and GPU as key to delivering what consumers want, as without such
optimisation far too much system bandwidth and memory is lost with unnecessary
data movement, buffering and copying of video. Indeed, Imagination believes the
most successful SoCs will be those that optimise GPU and VPU as a tightly
coupled unit.

SoC Integration of high performance GPUs and RPUs is Unstoppable

More than ten years ago, Imagination
forecast that on-chip GPUs alongside CPUs would become the norm. Today, that
forecast has become reality. However, the relentless demand for lower cost and
power while increasing performance and functionality means that the next
logical step is to integrate not only the graphics and video on-chip, but the
communications too. SoCs must be sold in high volume to be commercially viable,
which has historically meant that communications has remained off-chip due to
the proliferation of regional standards.

However, thanks to multi-standard,
multi-stream solutions such as Imagination’s Ensigma Series3 RPU, SoC designers
can now integrate many of the communications functions they need, and configure
it to any target market by software. In the same way that integrating GPUs and
VPUs (video processors) on-chip is enabling multimedia everywhere, so the next
wave of integration is now arriving thanks to the RPU.

Imagination has been designing SoC
solutions for its partners for many years, enabling it to help its partners
create total SoC solutions a growing set of target markets. The Toumaz TZ1090
‘Xenif’ SoC used on the MetaFlow ‘Minimorph’ reference platform is a recent
example of what is possible.

Connecting Processors and Products to the Cloud drives ‘The Internet of
Everything’

The rise of Cloud technologies is
creating exciting new markets and discontinuities in existing ones as all
devices evolve to take advantage of connectivity. New applications in healthcare,
home automation, security, smart energy and elsewhere will all increasingly
follow the trend of computing and smart phones, and begin taking advantage of
significantly enhanced functionality enabled by Cloud connectivity. And as
consumers continue to embrace their world in the Cloud, so everything from cars
to toasters will need to become connected.

However, deploying Cloud connectivity
is far more complex than simply having a Wi-Fi port on a device. The services
and infrastructure needed to ensure any connected products deliver everything
expected by today’s smartphone-equipped consumer are complex and broad.
Bringing together everything needed to make these products ‘just work’ is a
challenge for all but the biggest engineering teams.

Imagination is unique in delivering
many of the underlying technologies needed to make these connected smart
systems happen. From its Ensigma communications RPU (radio processor) IP to
enable ubiquitous connectivity, to its Meta connected processors, Flow technologies
and FlowWorld portal, Imagination is creating a comprehensive technology
infrastructure from the device to the Cloud for anyone contemplating creating a
Cloud-connected product. By delivering this unique ‘shrink-wrapped’
connectivity technology portfolio, together with a growing ecosystem of Cloud
services providers, Imagination will enable engineering teams to create a broad
range of tomorrow’s connected solutions for a global market. The Ensigma RPU’s
implementations of more than 20 standards, with more to come, including every
major HD and SD TV as well as radio broadcast receiver standard, together with
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v3.0 connectivity standard today, will enable
truly global next generation connected smart devices.

Imagination’s platform solutions also
include the highly integrated MetaFlow family of connected processor reference
platforms, being demonstrated publicly at CES this week.
Based on SoCs built from Imagination’s Meta processor IP and Ensigma RPU
communications IP families, these complete systems, incorporating Flow
technologies, enable systems designers to develop the next generation of
connected products and solutions, with the backing of our growing portfolio of
Cloud-based services from both Imagination and its partners.

Other technologies disrupting markets from Imagination

Imagination will also be
demonstrating technologies at International CES 2012 that will be driving other
key industry trends including:

·      
Ray-tracing technologies for cinematic-quality
interactive graphics. Thanks to its innovative new ray tracing technologies,
Imagination and its professional graphics group Caustic Professional will be
bringing a series of innovative new products to market throughout 2012,
initially targeting professional CAD markets as well as advanced game asset
development and the creative media industries. Imagination will ultimately
bring these technologies to the mobile and embedded device market as part of
future generations of its PowerVR GPU IP cores

·      
VoLTE (voice over LTE) and V.VoIP (video and voice
over IP) technologies that will transform how voice and video calls are made as
IP replaces circuit-switched call technologies. Imagination and its telecoms
technology group HelloSoft V.VoIP continue to expand its unique portfolio of
VoLTE and V.VoIP voice and video SDKs, delivering a consistent cross-platform
carrier-grade experience across every major mobile and consumer platform

See Imagination

Imagination’s technology is shipped
in devices from many of the world’s leading brands, with well over half a
billion products incorporating Imagination’s technologies shipped. Imagination’s
licensees include many of the world’s leading semiconductor and OEM companies.

Imagination will be demonstrating its
latest IP technologies for mobile phone multimedia and communications, handheld
multimedia, home consumer, mobile computing and in-car electronics at leading
industry events world-wide in 2011 and 2012, including:

CES 2012, Las Vegas, USA, January
10-13 2012

MWC 2012, Barcelona, Spain, February
27-March 1 2012

GDC 2012, San Francisco, USA, March
7-9 2012

ESC Silicon Valley 2012, San Jose,
USA, March 27-29 2012

Future World Symposium 2012, London,
UK, April 24-25 2012

Eurographics 2012, Sardinia, Italy,
UK, May 13-18 2012

Siggraph 2012, Los Angeles, USA,
August 7-9 2012

Follow Imagination at:
www.twitter.com/ImaginationPR
Follow PowerVR Insider at: www.twitter.com/powervrinsider
With Imagination: http://withimagination.imgtec.com
PowerVR Insider at: http://pvrinsider.imgtec.com

About
Imagination Technologies

Imagination
Technologies (LSE:IMG) is a global leader in multimedia and communications
technologies. It creates and licenses market-leading IP (intellectual property)
cores for graphics & video processing; multi-threaded general & DSP
processors; multi-standard communications and connectivity; and video and voice over IP and VoLTE solutions. Target
markets includemobile phones, handheld multimedia, home electronics,
computing, automotive, and emerging markets such as healthcare, security and
smart power.Imagination’s IP is licensed by many leading semiconductor
and consumer electronics companies and supported by extensive developer and
middleware ecosystems.  Imagination has
corporate headquarters in the United Kingdom and offices worldwide. See: www.imgtec.com.


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