Addressing the expected growth in video-enabled cellular handsets and PDAs, DSP Group Inc. has formed a partnership that enables it to offer a licensable MPEG-4 solution.
At the Embedded Systems Conference in Germany last week, the company demonstrated its PalmDSP core combined with an MPEG-4 software codec from Meicom Technologies Ltd., thus providing a fully licensable solution for 2.5G and 3G cell phones, according to Bat-Sheva Ovadia, vice president of marketing and business development at DSP Group.
DSP Group specializes in DSP cores and Meicom in image- and video-processing software. Both companies are based in Herzelia, Israel.
"This implementation is completed purely in software, and there are no accelerators or extra gates needed," Ovadia said. "We now provide companies who target the emerging mobile multimedia market with a complete MPEG-4-quality streaming video solution with significant reductions in power consumption."
DSP G roup trails only Texas Instruments Inc. in terms of DSP architecture used in cellular handsets. According to Forward Concepts Co., DSP Group had a market share of nearly 20% in 2000 and 15% in 2001, losing share to Qualcomm Inc. MPEG-4 is expected to be the most popular video standard for handsets in a market that will grow significantly, said Will Strauss, an analyst at Forward Concepts in Tempe, Ariz.
Strauss estimates that video-camera-enabled cell phones will grow at a 266% annual rate over the next five years, from less than 200,000 units shipped last year to about 125 million units in 2006.
"An MPEG-4 solution that is implemented only in software is usually the most cost-effective and can be easily ported among different products without requiring algorithm accelerators," he said.
DSP Group's PalmDSP is a dual-MAC parallel architecture with seven computational units providing both SIMD and MIMD operations. The core has a variable 16- or 32-bit instruction width. Additional integratable feat ures include streaming audio such as MP3 and AAC, speech coders, voice recognition, and a baseband processor.
Meicom's MPEG-4 software provides both encoder and decoder functionality to process and stream video images.
"Considering the importance of quality for streaming media, our solution for efficient processing of MPEG-4 data has been enhanced by using DSP Group's technology," said Miri Eitan, Meicom's chief executive, in a statement.
The PalmDSP with MPEG-4 is now available for licensing.