Major update: MARKET REPORT: Chipping away at Imagination Technologies [This is Money, Oct 10, 2012]
Smart investors said cheerio to British chip designer Imagination Technologies on increasing competition fears and the close was 47p or 9.35 per cent lower at 455.5p, or 37 per cent below the year’s high.
In the dog-house since its US partner Texas Instruments last month said it was refocusing investment away from the smartphone and tablet market, the shares were yesterday hit by cautious comments from Credit Suisse.
It warned that the threat of rival chip maker ARM Holdings (17p off at 578.5p) is growing and it is increasing its relevance as a competitor in the smartphone and tablet market. The broker went on to say that momentum for Imagination looks negative.
Of its four key customers, Samsung this year moved to ARM graphics, Texas Instruments is exiting the wireless business, and MediaTek, could try ARM graphics in its smartphone chips as it already uses its graphics in feature phones and TV.
The upshot is Credit Suisse rates the stock as underperform and sees 31 per cent downside. Liberum Capital recently advised clients to sell Imagination.
It said the smartphone apps processor market is becoming increasingly dominated by five large players (Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple, Intel and Samsung).
With Imagination only having secured one of these, Apple, for the long run, the risks are on the downside.
The Credit Suisse note, that was published yesterday, is a poor piece of research, containing inaccuracies, omissions and questionable opinions. For whatever reason the analyst was clearly determined to write a negative note and has done so.
However, as is the way, the note has been picked up and Geoff Foster, the Market Reporter of the Daily Mail, in a trite article, leads with it this morning, and quotes the note as follows:
“It said the smartphone apps processor market is becoming increasingly dominated by five large players (Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple, Intel and Samsung). With Imagination only having secured one of these, Apple, for the long run, the risks are on the downside.”
This is both wrong and questionable. All five companies listed are licencees and Apple and Intel are both significant shareholders.
“MediaTek, could try ARM graphics in its smartphone chips as it already uses its graphics in feature phones and TV.“
There is simply no justification for making this statement. MediaTek exclusively use IMG and have paid a significant sum of money to licence the next generation graphics technology from IMG, Series 6 the Rogue. This is just a mischievous remark. Indeed it is ARM who should be concerned as MediaTek have also licenced IMG’s Smart TV technology, this is a market that ARM stand to lose. Furthermore, the note fails to refer to the recent newsflow from MediaTek regarding their production of smartphone chips, which is hugely positive, making them a close second to Apple in the total number of chips shipping.
The statement, in the note, that “Imagination has 100% market share in Apple versus an approximate 33% share in Android” is inaccurate as IMG have publicly claimed to have over 50% of the Android market and this has not been disputed.
It is difficult to believe that the analyst, Justis McEvilly, has ever met the company. On the other hand Peel Hunt were there two weeks ago, the day after the TI news broke and stated “We then spent the morning with Imagination and came away convinced that the market opportunity for the company remains unchanged ….. Within graphics, IMG expects to open up the performance gap with its Series 6 processors, due to be in production in 2013. Longer term, IMG believes its raytracing technology will be significantly ahead – early versions of this were demo’d. Furthermore, GPUs are taking on increasing levels of non-graphics processing and Series 6 is optimised for this.”
There is no references in the note to the superior performance of PowerVR and recent benchmark tests have demonstrated that the graphics in the iPhone5 are three times faster than the competition.
Major update: this was the last glorious article with great and positive outlook published in The Independent of UK before the TI announcement (made on Sept 25 at TI’s investor conference), using the opportunity of iPhone 5 introduction:
Hossein Yassaie: Meet the man with the big Imagination [Sept 21, 2012]
The technology chief played a vital role in developing Apple’s new iPhone5 – but there is a lot more to come, he tells Gideon Spanier
Few FTSE 100 bosses will be keener thanHossein Yassaie to follow today’s launch of Apple’s iPhone5 as it goes on sale in stores in America, Britain and seven other countries. As chief executive of Imagination Technologies, Mr Yassaie has played an integral role in the development of the iPhone, as his company designs the graphic-processor units that help to drive the dynamic display on the screen. And if iPhone5 turns out to be a record-breaker, as expected, Imagination will benefit in royalty revenues.
Just don’t expect the self-effacing, Iranian-born boss of Imagination to talk about it. Over a relaxed lunch in a central London hotel, he politely bats away questions about Apple, his most celebrated client. He won’t even discuss whether he ever met Steve Jobs, although he concedes he enjoyed reading Walter Issacson’s biography of the late Apple founder.
As Imagination’s chief executive for 14 years, Mr Yassaie knows it pays to be discreet, especially when Apple is one of its biggest shareholders, with a stake of almost 9 per cent.
The fact that virtually all his clients demand discretion may be one of the reasons why Imagination isn’t as well known as it should be. Yet this FTSE 250-listed company, with ambitions to join the FTSE 100 in the next few years, is a rare British technology success story.
Revenues rose 30 per cent to £127m last year as Imagination saw an increase in royalties from its chip and graphic designs, with pre-tax profits jumping 74 per cent to £28.5m.
Mr Yassaie is convinced the best is yet to come, especially as graphic-processing technology improves. “There is no limit,” he says. “We still haven’t got to the point where graphics look like reality.”
There are so many other opportunities as “the internet of things” becomes a reality, he explains. Virtually everything in our lives – from the TV set to the car, from central heating to healthcare – is becoming “smart” and connected to the mobile web.
Imagination also owns the digital radio business Pure, which sells sets directly to consumers and gives another insight into our changing behaviour.
Mr Yassaie says his aim for Imagination to enter the FTSE 100 – it is currently about 130th in size – is achievable. Key to that is his ambitious target of one billion in annual shipments of its chip and graphic technology by 2016.
Growth depends in part on the wider macro-environment and Mr Yassaie certainly feels that Britain and, importantly, the Government, doesn’t rate our tech industry as much as it should. “Not everyone gets super- excited about electronics,” he says. “We want people to get involved like they are in art, music and acting. It would be good to have the same thing around technology.
“Most people wouldn’t realise the huge number of companies that are shipping products with British technology – it’s good to make that known,” he adds, referring not only to Imagination but other companies such as FTSE 100 chip designer Arm.
For Mr Yassaie, government can help both in terms of the economy and the wider eco-system. “I’m a great believer in reducing the deficit,” he says. “But I would certainly expect that once the recession is under control that there is more needed from the Government. Within the constraints that they have, they’re doing quite a lot, but I’ll always be asking for more.” Taper tax relief for staff who hold shares in Imagination for the long term is top of his wish list.
Britain should also do much more to encourage young people to study computer science and electronics. Imagination, based in Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, looks to hire at least 100 graduate trainees a year so he wants UK universities to do more to produce world-class talent. “These guys need to be the best in the industry,” says Mr Yassaie, whose company employs more than 1,200 in offices including Bristol, Chepstow and Leeds as well as overseas.
It’s not only government and schools but also parents that have a role to play: “I’d like to see kids being told by their parents that technology is cool and that they should go to university.”
Mr Yassaie emphasises that he feels his own training – he studied electronic and electrical engineering at the University of Birmingham and has a PhD – was crucial. He thinks it’s “hard” for anyone who doesn’t have a technology background to head a company such as Imagination.
The Imagination boss, who first came from Iran to Britain as an Anglophile student at the age of 18 in 1976, still clearly has the benefit of seeing his adopted country through the eyes of an outsider. He recalls with a smile how he first fell in love with the UK while reading English newspapers. “Everyone was telling me I should go to the US,” he says. “But I just developed this affection for England.”
While he is a great champion of technology, he is also a believer in creativity and ideas. “Artists are very important in this industry – mathematical artists are really what they are.”
The likeable Mr Yassaie also believes Imagination has a duty to be a good corporate citizen, and contrasts that with the behaviour of some other technology firms. “I hate all this tax- dodging nonsense,” he says. “I’m domiciled here. The company is domiciled here. We are a British company so we don’t take any steps to minimise our tax. We like to participate, we like to help universities, we like to see kids getting the right education.”
He thinks the Government should crack down harder on corporate tax avoidance when revenues are diverted overseas: “I’m surprised that with all the clever people in Government they can’t come up with a scheme to beat that. I’m sure I could design a net without any holes.”
Mr Yassaie’s passion for Britain extends to the Olympics which, he says, were even more a triumph than he expected, particularly the opening ceremony. “I always complain the UK should be more proud of its heritage and it was great to see that positivity. All we need to do is take that into every other area,” he says. “Technology will be the force that will help the recovery and that is where the action is.”
The long queues expected outside Apple stores today are proof of that.
Quotes from the post below (as a glimps of the content):
- Update (Jan 12, 2012): … announces the first IP cores in its ground-breaking PowerVR Series6 GPU core family … Based on … the PowerVR Rogue architecture … first PowerVR Series6 cores, the G6200 and G6400, have two and four compute clusters … 20x or more of the performance of current generation GPU cores targeting comparable markets. … enabled by an architecture that is around 5x more efficient … computing performance exceeding 100GFLOPS … and reaching the TFLOPS … range … driven by one of the world’s largest engineering teams dedicated to graphics processor development … PowerVR graphics technologies … over 90 licenses by leading semiconductor companies, … shipped in more than 600m devices to date. PowerVR Series6 … already … eight licensees, …. ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Renesas Electronics and MediaTek. … fully compatible with Series5 and Series5XT PowerVR SGX GPUs …
- Intel and Imagination lead the GPU market because of their dominance in PCs and smartphones, respectively. Combined, the two are projected to comprise 61.3% of the GPU Technology Mobile Serviceable Available Market in 2011. [In-Stat]
- [but Intel Atom SoCs are mainly based on PowerVR — including Tunnel Creek and Stellarton for embedded market (exceptions: only the GMA3150 based ones shown below)]
- PowerVR GPU technology for OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenCL, DirectX and other APIs is the de facto standard in embedded and mobile with over 500m devices shipped and 70% market share. [Imagination Technologies]
- Enrich Your App: Advanced Visual Content & LocationPoint™ Advertising … NAVTEQ® map and content samples, including Enhanced 3D City Models … take full advantage of graphics acceleration using OpenGL ES2 to display 3D map and advanced visual guidance data in graphics-rich applications [via strategic partnership with NAVTEQ, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nokia Corporation]
- The [Nokia] N9 features the TI OMAP3630 core with POWERVR SGX enabling the high performance graphics capabilities of the UI and many applications available.
Update: Imagination announces first PowerVR Series6 GPU cores [Imagination press release, June 10, 2012]
International CES, Las Vegas, USA: Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communication technologies company, announces the first IP cores in its ground-breaking PowerVR Series6 GPU core family.
The PowerVR G6200 and G6400 GPU IP cores are the first in a growing family of PowerVR Series6 GPU cores.
PowerVR Series6 sets a new benchmark for high performance, ultra-low power GPU cores, scalable for markets from mobile and tablet to high end gaming and computing.
The innovative PowerVR Rogue architecture, on which Series6 is based, builds on the maturity and unrivalled success of the previous five generations of PowerVR GPUs. It enables Imagination’s partners to deliver amazing user experiences in devices from innovative ‘natural’ user interfaces to ultra-realistic gaming, as well as enabling new applications never before thought of from advanced content creation and image processing to sophisticated augmented reality and environment-aware solutions.
Based on a scalable number of compute clusters the PowerVR Rogue architecture is designed to target the requirements of a growing range of demanding markets from mobile to the highest performance embedded graphics including smartphones, tablets, PC, console, automotive, DTV and more. Compute clusters are arrays of programmable computing elements that are designed to offer high performance and efficiency while minimising power and bandwidth requirements. The first PowerVR Series6 cores, the G6200 and G6400, have two and four compute clusters respectively.
Delivering the best performance in both GFLOPS/mm2 and GFLOPS/mW, PowerVR Series6 GPUs can deliver 20x or more of the performance of current generation GPU cores targeting comparable markets. This is enabled by an architecture that is around 5x more efficient than previous generations.
PowerVR Series6 GPU cores are designed to offer computing performance exceeding 100GFLOPS (gigaFLOPS) and reaching the TFLOPS (teraFLOPS) range enabling high-level graphics performance from mobile through to high-end compute and graphics solutions.
The PowerVR Series6 family will deliver a significant portfolio of new technologies and features, including: an advanced scalable compute cluster architecture; high efficiency compression technology including lossless image and parameter compression and the widely respected PVRTC™ texture compression; an enhanced scheduling architecture; dedicated housekeeping processors; and a next generation Tile Based Deferred Rendering architecture. These features combine to produce a highly latency tolerant architecture that consumes the lowest memory bandwidth in the industry while delivering the best performance per mm2 and per mW.
Says Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination: “Based on our experience in shipping hundreds of millions of GPU cores, plus extensive market and customer feedback, we have been able to set a new standard in GPU architecture, particularly in the areas of power, bandwidth and efficiency – the key metrics by which GPUs are now judged. We are confident that with the Rogue architecture we have a very clear technology advantage and an exceptional roadmap for the PowerVR Series6 family which our partners can depend on.”
Imagination believes that next generation devices, utilizing the extraordinary GPU performance that PowerVR Series6 delivers at optimal power levels, will change the landscape of software development as application developers start to realise the enormous parallel processing power available to them via Series6 GPU cores for both graphics and more generalised GPU Compute-based high performance computing tasks.
All members of the Series6 family support all features of the latest graphics APIs including OpenGL ES ‘Halti’*, OpenGL 3.x/4.x, OpenCL 1.x and DirectX10 with certain family members extending their capabilities to full WHQL-compliant DirectX11.1 functionality.
PowerVR GPU technology is driven by one of the world’s largest engineering teams dedicated to graphics processor development, complemented by the industry’s most mature and extensive ecosystem of dedicated third party developers, who have already created hundreds of thousands of apps optimised for PowerVR enabled devices to date.
Imagination’s PowerVR graphics technologies are the de facto standard for mobile and embedded graphics, with over 90 licenses by leading semiconductor companies, and have shipped in more than 600m devices to date. PowerVR Series6 has already secured eight licensees, and been delivered to multiple lead partners. Among the PowerVR Series6 partners announced so far are ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Renesas Electronics and MediaTek.
PowerVR Series6 GPU cores are available for licensing now.
PowerVR Series6 GPUs are fully compatible with Series5 and Series5XT PowerVR SGX GPUs and complement the existing Series5/5XT families of PowerVR GPUs, which continue to accelerate in terms of design-wins and new deployments, including many designs using the multi-processing (MP) core variants of the Series5XT family.
* Product is based on a provisional Khronos Specification, which may change before final release. Current specification status can be found at www.khronos.org
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.
Related information on “Experiencing the Cloud”:
- TI’s OMAP4460 in Samsung GALAXY Nexus with Android 4.0 [Oct 21, 2011]
- Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24 - Oct 27, 2011]
- ST-Ericsson NovaThor SoCs for future Windows Phones from Nokia [Nov 3 - Nov 28, 2011]
- NVIDIA Tegra 3 and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime [Nov 10 - Dec 2, 2011]
- Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs with a new way of easy identification [Aug 4 - Nov 16, 2011]
- Intel: accelerated Atom SoC roadmap down to 22nm in 2 years and a “new netbook experience” for tablet/mobile PC market [April 17 - June 7, 2011]
Qualcomm becomes Imagination Technologies licensee [EE Times, Dec 14, 2011]
Qualcomm Inc. has become a new Imagination Technologies licensee, along with MStar, Ricoh and Rockchip, joining existing partners like Sony, Intel, Mediatek, Renesas, Samsung, Sigma and Realtek.
Imagination Technologies confirmed that Qualcomm was licensing the display IP from its PowerVR portfolio. Several months back, Wall Street pundits were speculating that Qualcomm might be readying itself to make an investment in Imagination’s GPU solution for use with Windows 8 devices.
Qualcomm has its own mobile graphics unit, and Adreno GPUs, purchased from AMD several years ago, but has been slow to integrate the offering in any meaningful way. Analysts posited that Qualcomm could invest in Imagination’s Rogue technology instead, in order to better capitalize on Windows 8 momentum, while continuing to work on its own graphics at a slower pace.
Imagination’s Rogue graphics supports a higher class of DX than Adreno, which only supports DX9, a technology soon to be two generations old.
While DX9 will work on Windows 8, it’s widely felt that users would have a better visual experience on devices supporting a higher class of DX, like Rogue which purports to support from DirectX 10 up to DirectX 11.
Imagination is one of very few companies that has the experience of delivering DirectX for SoCs, encompasses both 3D graphics capabilities and a variety of video playback features.
Qualcomm rival Texas Instruments is already licensing Imagination’s PowerVR core for future OMAP system-on-a-chip products to use with Windows 8, and Nvidia supports DX11 on its Tegra chips, meaning that Qualcomm desperately needs to up its graphical game in order to stay at the front of the mobile processing pack.
If Qualcomm were to license Imagination’s graphics technology, it would also mean that the British firm’s GPU would become the most widely adopted graphics offering for Windows 8 devices. It would also be a blow to ARM, which has been trying to license its Mali graphics IP to partners, with little success.
Currently, however, there is no solid indication that Qualcomm will be taking its license any further than simply display IP, though an Imagination spokesman said his firm now had “high hopes.”
“We really like them as a customer, we’re delighted to have Qualcomm’s business and hope it leads to something more. At least they’re a customer now,” he said.
Imagination Will Add Up to 300 New Jobs, Says CEO [Bloomberg video interview, Dec 13, 2011]
Adjusted pre-tax profit* jumps 52% to £15.3m; driven by strong licensing and continued royalty revenue growth
- Group half-year revenue up 28% to £56.3m(2010: £44.1m)
- Technology revenues increased 41% to £42.6m(2010: £30.3m)
- Licensing revenues up 65%; high levels of activity across IP portfolio
- Royalty revenue up 26%; 29% on a US dollar basis
- PURE £13.7m (2010: £13.8m)
- Tough retail environment in UK offset by strong overseas growth
Royalties and design wins
- Partner chips shipped in the period increased to 123m units (2010: 107m) and substantial acceleration expected in the second half, post October product launches
- Significant volume shipments in mobile phone, tablets/personal computing, personal media players, TV/STB, digital radio and automotive markets
- Significant growth in chip design wins with 125 active partner chips (2010: 98); 54 in production (2010: 42)
- Average royalty rate strengthened due to enhancing mix of IP in each chip
- Strong licensing activities
- Addition of several new key partners including MStar, Ricoh, Qualcomm, Rockchip
- Many new and extended agreements with existing partners including Sony, Intel, Mediatek, Renesas, Samsung, Sigma, Realtek
- 15+ important agreements involving 22+ silicon IP cores – almost doubling over the same period last year
- Across all markets – mobile phone, digital TV/STB (set top boxes), Personal Media Player (PMP), mobile computing/tablets/netbooks, in-car navigation/dashboard and industrial/enterprise equipment
- Included graphics, video, display, broadcast/connectivity and processor silicon IP cores and HelloSoft VoIP technologies
- Significantly increased and active pipeline of prospects across all IP families
- Integration of HelloSoft and Caustic Graphics progressing to plan. Positive initial commercial developments for both businesses
[continuation from full financial results PDF]
The active and strengthening pipeline of opportunities led to a number of strategically and financially significant licensing agreements or deal extensions including over 15 major licensing agreements and a number of smaller deals and upgrades. Licensing has continued to gain momentum during the period
Among the major agreements, there were new partner deals with MStar, Ricoh, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Ingenic and Orca as well as significant new licenses or extensions with STEricsson, Sony, Samsung, Intel, Renesas, MediaTek, Realtek and Sigma Designs. The Group also signed software licenses and upgrades with a number of existing partners as well as with a number of key OEMs deploying partner chips with Imagination IP. The Qualcomm licence relates to display technologies needed for image enhancement.
The major licence agreements involved over 22 IP core licences. The target markets for these include mobile phone, digital TV/STB, personal media player, mobile computing/tablet, in-car navigation/dashboard and industrial/enterprise equipment.
Graphics – The Group has continued to see accelerating momentum in design-wins for its PowerVR graphics technology, which has so far achieved over 90 licenses, including many partners that are working on designs using the multi-processing (MP) core variants of the Series5XT family. The Group‟s next generation technology, codenamed „Rogue‟, has been acknowledged by many key partners as the market leader and has already secured eight licensees. We have now delivered this technology to our lead partners. PowerVR graphics technology now has a very strong and/or growing footprint across the three major mobile platforms namely iOS, Android and the emerging Windows Phone 8.
Semiconductor partners using PowerVR graphics for the Android platform now exceed ten, with seven top tier companies. This will ensure a strong market share in this platform particularly as new partners launch their products. PowerVR‟s leading position in this area was also demonstrated by our early and strong involvement in the recent Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) product launches.
With respect to the new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms we have multiple tier one partner engagements and expect a strong play in these areas as they ramp in 2012 and beyond.
Going forward PowerVR technology has a very strong and comprehensive roadmap to ensure its market-leading position. The complementary ray tracing technology, obtained through the Caustic acquisition, will further strengthen our offering in due course and add to our competitive edge.
Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications IP (Intellectual Property) company, has confirmed Bristol as the location for its latest PowerVR graphics and multimedia R&D facility.
As a result of the on-going success across all its IP technologies, including PowerVR graphics and video IP cores, Imagination is growing rapidly, with more than 1,000 staff, of which over 80% are degree qualified engineers. Its world-wide headquarters and many of its PowerVR R&D teams are based in Kings Langley, near London. Including its Leeds and Chepstow design centres, the UK is home to more than 70% of its highly skilled workforce, complemented by design centres located strategically world-wide to take advantage of world class skills.
Imagination has been studying for some time the best locations in the UK to expand its operations to enable it to attract more of the UK’s best engineers, reflecting its strong commitment to maximising its UK R&D base long term. The quality of experienced engineering talent in the Bristol area, combined with the strength of excellent universities in the area, were key factors in the decision.
Mobile SoC TAM [Total Available Market] to Exceed 3.1 Billion Devices in 2015 [In-Stat press release, Dec 14, 2011]
Driven by consumer’s desire to be connected anywhere and anytime and the ever increasing access to any and every type of content, the electronics industry continues to change rapidly. A key dynamic of this change is the continued push for a rich visual experience on any size screen. This desired experience continues to push the limits of current mobile SoCs and makes the graphics processing unit (GPU) one of the most critical components in the design and differentiation of the SoC and consumer devices. New In-Stat (www.in-stat.com) research forecasts that these trends will push the mobile SoC TAM to over 3.1 billion devices in 2015, up from 2 billion in 2010. Devices that may require a mobile SoC include basic/feature cellphones, smartphones, notebook PCs, mini-note PCs (netbooks), tablets, digital still cameras, mp3 players, personal navigation devices, e-readers, handheld game consoles, digital camcorders, and portable media players.
“The shift toward graphical user interfaces and media-rich content in entertainment and computing has pushed multimedia acceleration, including graphics, video, and audio, in electronic devices from a simple co–processing function to the forefront of semiconductor and system design,” says Jim McGregor, Research Director. “This change has been driven by richer content, higher accessibility to content over the Internet, industry standards, new technologies, and increased communication bandwidth. These advancements, however, also come with the challenges of increased complexity, increased performance requirements, and constraints in power, size, and cost.”
Key research findings include:
- There are three driver/magnet platforms in the mobile segment – smartphones, tablets, and notebooks PCs- that will grow at a CAGR of 25.7% as compared to 8.7% for the overall mobile market
- Only 40% of the mobile SoC TAM will use at least one dedicated GPUs in 2011. It is important to note that both the number of SoCs using GPUs is increasing and the number of GPU cores per SoC is increasing throughout the forecast period.
- Intel and Imagination lead the GPU market because of their dominance in PCs and smartphones, respectively. Combined, the two are projected to comprise 61.3% of the GPU Technology Mobile Serviceable Available Market in 2011.
- The division between PC and mobile CE GPUs will narrow in the future, increasing the competition between GPU technologies.
Recent In-Stat research, Mobile Graphics: Smartphones Beat the Drum to Which All Markets March (#IN1105075SI), provides a comprehensive look at the graphics or GPUs (graphics processing units) with a strong emphasis on the integrated or intellectual property (IP) solutions that are available for mobile consumer electronic (CE) devices.
[July 15, 2011] At the core of Apple’s growth as a mobile device behemoth have been the A4 and A5 SoCs, which are designed by Apple, but contain Imagination’s PowerVR SGX535 and SGX543MP2 GPUs, respectively.
INTEL RELATIONSHIP INSERT (LONG):
Imagination PowerVR Graphics Demo on Intel Atom GPUs [Sept 18, 2010]
[June 25, 2008] Imagination’s partnership with Intel in the personal computing/UMPC and MID segment has progressed to plan with the recent significant announcement of launch and production shipment of the Centrino Atom processor technology which is using our POWERVR SGX and VXD video cores. The Centrino Atom chipset has already secured many OEM design wins with over 10 products announced and due to ship shortly. There is a very strong ongoing partnership with Intel with further significant additional projects committed during the year.
[Dec 11, 2008] Mobile Computing (MID, UMPC, Netbook devices) – Imagination’s partnership with Intel in the personal computing/UMPC and MID segment has progressed to plan with shipment of the Intel GMA500 [Poulsbo: US15W/US15L/UL11L etc.] which is using our POWERVR SGX and VXD video cores. This solution has already secured many OEM design wins with over 30 products shipping or announced. The partnership with Intel is very strong with several significant projects underway.
[June 24, 2009] Mobile Computing (MID, UMPC, Netbook devices) – Imagination’s partnership with Intel in the personal computing/UMPC and MID segment has progressed to plan with shipment of the Intel® Atom™ Z range of products that deploy Imagination’s graphics and video technologies. This solution has already secured many OEM design wins with over 70 products shipping or announced. The partnership with Intel continues to strengthen with a wide scope for co-operation and several significant projects underway.
[Dec 9, 2009] Mobile Computing (MID, UMPC, Netbook devices) – Imagination’s partnership with Intel in the personal computing/UMPC and MID segments has progressed to plan with shipment of the Intel® Atom™ Z range of products that deploy Imagination’s graphics and video technologies. This initial solution has secured many OEM design wins with more than 85 products shipping or announced. Our strong partnership with Intel continues to develop with a wider scope of co-operation across several significant projects. In addition, the growing netbook market is also opening up opportunities for other partners who need the advanced multimedia technologies that Imagination can provide.
[June 23, 2010] Mobile Computing (MID, Netbook, Ultra Mobile PCs and Tablet devices) – In this market Imagination’s technologies have and are being deployed in a variety of formats and in conjunction with Intel, ARM and other processor architectures. Imagination’s partnership with Intel in the personal computing/UMPC and MID segments has progressed to plan with shipment of the first generation Intel® Atom™ Z range [Z5xx family with with Intel® System Controller Hub US15Wx also Poulsbo i.e. GMA 500] of products that deploy Imagination’s graphics and video technologies. This solution has secured many OEM design wins with more than 85 products shipping or announced.
Recently [May 4, 2010] Intel has announced the second generation of this product line (Atom Z6xx) [Lincroft SoC with integrated GPU: GMA 600] which is more integrated and offers much lower power consumption, higher performance and increased functionality. Imagination’s strong partnership with Intel continues to develop with a wider scope of co-operation across several significant projects. In addition, the growing netbook and emerging tablet markets have opened up significant opportunities where other partners are deploying the advanced multimedia technologies that Imagination can provide.
Intel® Atom™ Processor Z6xx Series with Intel® SM35 Express Chipset
– formerly Oak Trail (Lincroft + Whitney Point (Langwell + SATA + HD_Audio + HDMI + Legacy_I/O)) [April 11, 2011]: Z670 optimized for sleek tablet and netbook designs, with its 3W TDP delivering up to a 50 percent reduction in average power consumption with full HD-video playback and enabling Windows 7 (allowed by SM35 Express Chipset)], Android or MeeGo; and Z650 for embedded (both are the immediate predecessors of the upcoming 32nm Cedar Trail); also parts of the Z6xx family.
Z6xx family originally [May 4, 2010]: the Z625, Z615 and Z600 launched a year earlier (as well as Z605, Z610, Z612 and Z620 since not on the Intel site)
part of “Moorestown” platfrom consisting of: Z6xx Series Family (Lincroft SoC) + Intel Platform Controller Hub MP20 (Langwell) + dedicated Mixed Signal IC – MSIC (Briertown)
Intel® SM35 Express Chipset (Whitney Point)
Intel Atom Processor D2700/D2500 for Entry-Level Desktops [Intel brochure, Sept 26, 2011]
The small and power-efficient processor design enables innovative form factor designs that are fanless, compact and slim. New, appealing small form factors provide flexibility for placement in home and office.
Affordable all-in-one systems with the monitor and PC built into a single convenient package allow for even greater space saving and sleek PC design.
With the enhanced processor graphics and newly added digital connectivity (e.g., VGA, HDMI, Display Port and DVI), the new Intel Atom processor for desktops delivers a great media entertainment experience. Whether it is playing basic online games, streaming high-definition videos, viewing Blu-ray* movies, or multi-tasking on dual displays, you are able to have fun and enjoy high-quality entertainment enabled by the integrated graphics.
Integrated Graphics and Memory Controller:
Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3600/3650 combined with the integrated memory controller provides enhanced performance and system responsiveness.
Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator: Integrated hardware accelerated decoder enables smooth full HD (up to 1080p) video playback and streaming at a fraction of the power consumption.
In summary: see also in PDF which is clickable inside
Note: GMA3150 is Intel, which runs in the latest Intel Atom N4XX and N5XX series, D4XX and D5XX.
Intel unveils smaller, power-sipping Atoms [Windows for Devices, Oct 4, 2011]
Intel has quietly launched its 32nm, “Cedar Trail” Atoms, which will reportedly sell for as little as $42. The portable-focused Atom N2600 and N2800 can be clocked up to 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz respectively, while the desktop-oriented D2500 and D2700 stretch to 2.13GHz and 2.4GHz, according to the company.
Thanks to leaks that soon began pinging around the blogosphere, it was clear by May that the new Cedar Trail Atoms would be known as the D2500 and D2700 for desktops, and the N2600 and N2800 for portables.
And a May 26 story by DigiTimes writers Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai cited “sources from netbook players”as saying the N2600 and N2800 would sell for just $42 and $47 — a significant drop from the cost of the existing Atom N4xx and N5xx CPUs, which ranged from $64 to $86 at the time.
Likely drawing on the same porous Taiwanese sources, CPU World writer Gennadly Shvets published the same prices on May 24. His story also summarized available information on clock speeds and power consumption in a table, which we adapted and is reprinted below.
Model Clockspeed Cores/threads TDP Price D2500 1.86 GHz 2/2 10W $42 D2700 2.13 GHz 2/4 10W $52 N2600 1.6 GHz 2/4 3.5W $42 N2800 1.86GHz 2/4 6.5W $47
Intel’s upcoming D- and N-series Atoms
Source: CPU World
Information on Cedar Trail’s enhanced graphics apparently first emerged, meanwhile, on the VR-Zone website. On May 10, it ran an “exclusive” storywith what appeared to be a Intel-sourced graphic (below).
Intel’s Cedarview platform
Source: VR-Zone (Click to enlarge)
The slide indicated that the 32nm-fabbed Cedar Trail chips measure 22 x 22nm. Also disclosed was PowerVR graphics IP licensed from Imagination Technologies, providing support for DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.0, as well as hardware accelerated video decoding for MPEG-2, MPEG-4 part 2, VC1, WMV9, and H.264.
Stealthy confirmation from Intel
Intel still hasn’t confirmed the pricing quoted above, nor has it posted product pages for the four Cedar Trail Atoms, as far as we’re aware. But, the N2600, N2800, D2500, and D2700 quietly became official when the chipmaker quietly placed a PDF-formatted data sheetfor the processors on its website.
This 119-page document essentially confirms the information already mentioned in this story. As shown above, however, it adds that the N2600 and N2800 can potentially be clocked up from their normal 1.6/1.86GHz to 1.86/2.13GHz, while the D2500 and D2700 may be bumped from 1.86GHz or 2.13GHz to 2.13GHz/2.4GHz.
Apparently the fastest Atom processors ever, the new chips have maximum TDPs of 10 Watts for the D2500 and D2700. The N2800 and N2600, meanwhile, can operate using just 6.5 Watts or 3.5 Watts, respectively.
Intel’s documentation also confirms our previous suspicions that the Cedar Trail CPUs would use the company’s existing I/O controller. The maximum amount of RAM supported is 2GB for the N2600, and 4GB for the other three processors, according to the company.
Intel adds that the built-in graphics on the N2600, N2800, D2500, and D2700 support LVDS, Embedded Display Port, VGA, Display Port, HDMI, and DVI interfaces. As indicated by the table above, the most widely supported resolution is 1920 x 1200 pixels, but the D2xxx processors support Display Port screens with 2560 x 1600 pixels.
Intel will launch its Cedar Trail-M platform for netbooks including 32nm-based Atom N2800 and N2600processors in December, according to industry sources.
Because of shrinking demand for Atom processors and chipsets due to competition from tablet PCs, Intel’s third-quarter 2011 revenues of US$269 million from related products dropped 32% on year, the sources indicated. Due to weak demand, Intel has delayed Cedar Trail-M from September to December, the sources noted.
Despite decreasing global demand for netbooks, there is still room for sales, especially in emerging markets, the sources said.
After Samsung Electronics withdraws from the global netbook market, Asustek Computer and Acer will remain as the only two vendors, the sources indicated. Asustek will unveil 10-inch Cedar-Trail-M models, including Eee PC 1025C and Eee PC 1025CE, in December, the sources noted. Asustek will ship an estimated 4.6-4.8 million netbooks in 2011 and is expected to ship at least 4-4.2 million units in 2012, the sources said. Acer’s shipments of netbooks in 2011 and 2012 are approximately the same as Asustek’s, the sources added.
Intel Atom N2600 Benchmarks With AMD C50 & N570 Comparison [netbooknews.com, Dec 13, 2011]
The N2600 is part of Intel’s new line of low-power CPUs, named Cedar Trail, and is built on 32 nm lithography. The official specs for the CPU are not yet available, but we do know that we have a dual-core CPU, with HT, clocked at 1.6 GHz. It includes Intel HD 3600 Integrated graphics running at 400 MHz, Direct X10.1 compatible (based on specs) and it should support only up to 2 GB of DDR3 RAM.
The unit that’s being tested is the ASUS Eee PC X101CH, the N2600 CPU has not been officially launched by Intel and Cedar Trail has been delayed due to driver issues, so with a month left until this hits the street, I wouldn’t take these as gospel.
If you’re wondering how the unit performed in everyday usage:
- Dealing with video, Flash 720p content on Youtube is playable.
- The N2600 can actually handle 1080P self stored content quite well.
- As for noise and temperatures, this platform is fanless, so there’s little to no noise involved with no notable heat issues.
Cedar Trail N2600 Compared to the Intel Atom N570 & the AMD C-50 chips
When compared to the N570, looks like the current N2600 is a bit slower in terms of raw CPU tests, but way faster in terms of graphic abilities. Compared to the C-50, you get mixed results in CPU tests (poorer score in PCMark Vantage, better in Cinebench 11.5 CPU test and Crystalmark ), and definitely a lot under in terms of graphics (however, both can actually play 1080p content, as our tests showed; so the only difference is in games or maybe some encoding software.
It should be noted that the N2600 is not going to be the fastest of the Cedar Trail Atoms, thus if you’ll be needing some extra muscles, you should go for that N2800 Atom at 1.83 GHz, with better graphics as well.
More information: Intel: accelerated Atom SoC roadmap down to 22nm in 2 years and a “new netbook experience” for tablet/mobile PC market [this blog, April 17, 2011]
END OF INTEL RELATIONSHIP INSERT
Imagination Technologies only continued here
Nokia N9 with POWERVR SGX [June 24, 2011]
… N9 uses the Nokia MeeGo OS which is an amalgamation of Memo and Intel’s Moblin. The N9 utilises three home screens to navigate through applications with sweeping and pinching actions.
The N9 features the TI OMAP3630 core with POWERVR SGX enabling the high performance graphics capabilities of the UI and many applications available.
27 Feb-01 March 2012 | Fira de Barcelona, Barcelona
Imagination Technologies is an international leader in the creation and licensing of semiconductor system-on-chip Intellectual Property. The company licences unique, patented technologies from its PowerVR, Ensigma, Meta, HelloSoft and Causticfamilies which, whether delivered individually or as platform IP, deliver flexible solutions to some of the most difficult challenges of modern silicon devices.
With technologies spanning graphics, video, and display processing; multi-threaded processors and DSPs; multi-standard communications and connectivity; cloud platform portals and services; and video and voice over IP and VoLTE solutions; – Imagination has IP solutions that enable the best in mobile devices.
Great graphics capabilities of TI OMAP 5 platform [Sept 12, 2011]
PowerVR Preview (1996) (by VideoLogic, see also: VideoLogic changes name to Imagination Technologies [Aug 31, 1999])
POWERVR Series5 Graphics – SGX architecture guide for developers [PDF, 22 pp, July 5, 2011]
… The POWERVR Series5 architecture is covered by a broad portfolio of patents, the result of more than 15 years research and development by Imagination. More than 500m devices incorporating POWERVR graphics have been shipped (as of July 2011) and hundreds of thousands of applications are running on POWERVR graphics-powered platforms across every major operating system and CPU architecture.
POWERVR™ graphics is the brand name of the family of graphics IP cores from Imagination Technologies that use Imagination’s unique “Tile Based Deferred Rendering” (TBDR) architecture. The core design principle behind the TBDR architecture is to reduce the system memory bandwidth required by the GPU to a bare minimum. As transfer of data between system memory and the GPU is one of the biggest causes of GPU power consumption, any reduction that can be made in this area will allow the GPU to operate at a lower power. Additionally, the reduction in system memory bandwidth use and the hardware optimizations associated with it (such as using on-chip buffers) can boost application performance. Because of this development strategy, POWERVR graphics cores have become dominant in the embedded electronic devices market.
Whereas a traditional Immediate Mode Renderer (IMR) renders all objects within the screen’s boundaries and relies on a Z-Buffer to sort the end results, the POWERVR TBDR approach determines up-front what is and isn’t visible, allowing the hardware to only render what is necessary. Although current day IMRs incorporate advanced techniques to reduce some of the issues that are inherent within the architecture’s design, such as early Z testing to reduce overdraw, there are still many ways in which the TBDR architecture provides a more efficient solution to these problems.
Tiling is a technique that can be implemented in graphics hardware to process subsections of a render at a time instead of the entire scene. The main benefit of this approach is that fast, on-chip memory can be used during the render for colour, depth and stencil buffer operations, which allows a significant reduction in system memory bandwidth over traditional IMR architectures.
Deferred rendering splits the per-tile rendering process into two stages; Hidden Surface Removal (HSR) and shading. Pixel-perfect, submission order independent HSR is performed within each tile so that the only fragments processed are those that will contribute to the final rendered image. In an entirely opaque scene, overdraw will be removed completely by the HSR of TBDR hardware.
A traditional Immediate Mode Rendering (IMR) architecture is given its name because each submitted object travels through the entire pipeline immediately. Due to the brute force approach of the design, there are a number of weaknesses that result in inefficient use of the available processing power and memory bandwidth.
Series5XT SGX543MP and SGX544MP powered SoCs debuting; first device announced with next generation POWERVR™ Series6 graphics
… Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie says: “Having evaluated the options the overall mobile and embedded market is increasingly committing to POWERVR as the de facto graphics standard, a fact reflected by the growing commitment of the primary players to our roadmap. POWERVR has established itself across smartphones, tablets, mobile computing and games consoles, attracting an extensive community of POWERVR developers and powering iconic and much-loved products.”
POWERVR delivers not only a clear technology advantage and exceptional roadmap, driven by one of the largest teams of graphics engineers in the world, but also an extensive ecosystem of third party developers which has created hundreds of thousands of apps optimised for POWERVR enabled devices to date.
POWERVR Series5XT arrives in products
More than 10 SoCsutilizing Imagination’s latest multi-processor POWERVR SGX MP cores are currently in design or in silicon.
Texas Instruments’ OMAP5430 and OMAP5432 use multi-core POWERVR SGX544MP graphics accelerators to drive 3D gaming and 3D user interfaces.
RenesasSH-Mobile APE5R features Imagination Technologies’ POWERVR SGX543MP graphics.
SonyComputer Entertainment’s next generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) features SGX543MP4 graphics acceleration.
Clock for clock POWERVRVR SGX, which has been shipping in significant volume for several years, outperforms competitive solutions, many of which have yet to ship in any volume. SGX MP opens up a wider performance gap reinforcing POWERVR as the market leader for performance per mm2 and performance per mW.
Imagination’s unique and extensively patented Tile-Based Deferred Rendering (TBDR) architecture for graphics, together with use of advanced architectural techniques such as hardware multi-threading and substantial investment in production-ready drivers across all mobile and embedded operating systems has resulted in Imagination leading the market for performance per mm2 and performance per mWfor all of its on-chip multimedia and communications solutions.
Next-generation in advanced development
Imagination’s next generation POWERVR Series6 architecture, codenamed ‘Rogue’, has now being licensed by multiple lead partners. ‘Rogue’ delivers unrivalled GFLOPS per mm2 and per mWfor all APIs.
ST-Ericssonhas announced that its new Nova application processors will include Imagination’s next-generation POWERVR Series6 ‘Rogue’ architecture.
Series6 GPUs will be fully compatible with Series5 and Series5XT GPUs, ensuring a smooth migration path for developers upgrading applications optimized for Series5 to the new architecture.
POWERVR Series5XT GPU IP cores are available for licensing for all partners now; POWERVR Series6 is being licensed to lead partners at this time.
Multiple other strategic partners have also licensed POWERVR Series5XT and Series6 cores and will be disclosed when they are ready to do so.
Six key partners have already selected ‘Rogue’
Among the announced POWERVR Series6 partners are:
- ST-Ericsson,which has announced that its new Nova™ family of smartphone application processors will include Imagination’s next-generation POWERVR Series6 architecture
- Texas Instruments, which will deploy POWERVR Series6 technology in future OMAP platform-based SoC designs. These SoC devices will target the highly-significant smartphone market, as well as the fast-emerging mobile computing and tablet markets supporting key operating systems, including Android and the next version of Windows
- MediaTek, which has licensed POWERVR Series6 technology
- Three other POWERVR Series6 licensees are yet to be announced
CES 2011: Imagination Technologies [Jan 11, 2011]
Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications technologies company, says that its partners will ship significantly higher volume, well over 200m SoCs (Systems on Chip) using its advanced multimedia, communications and connectivity IP cores, in 2011as the momentum continues to build in the mobile and embedded market.
Imagination partners have now shipped almost 500m devices cumulatively incorporating its multimedia SoC IP cores.
Imagination made its name by foreseeing the rise of highly integrated low power mobile multimedia, where its POWERVR technology for OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenCL and other APIs is the de facto standard in embedded and mobile with over 70% market share.
As IP is at the start of the ‘food chain’ Imagination is ideally placed to see, and help drive, the trends that will transform the market over the next few years.
Driven by customer thirst for advanced graphics, and the debut of GPGPU APIs like OpenCL, the compute density of GPUs in mobile and embedded devices is set to increase dramatically delivering further performance and realism, as well as enabling exciting new apps that stimulate new markets and business opportunities such as augmented reality, mobile marketing and location-aware gaming.
As consumers demand universal connectivity to rich media ‘in the cloud’ wherever they are, connectivity using Wi-Fi to complement 3G modems, and increasing traction for universal digital TV and radio reception in smartphones, tablet and other mobile devices is set to grow dramatically powered by programmable universal connectivity radio processing units (RPU).
Combined with new HD video technologies to enable internet video delivery, video telephony, and user generated content revolutions, together with the move of connectivity onto the SoC itself, Imagination contends that this is set to be a very exciting time for mobile.
Imagination VP marketing Tony King-Smith says: “The pace of change in this market is accelerating, driven by consumer excitement for the very best experiences in mobile, demanding the most advanced on-chip technologies. In this market ‘just good enough’ doesn’t win the day. We believe that Imagination’s portfolio of multimedia and communications technologies will be at the heart and soul of many of the next ‘big things’ in the mobile world.”
MWC 2011 sees a wide range of iconic products and applications enabled by Imagination from brands including Acer, Apple, Archos, Fujitsu, HTC, RIM, Samsung, Sharp, Sony Ericsson, Sony, Motorola, NEC and Nokia, and semiconductor companies including Intel, MediaTek, Renesas, Samsung, CSR, Toumaz and Texas Instruments.
Additional notes on Imagination’s vision for mobile SoCs
Graphics: As screen resolution continues to grow on both phone and tablet devices the demand for powerful yet energy efficient graphics and video technologies continues driving demand for Imagination’s market leading POWERVR graphics, display and video technologies. The mobile and embedded multimedia market is set for further growth with most categories of devices ultimately needing performance, low power graphics and video for a broad range of applications including user interface, gaming, personal navigation, internet content and video telephony, as well as a growing range of high performance non-graphics related algorithms using general purpose graphics processor (GPGPU) capabilities, such as OpenCL.
Imagination has also announced that it has submitted its OpenCL drivers for POWERVR SGX IP cores for conformance with Khronos, demonstrating its leadership in bringing the next wave of bringing GPGPU capabilities to mobile and embedded markets.
Imagination also believes that the Adobe® Flash® platform is one of the key technologies enabling mobile convergence. Imagination and Adobe have been working together since 2007 to enable GPU acceleration of video and graphics in Flash Player and Adobe AIR®, for the rapidly growing base of more than 400m POWERVR graphics enabled mobile and consumer devices.
“Given the ubiquity of the Flash Player and the large base of devices shipping with POWERVR GPUs and video decoders, it was important for Adobe and Imagination to closely collaborate to bring great content experiences to the widest possible community,” said Jennifer Carr, senior director, Business Development, Flash Platform at Adobe. “We continue to work closely with Imagination to allow for Flash Player to take full advantage of POWERVR GPU capabilities in mobile devices.”
The next generation POWERVR Series6 graphics architecture, code named ‘Rogue’, has already been licensed to multiple lead partners and will continue to enable the market by delivering the best industry metrics in performance per mm2 and performance per mW. Further ‘Rogue’ licensing engagements are already in the pipeline.
Video: Adoption of POWERVR VXD video decoder and VXE video encoder families also continues to gain momentum, with more than 100m units already shipped by Imagination’s video IP partners. Mobile HD video must deliver high quality multi-stream multi-standard capabilities for both decode and encode functions, and novel features like stereoscopic 3D, which necessitate high performance, low power video accelerators to make this viable in a mobile environment. These are expected to become key features in mobile and embedded devices as the revolution in commercial video content delivery, social networking, user generated content and video telephony continues to accelerate.
Communications: Imagination believes that, due to their coverage of broadcast and connectivity standards and flexibility, multi-standard Radio Processing Units (RPU) will become increasingly integrated on-chip just as GPUs are today in the coming years. Imagination’s ENSIGMAUCCP IP platform is set to fuel this next wave of integration, offering digital TV reception, radio, Wi-Fi and other connectivity, and more, all executing on the same on-chip RPU.
Imagination’s ENSIGMA UCC multi-standard broadcast radio and TV communications and connectivity technologies have also now shipped in tens of millions of devices, enabling worldwide connected broadcast products.
At MWC 2011 Imagination is debuting the latest ENSIGMA UCCP330 connectivity platform with support for all major world TV, radio, mobile TV and connectivity standards including now 802.11n (see separate press release, issued Feb 14 2011).
Processing: Imagination’s METAFlow Connected Processor, which combines Imagination’s unique META hardware multi-threaded processor+DSP CPUs with its Wi-Fi optimised ENSIGMA UCCP communications platform, is setting a new standard for emerging embedded processors for the ‘everything connected’ generation of products. Imagination continues to expand its META processors, adding further IP platforms for applications including digital audio and an upgraded range of high performance hardware multi-threaded processor cores running Android and Linux alongside powerful 32-bit DSP capabilities.
V.VoIP: Imagination’s recent acquisition of HelloSoftprovides access to leading edge V.VoIP (Video & Voice over IP) technology and combining HelloSoft’s technology and Imagination’s multimedia cores and processor will offer an optimised end-to-end solution for media-over-internet protocol delivery, which is becoming important to all connected devices, and enable OEMs and network/service operators to take advantage of HelloSoft’s market-leading software stack.
Ray Tracing Graphics: Imagination’s recent acquisition of Caustic Graphics will provide access to innovative new technology that will both disrupt the professional imaging market and enable Imagination to bring cinema quality imaging to gaming platforms, embedded and mobile devices.
Caustic Siggraph2011.mov [Nov 9, 2011]
Imagination announces POWERVR Insider SDK 2.8 [March 2, 2011]
Major upgrade includes support for latest POWERVR enabled devices, 3D map data and tutorial and more
GDC, San Francisco: Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia chip technologies company, has released version 2.8 of its industry leading POWERVR Insider SDK (software development kit). Free and fully featured copies of the SDK will be available for download soon following a brief period where they will be exclusively given away by Imagination at GDC 2011 in San Francisco.
Imagination’s POWERVR Insider SDK is the leading SDK and toolset for mobile 3D graphics development. The POWERVR Insider SDK fully supports the development of applications using the Khronos OpenGL® ES 2.0 API. An established favourite with more than 22,000 developers world-wide, the POWERVR Insider SDK includes tutorials, source code, extensive documentation, platform abstraction frameworks and a highly integrated suite of tools. Developers can join up, download the SDK for free and interact with the community through dynamic online forums at www.powervrinsider.com.
Release v2.8 of the POWERVR Insider SDK includes: access to a new version or PVRTune, the acclaimed tool created for Imagination’s licensees; Android Gingerbread support; PVRShaman support for render to texture / environment maps and post processing; PVRTexTool support for texture atlases; support for 3DSMAX and Maya 2011; Android project integration for Eclipse; enhancements to PVRUniSCo and a MacOS version of PVRVFrame; an updated Bada SDK and SDKs for new POWERVR enabled devices; support for 64bit Linux; and NAVTEQ® map and content samples, including Enhanced 3D City Models.
3D location information: a valuable resource for game developers
The latest version of Imagination’s POWERVR Insider software development kit (SDK), version 2.8, includes a new tutorial showing developers how to take full advantage of graphics acceleration using OpenGL ES2 to display 3D map and advanced visual guidance datain graphics-rich applications.
The tutorial overviews the implementation of sample map data for the creation of location-based apps. Additionally, a complementary white paper explaining efficient navigation rendering techniques for compiling of NAVTEQ data is available on NN4D.com. The tutorial helps developers to create differentiated games by adding a location-aware component.
Developers can also join the NAVTEQ Network for Developers™(www.NN4D.com) to gain access to more extensive data sample sets, and receive technical support.
Continues King-Smith: “There’s a considerable community of developers using our SDK who have extensive experience in 3D gaming and would like to use that skill-set to create location-aware games or games that use highly realistic real world settings. This update to our SDK will help enable this, as will high quality, sample 2D and 3D map data from an industry leader like NAVTEQ.”
Says Marc Naddell, vice president, partner and developer programs, NAVTEQ: “Imagination’s support in enabling developers to utilize premium NAVTEQ visual content, such as Enhanced 3D City Models, helps developers to differentiate their gaming apps. NN4D has worked closely with Imagination Technologies to include the POWERVR Insider SDK in our developer tools and offerings to maximise 3D content capabilities for our members.”
GDC: Navteq [March 4, 2011]
New 3D Navigation tutorial in latest POWERVR Insider SDK [March 2, 2011]
NN4D Sponsored Session at Game Developers Conference 2011- Part 3 [March 23, 2011]
… for wireless devices with smoothly rendered 3D mapping and navigation features. NAVTEQ® maps and visual location content such as 3D landmarks can be incorporated by developers into mobile applications enhanced through Imagination’s 3D graphics acceleration technology and using the standard OpenGL® ESapplication programming interface (API).
Showcasing one of the best samples of smooth 3D graphics and map rendering, the NaviGenie 3D Mobile Navigation Framework from Kishonti Informatics, a runner-up in the 2009 NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge EMEA region, will be on display on Imagination’s booth (#14) at the Symbian Exchange & Exposition (SEE) 2009 at London’s Earl’s Court 2 on October 27-28th, running on the new Samsung i8910 HD smartphone.
Kishonti’s NaviGenie is an award-winning, highly optimized 3D mobile navigation framework with real-time streaming, fully-textured 3D maps delivered to mass-market handsets using minimal bandwidth. The ultra portable NaviGenie 3D navigation client enables mobile users to enjoy a high performance 3D navigation experience on Symbian and other mobile platforms. NaviGenie is available to developers as middleware, enabling them to integrate its capabilities into a wide range of end-user applications.
Says Laszlo Kishonti, GM, Kishonti Informatics: “Kishonti and Imagination have worked together over a number of years through our GLBenchmark activities. Imagination’s developer support has been invaluable in helping us create and optimise NaviGenie, and we are delighted to be a part of Imagination’s showcase at SEE 2009. We are also grateful to NAVTEQ for their continued support throughout and after our participation in the Global LBS Challenge. Working with Imagination and NAVTEQ – the market leader in graphics acceleration technology and the leading global provider of digital map data and location content respectively – has given us new and exciting opportunities to advance the end-user experience on mobile phones.”
Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications technologies company, is delivering graphics and video IP cores supporting the newest versions of Microsoft DirectX across x86 and ARM based SoCs (Systems on Chip) for the next version of Windows as well as on x86 Windows 7 PCs.
As the Windows platform drives the convergence of desktop and consumer appliances, Imagination has seen growing demand for DirectX capabilities and its market proven DirectX compatible POWERVR graphics and video hardware IP (Intellectual Property) cores, which form a fundamental enabling technology for that convergence process.
Building on Imagination’s long and proven track record in the delivery of Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) production-ready software drivers, the company says that, as the demand for support of Microsoft DirectX multimedia services and APIs broadens across more markets, the ability to properly support DirectX is key, and Imagination is one of the only technology IP companies with direct experience of doing so.
Says Imagination’s VP marketing, Tony King-Smith: “We rarely stand up and shout about our skills, but in this case we think it’s important to highlight that Imagination is one of very few companies that has the experience of delivering DirectX for SoCs. DirectX is a sophisticated and advanced API which embraces a broad array of graphics, video and multimedia management functions and experience is vital to delivering the best in class DirectX solution that enables the best possible compatibility across all forms of DirectX content. We’ve spent more than 15 years honing our ability to deliver best in class DirectX for our graphics and video IP cores – and it is the rigour of overcoming such challenges that has made Imagination one of the world’s leading suppliers of DirectX solutions.”
Imagination Partners and DirectX
Multiple licensees of Imagination’s graphics or video technologies, including Intel and Texas Instruments, will be able to support full DirectX for the next version of Windows across both x86 and ARM as well as for x86-based systems with Windows 7.
Intel has already deployed highly successful Windows-based X86 devices such as the Atom™ Z5xx familyincorporating POWERVR video and graphics into the DirectX market, with more in plan.
TI will deploy POWERVR graphics technology in future OMAP™platform-based SoC designs targeting the mobile computing and tablet markets across key operating systems such as the next version of Windows.
Deepu Talla, general manager, OMAP mobile computing business unit, TI says: “The OMAP platform is redefining mobile experiences through unparalleled user experiences centered on high-performing, highly power-efficient devices. TI continues to work with Imagination to optimize its complementary, market-leading POWERVR cores first within the OMAP4470 applications processor to support this transformative momentum. The result is the delivery of marked graphics advancements, including DirectX and more, that will underscore next generation UIs.”
Graphics IP cores
Imagination has shipped graphics cores supporting DirectX for 15 years.
Imagination currently ships a wide range of cores supporting DirectX including the latest POWERVR SGX544, SGX544MPx, SGX554 and SGX554MPx which all provide full support for DirectX 9 Feature Level 3 with maximum hardware acceleration, making them ideal for tablets and other mobile computing devices.
POWERVR SGX544 and SGX554can be implemented as high-performance single core solutions (4 or 8 pipelines respectively), or in multiprocessor (MP) configurations of between 2 and 16 cores (4 to 128 pipes.)
Cores in the POWERVR Series6 family, which is codenamed ‘Rogue’, support from DirectX 10 up to DirectX 11.
Video IP cores
Imagination supports the full range of DirectX video features and has shipped DirectX video cores for over seven years.
Imagination’s POWERVR VXD video decoders and POWERVR VXE video encoders deliver multi-stream, multi-standard, HD decode and/or encode, supporting all major video standards.
All VXD and VXE cores support all the major video standards including H.264 (Base to High profile), MPEG4, MPEG2, VC-1/WMV, AVS, Sorenson and JPEG. Many VXD cores now also offer hardware rotation and scaling, delivering significant reductions in bandwidth and power consumption. When combined with SGX cores, scaling can also be done by the SGX core, making the combination of VXD, VXE and SGX extremely powerful for a wide range of multimedia applications.
Over 400m devices shipped with Imagination IP to date; total annual market to exceed 3 billion per annum within five years
Announcing today that its partners have now shipped over 400m devices cumulatively incorporating its multimedia SoC (System on Chip) IP cores, Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications technologies company, says that it foresees the total addressable market (TAM) for SoCs incorporating mobile and embedded graphics and video acceleration engines will exceed 3 billion units per annum within five years.
Imagination says that the mobile and embedded multimedia market is set for further growth with most categories of devices ultimately needing high performance, low power graphics and video for a broad range of applications including user interface, gaming, personal navigation, internet content and video telephony, as well as a growing range of high performance non-graphics related algorithms using general purpose graphics processor (GP-GPU) capabilities. Imagination continues to deliver leading edge technologies to both drive and ride these trends.
Imagination made its name by foreseeing the rise of mobile multimedia, where its POWERVR technology for OpenGL, OpenGL ES, OpenCL and other APIs is the de facto standard in embedded and mobile with over 70% market share.
Over 70 SoCs incorporating POWERVR SGX graphics are in design or production today; and more than 10 SoCs utilizing multi-processor POWERVR SGX MP cores are currently in design or in silicon. Chips based on Imagination’s POWERVR Series5XT MP (multi-processor) graphics cores will be demonstrated in December 2010 at an Imagination event in Japan, delivering unprecedented levels of mobile graphics performance for use in next generation devices.
In the tradition of earlier POWERVR families the next generation POWERVR Series6 graphics architecture, code named ‘Rogue’, will continue to drive the market by delivering the best industry metrics in performance per mm2 and performance per mW. This technology has already been selected by multiple tier one partners, with more engagements in the pipeline. Details of next generation POWERVR Series6 technology will be announced in due course.
Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie says: “The mobile and embedded multimedia market continues to build momentum but there is much more to come. Driven by customer demand for advanced graphics, and the debut of GP-GPU APIs like OpenCL, The compute density of GPUs in mobile and embedded devices is set to increase dramatically. Many of our key ecosystem developer partners have commented on the significant advantages of targeting the 400m and growing installed base of POWERVR graphics powered devices, thanks to the benefits of consistent and reliable behaviour of their advanced graphics applications on such a wide range of platforms alongside the support of our applications engineers.”
Continued Yassaie: “HD Video acceleration will need to deliver both high quality 2D and stereoscopic 3D and multi-stream multi-standard capabilities for both decode and encode functions. These are set to become essential features in these devices as the revolution in video content delivery, social networking and video telephony continues to accelerate.”
Imagination’s technology is shipped in mobile devices from brands including: Apple, Archos, Motorola, HTC, RIM, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo and Samsung.
Imagination’s ENSIGMA UCC multi-standard broadcast radio and TV communications and connectivity technologies have also now shipped in tens of millions of devices, reflecting Imagination’s success in deployment of its ever broadening IP portfolio. A fourth generation of the company’s ENSIGMA UCC technology will debut early in 2011 and is already available for licensing to lead partners. Imagination has also continued to expand its META processors, adding further IP platforms for applications including digital audio and an upgraded range of high performance hardware multi-threaded processor cores with powerful 32-bit DSP capabilities.
Smart technologies powering smart devices is key
Tokyo, Japan: 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 trendsare:
- Parallel software revolution: 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 tomorrows SoCs. GPUs will become vastly more powerful thanks to their scalable parallel processing capabilities, triggering a mass market parallel software revolution.
- Connected products have just begun: connectivity to the internet will become a ’must-have’ feature for not only every consumer product, but an emerging array of broader products from healthcare equipment to home automation systems, resulting in billions of new connected products.
- On-chip RPUs: highly programmable communications 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 become fully 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.
Say Tony King-Smith, VP marketing, Imagination: “Imagination’s business has always been 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 power many of 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 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 500m devices shipped and 70% market share, while its 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 Compute to program them.
Imagination’s next generation PowerVR Series6 graphics architecture, codenamed ‘Rogue’, 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 next generation PowerVR GPUs will bring supercomputer class parallel processing to the mobile and consumer world, as well as stunning next generation graphics. PowerVR Series6 GPUs have already been selected by eight partners, with more engagements in the pipeline.
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 for the first time publicly in Japan 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.
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 all the communications functionality 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.
Other technologies disrupting markets from Imagination
Imagination will also be demonstrating technologies that will be driving other key industry trends including:
- Ray-tracing technologies for cinematic-quality interactivegraphics. 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
Expect Eight Wireless Trends In 2012 [Electronic Design, Dec 13, 2011]
Wireless connectivity has become essential to the way we live and do business today. There are about 6 billion cell-phone accounts worldwide for the 7 billion or so people on the planet. ABI Research estimates that cellular subscribers worldwide reached the 6 billion mark in 2011.
In the U.S. alone, cell-phone accounts outnumber the 312 million population. There also are more than 100 million smart phones enabled. And, both of those statistics are growing. Annual worldwide cell-phone sales totaled 1.49 billion units in 2010 and are expected to grow to 1.77 billion in 2016, according to research group OVUM.
The Rising Smart Phone
Traffic, Tablets, And Backhaul
New IP Methods
There is an ongoing movement from older cellular voice technologies to new Internet protocol (IP) methods. Smart phones use 3G and 4G LTE for data but still incorporate the older technologies (GSM, cdma) for voice. Ultimately, voice will be carried over the LTE systems.
The standards have not been fully established, nor is there one agreed upon method. Instead carriers are testing voice over LTE (VoLTE) and circuit switched fallback methods. Imagination Technologies of the U.K. believes its HelloSoft 4G voice over IP (VoIP) softwarewill help push VoIP as the ultimate standard.
The Internet Of Things
In The Cloud
Imagination launches HelloSoft 4G VoLTE platform and SDK [Oct 25, 2011]
4G World, Chicago, USA: Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications technologies company, is launching its HelloSoft 4G VoLTEsolution for smartphones, tablets, and mobile computing devices at 4G World 2011 in Chicago (24-27 October, stand 1430).
Imagination’s HelloSoft V.VoIP (voice and video over IP) SDK’s enable the most comprehensive multiplatform mobile device solutions in the world for delivering the full range of two-way real time communications including Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Voice Call Continuity (VCC) Video and Voice over IP (V.VoIP) and SMS over IP.
Imagination’s VoLTE solution is fully standards compliant with 3GPP Voice over LTE and IR-92 specifications, and incorporates award winning multiplatform HelloSoft VoIP technology featuring AEC (Acoustic Echo Cancellation) and NC (Noise Cancellation) to produce superior voice quality on 4G mobile devices.
Says Tony King-Smith, VP marketing, Imagination: “VoLTE is the future of cellular voice communications and is beginning deployment now. It’s exciting to see VoLTE open up a wide range of new use cases and capabilities for voice-based communications, evolving voice from basic audio telephony into a highly integrated capability permeating all aspects of smartphone functionality. We are excited by the prospects for Imagination’s technologies being at the forefront of this evolution.”
The HelloSoft V.VoIP SDK and VoLTE solutions are ideal for mobile device developers, OEMs and carriers. The products offer developers, OEMs and carriers outstanding voice quality over 4G LTE networks, and at the same time provide a path to rapid development of innovative next generation voice enabled applications.
Says Allan Johnson, general manager, HelloSoft V.VoIP at Imagination Technologies: “Carrier network interoperability can be very complex and achieving outstanding voice quality is difficult across varied network conditions. Furthermore, achieving highly reliable performance on a diverse range of mobile device chipset architectures is challenging. To solve this, we created easy to use APIs that are portable across Android, iOS, Linux and Windows operating systemsfor essentially ‘write once, run anywhere’ code while at the same time providing SDK implementations that are highly optimized across processor and modem architectures. Imagination’s HelloSoft V.VoIP SDKs and VoLTE solution are simply the most comprehensive high performance multiplatform solutions on the market for voice and video over IP on 4G mobile devices.”
Imagination’s HelloSoft voice and video over IP products also include field proven Dual Radio Voice Call Continuity (DR-VCC) technology with capability to support Single Radio VCC. Combined with the HelloSoft VoLTE solution, HelloSoft VCC enables seamless handoff of VoIP and circuit switched calls across 4G/3G/2G networks and also between multiple IP networks such as LTE, WiFi and WiMAX.
Imagination’s HelloSoft V.VoIP solution is also available as a complete turn-key client.
About HelloSoft V.VoIP
Imagination’s HelloSoft range of licensable IP includes comprehensive platforms for high quality, power-efficient VoLTE, VoIP, Video over IP and rich communications for multi-mode wireless and wireline devices.
HelloSoft technologies are ‘carrier-grade’ and deployed in millions of devices, built on years of engineering experience to ensure that they are ready for the most extensive of commercial network deployments, and are available for Android, iPhone, Windows and Linux platforms.
About Imagination Technologies
Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE:IMG) – a global leader in multimedia and communication technologies – creates and licenses market-leading multimedia IP cores for graphics, video, and display processing, multi-threaded embedded processing/DSP cores and multi-standard communications and connectivity processors. These silicon intellectual property (IP) solutions for systems-on-chip (SoC) are complemented by platform level IP and services, a strong array of software tools and drivers and extensive developer and middleware ecosystems. Target markets includemobile phone, handheld multimedia, home consumer entertainment, mobile and low-power computing, and in-car electronics.Its licensees include many of the leading semiconductor and consumer electronics companies. Imagination has corporate headquarters in the United Kingdom and US headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, with sales and R&D offices worldwide. See: www.imgtec.com.