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Jan. 17, 2011: RCR Wireless News

Imagination Technologies Shows Off Mobile Graphics Prowess with 5x Performance Boost

Imagination TechnologiesMost people probably haven't heard of the firm Imagination Technologies, but with the firm supplying the IP for around 80% of the world's mobile graphics, you might want to sit up and pay attention.

Imagination Technologies has long been the darling of the world's largest semiconductor firms and manufacturers, from Intel, Texas Instruments, Renesas, Samsung, Trident, Sigma, Toumaz, and others. Indeed, the firm designs much of the SoCs (System on chip) for most of the aforementioned.

System on a chip is all about mobile. Years ago, firms realized it was highly inefficient to be bunging in a bunch of different chips into a tiny device, so they put their heads together and came up with a single chip solution, for the most part, Wi-Fi excluded.

"If you're going to be mobile, you have to have integration," Imagination Technologies' David Harold told RCR Wireless News in a recent interview. "You can't have a whole bunch of different chips in a device, it's power inefficient, it's bandwidth inefficient, it's cost inneficient."

Even Wi-Fi will eventually be sucked into SoC, says Harold, and that may be sooner than you'd think.

When it comes to modern day SoCs, however, Imagination Technologies leads the way, especially in terms of 3D graphics and 3D UI.

"We do graphics in a way nobody else does," Harold boasts, showing off demos of how the firm has helped bring console class graphics to the mobile phone and tablet.

Of course, Imagination customers like Intel obviously could design their own graphics for mobile, but as Harold explained to us, it's less risky and more cost efficient for the super semi to outsource the work to IP firms like Imagination.

Also, whereas Intel may have decades of experience in the PC space, Imagination Technologies' tech was devised with mobile in mind, not simply scaled down from a power hungry PC model. That makes it far more power and bandwidth efficient from the outset.

"And yes, we scale up," said Harold, anticipating our question and announcing that his firm would be ready for the tablet onslaught. Not just tablets, either, with Harold noting that set top boxes, netbooks and "ultimately higher than that," would all become part of Imagination's portfolio very soon indeed.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the firm was already showcasing its latest IP for graphics, video, processor and communications, with some embedded graphics products showing a purported 5 times performance boost from the best current generation devices.

The firm was also showing off key technologies from its newly acquired family members HelloSoft and Caustic, including advanced video-VOIP and ray tracing technologies, which are really on the cutting edge.

And with the market for highly integrated graphics, video and connectivity becoming a multi-billion unit opportunity as multimedia and communications become ubiquitous in modern CE devices, we don't see Imagination slowing down any time soon.

Check out our video here:

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