Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Broadcom Enters Applications Processor Market

Broadcom made its entry into the applications processor market with a system-on-a-chip that combines the Broadcom VideoCore multimedia processor and an ARM11 applications processor.
The device is aimed at mobile phones and other portable devices with video and camera capabilities at price points affordable to mainstream consumers.

Key features of the new BCM2820 applications processor include support for an 8 mega-pixel digital camera, MPEG-4/H.264 VGA video decoding at 30 frames per second, video encoding at 30 frames per second, and NTSC/PAL TV output via composite, component and S-video connections.

It integrates standard interfaces with tightly coupled software drivers and stacks to support a wide range of wireless interfaces, including Broadcom's 3G EDGE, WEDGE and HEDGE cellular baseband processors, 802.11x wireless LAN processors and Bluetooth solutions.

The new application processor chip is based on Broadcom's VideoCore video-processing engine. The programmability of VideoCore technology enables developers to program or re-program different applications in software, rather than requiring new chip designs for each new mobile product. What differentiates the new device from previous Broadcom products is the integration of an ARM11 embedded microprocessor core that serves as the host processor for advanced mobile device applications such as email, web browsing, file management and graphical user interfaces. Broadcom's embedded ARM core runs at up to 300MHz, but when coupled with up to 6 billion instructions per second of multimedia processing in the VideoCore processor, it typically needs to run at only less than 200MHz. In fact the BCM2820 runs as low as 10MHz during full H.264 video playback, for better power consumption performance.

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