Friday, October 5, 2007

AMD Licenses Mobile Graphics Technology to Qualcomm

Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday said it had agreed to license mobile graphics technologies, originally developed by ATI Technologies which AMD acquired a little less than a year ago, to Qualcomm. The intention pushes graphics technologies to the market, however, it reduces AMD’s abilities to sell its Imageon graphics chips for handhelds in the long-term future.

“Qualcomm’s licensing of AMD’s industry-leading OpenGL ES 2.0 IP for integration into our chipset solutions allows us to continue our leadership in providing the highest quality graphics application experience in the industry. We look forward to seeing devices that leverage this technology to deliver the full potential of what wireless has to offer,” said Steve Mollenkopf, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm incorporate AMD’s industry-standard OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG 1.0 graphics core technologies in advanced Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chipsets, which are used in cost-effective mobile handsets with 3G technology.

The new generation Imageon mobile graphics architecture – which AMD licenses to various companies throughout the industry – features unified shader architecture in addition to native hardware acceleration for rendering vector graphics and flash-like applications. This architectural design delivers high-quality graphics, while consuming less power than either software rendering or rendering using a traditional 3D graphics core. According to AMD, this combination is unique for the company.

Advanced Micro Devices and Qualcomm did not disclose terms of the deal.

As a result of AMD’s mobile technology licensing spree, an untypical action of a company that sells microprocessors and other chips, ATI Imageon technologies will eventually be found in 2.5G/3G mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other portable wireless products with multimedia capabilities powered by ST Nomadic multimedia processors; portable media players, portable navigation, home electronics and automotive infotainment applications based on Freescale i.MX chips; and a variety of cell phones and other handhelds based on Qualcomm’s MSM chipsets. It remains to be seen whether there will be customers left interested to buy AMD Imageon mobile graphics chips.

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