Friday, September 23, 2005

Will Mobile Trends Affect Handset DSPs?

The 3G Portal reports on the latest research from ABI Research that identified the following four major trends that will affect mobile handset digital signal processing:

  1. Transition of cellular protocols to 3G and 4G standards
  2. Advanced multimedia such as video conferencing, 3D gaming and graphics, and mobile TV
  3. Wireless connectivity technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Ultrawideband, and WiMAX
  4. Efforts to improve link margins and communications quality
Alan Varghese at ABI Research nopted there were two pathways: evolutionary or disruptive and revolutionary. He siad, "The evolutionary path involves increasing reliance on hardware accelerators and coprocessors to offload the DSP's work. But this approach might run into problems: it is going to be too complex to support all the hardware required for all the protocols mentioned above. A hardware-centric architecture also precludes quick adaptations to new requirements."

ABI Research sees revolutionary promise in new software-defined architectures as they finally become viable in the handset. "Considering that the mobile phone DSP is approximately a $5 billion industry, current market leaders may need to start looking over their shoulders," Varghese concluded.