Motorola Multimedia Processor Enables Next Wave in Communications Devices

Motorola Multimedia Processor Enables Next Wave in Communications Devices


Consumers want more from their mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) than connectivity and address books. They want superior mobile multimedia experiences combined with long battery life. Additionally, crystal clear video quality, smart liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and the peace-of-mind that information is being stored and securely delivered to its intended destination will be “must-have” features in future handheld devices. Motorola Inc.’s Semiconductor Products Sector is creating this future and in its tradition of wireless leadership, is bringing these benefits to market today with its advanced i.MX21 applications processor.

The most recent addition to Motorola’s i.MX family of applications processors based on the ARM926EJ-S™ core, the i.MX21 makes the communications devices of tomorrow, including the videophone, a reality today. i.MX21 continues to build on the company’s best-selling family of applications processors, of which more than 50 million have shipped to-date. The i.MX21 not only enables smart LCD displays and exceptional video – including multitasking capabilities to simultaneously watch a video while sending an email – it also delivers longer usage times, plug-and-play connectivity with Universal Serial Bus On-The-Go (USBOTG) as well as enhanced security technology for online banking and payments, and other secure transactions.

“Our continued commitment to enabling the most advanced mobile devices on the market is evident in our cutting edge i.MX21,” said Franz Fink, vice president and general manager of Motorola’s Wireless and Mobile Systems Group. “Our advances in video, security and connectivity technologies allow us to deliver a breakthrough solution that offers consumers the features of the future without compromising the battery life or performance of their mobile devices.”

The i.MX21 offers designers and consumers the latest features and capabilities they demand, without compromising on any of the standard mobile device functionality.

Enhanced Video

Optimized for mobility, consumers can watch exceptional quality videos for a longer time than ever before. Designed with the multi-tasking person in mind, the i.MX21 helps ensure that the mobile device can run multiple applications simultaneously, without affecting performance. For example, a user can watch a video and send an email to a colleague commenting on the video without interrupting video in play.

Additional video features include:

– Support for real-time MPEG4 and H.263 encoding and decoding of images up to CIF or QVGA at 30 frames per second which is ideal quality for video conferencing;

– Ability to support Windows Media™ Player and other industry-leading players;

– Pre-processing for color space conversion and image re-sizing for viewfinder display;

– Post-processing for de-block, de-ring, image re-size and color space conversion to create a sharper, clearer image regardless of format.

Smart LCD Displays

The i.MX21 enables smart LCD displays which save battery life and help eliminate the need for users to constantly recharge their devices. A traditional or “dumb” LCD does not have memory or a controller integrated, which requires a separate controller and memory for buffering the image. This, in turn, means that the “dumb” display must be constantly refreshed, as it cannot identify if an image has changed or not – eating away at performance and battery life. By enabling a smart LCD display with its own controller and memory integrated, the display can analyze when and if an image has changed – only refreshing when the image changes and ultimately saving battery life.

Enhanced Security

Optimized for secure mobile communications and transactions, the i.MX21 addresses consumers’ concerns about M-commerce; carriers’ concerns about unauthorized software, configuration protection and theft of services; as well as content providers’ concerns regarding digital rights management. The i.MX21 includes a security framework comprising both hardware and software elements that enable the fundamental cryptographic operations required for a wide range of security services and applications. Specific security system elements enabled in the i.MX21 include support for trusted computing, secure internal and encrypted data storage, a hash accelerator and memory management. These cryptographic operations employed in the i.MX21 lay the foundation that supports a complete spectrum of security services and applications ranging from low value transactions, the protection of embedded technology and other assets, and secure high value transactions required by enterprises worldwide.

Smart Speed

The smart power management of the i.MX21 enables wireless device users to benefit from high performance functionality with extended run times. Three power modes in the i.MX21 – run, doze and stop – and an advanced power management architecture including effective system clock distribution, low current leakage control, and frequency change on the fly, let users focus on what’s important, rather than recharging their devices.

USB On-The-Go

Consumers are able to connect their mobile devices directly to peripherals, such as printers, keyboards or mice, without having to connect to a PC environment. This provides ease of connectivity while consumers are on the go, and also offers a less expensive alternative to an external module through a dedicated OTG port for an external OTG transceiver.

Exceptional Graphics

Users are offered a great experience watching video and running graphics-intensive applications such as 3-D gaming. The i.MX21 elevates overall systems performance through a bus master interface which reduces the overhead to external multi-media coprocessors such as those from ATI Technology, Inc. Advanced graphics software standard APIs such as Mobile Java™ 3D and OpenGL-ES as well as 3-D software engines such as Superscape®, HI Corp., Fathammer™ can also be supported.

“The best performing mobile devices have the ability to deliver to consumers a rich combination of multimedia and handheld computing that do not adversely affect battery life. Mobile device designers need applications processors with the right mix of performance, power efficiency, flexibility and reliability,” said Max Baron, principal analyst with In-Stat/MDR. “With an ARM core that can be clocked at 400MHz, multimedia acceleration, security, and scalable voltage-frequency power management, the new i.MX21 will attract the attention of OEM designers.”

Pricing and Availability

The i.MX21 is sampling to alpha customers today with general availability expected in the first quarter of 2004. Production pricing is projected to be a suggested retail price of less than $20 (USD) in 10,000 piece quantities.

Motorola’s i.MX family of processors offers designers a comprehensive platform solution. i.MX processors feature a comprehensive suite of software including Microsoft® Windows® CE, Palm OS®, Symbian OS™ and Linux operating systems, and reference designs designed to greatly accelerate the creation of next-generation mobile communication products. As part of Motorola’s Innovative Convergence™ portfolio of platforms, the i.MX family is also at the heart of the i.Smart smartphone reference design – a fully integrated solution for smart handheld devices. Engineered to allow manufacturers to develop cost-effective wireless-enabled smart handhelds with a full range of capabilities, such as digital image capture, file sharing, wireless connectivity, e-commerce using smartcards, multimedia entertainment and more – i.MX offers a low component count, long battery life, and exceptional performance for additional applications and features. For more information, go to

The i.MX family is supported by the iAlliance program which allows designers to promote products based on the ARM core technology, leveraging many Motorola resources including the opportunity to work with Motorola on cross-promotional activities. For more information, go to