IBM, Montavista products reduce power in consumer electronics

1/15/2003 - IBM and MontaVista Software Inc. announced a combination of technologies that could significantly extend battery life in consumer electronic products. The companies have shown that pairing the IBM PowerPC® 405LP embedded processor with MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition (CEE) may reduce processor power consumption as much as 50 percent. This could translate to an estimated 20-percent overall power savings in a wide range of products such as smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), helping extend battery life and reducing their size and cost.

Limited samples of the IBM PowerPC 405LP are available now from IBM and volume production will be available in the third quarter of 2003; MontaVista Linux CEE is expected to be available from MontaVista Software in the first half of 2003.

"As pervasive computing becomes increasingly prominent in today's mobile world, enhanced low-power solutions that conserve precious battery charge are a critical customer requirement," said Lisa Su, director, PowerPC and emerging products, IBM Microelectronics. "From the architectural efficiency of PowerPC to the dynamic voltage and frequency scaling which we enable together with MontaVista Software, IBM is focused on delivering the underlying technologies to meet these needs."

The announcement is part of an ongoing effort by IBM and MontaVista Software to develop improved power saving techniques using what the companies call "Dynamic Power Management," specifically developed with the needs of power-sensitive embedded applications in mind.

"With this joint effort, MontaVista Software continues its track record of cutting-edge technology development and delivery. We are leading pioneering efforts in Open Source to enable embedded Linux systems to leverage the advanced power management in next-generation processors from leading chip suppliers like IBM, " said Kevin Morgan, vice president, Engineering, MontaVista Software.

Power management has traditionally focused on the reduction of power consumption in computer systems by placing them into static modes such as sleep and suspend when not in use. Dynamic Power Management techniques are designed to save power automatically, even as the system is in use, without requiring any action on the part of the user. For example, in the small amount of time between frames of an MPEG4 video clip, voltage can be ramped down and back up in time to handle the next frame, saving energy between each and every frame of the video.

White Paper Available
As part of the IBM, MontaVista power management efforts, a white paper titled "Dynamic Power Management for Embedded Systems" has been released for public access and to invite comment for interested software developers. The white paper proposes to standardize a dynamic power management and policy framework to support different power management strategies, either under control of operating system components or user-level policy managers. While dynamic power management has been the topic of research for many years, only recently have processors become available that could take full advantage of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling. The white paper can be found at:

About the IBM PowerPC 405LP
The IBM PowerPC 405LP embedded processor is a 32-bit RISC processor offering high performance and ultra-low power for a wide variety of power-sensitive embedded applications, including mobile phones, PDAs and handheld computers. Using IBM's customer chip-making techniques, additional features can also be added to the PowerPC 405LP to adapt the device to other applications. IBM's low-power offering can help reduce the cost and time required to design new products, opening the door to all types of connected consumer electronics.

About MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition
MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition 3.0 (CEE), announced last week, is the first Linux operating system and cross-development environment specifically designed for consumer electronics applications such as mobile phones, digital televisions, set-top boxes and automotive telematics. CEE enhances Linux with dynamic power management, rich consumer-focused networking support and consumer-grade reliability. CEE targets consumer device specific CPUs such as the Texas Instruments OMAP1510 and OMAP5910 Innovator and the IBM PowerPC 405 LP, with others to follow. It forms the foundation of solution stacks from software partners in key vertical mobile, home and automotive markets. CEE is tailored to the demands of highly constrained mobile devices, which require low power consumption, restricted memory size and short boot and resume times. CEE 3.0 incorporates file system enhancements and new tools to measure performance, system timing and memory size. MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition supports XIP (eXecute In Place) of the kernel and applications as well as streaming media optimizations. It integrates with consumer market middleware such as the J2ME compatible WebSphere Micro Environment from IBM, and graphics packages such as QT/E from Trolltech and MontaVista Graphics.

About IBM Microelectronics
IBM Microelectronics is a key contributor to IBM's role as the world's premier information technology supplier. IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor, ASIC and interconnect technologies, products and services. Its superior integrated solutions can be found in many of the world's best-known electronic brands. IBM is a recognized innovator in the chip industry, having been first with advances like more power-efficient copper wiring in place of aluminum, faster silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and silicon germanium transistors, and improved low-k dielectric insulation between chip wires. These and other innovations have contributed to IBM's standing as the number one U.S. patent holder for nine consecutive years. More information about IBM Microelectronics can be found at:

About MontaVista Software
MontaVista Software is a leading global supplier of systems software for intelligent connected devices and associated infrastructure. MontaVista powers the embedded revolution by providing GNU/Linux-based open-source software solutions. Founded in 1999 by real-time operating system (RTOS) pioneer James Ready, MontaVista offers a family of products under the MontaVista Linux umbrella that address broad-based software developer needs encompassing applications ranging from communications infrastructure to consumer electronics. Multiple Editions of MontaVista Linux are available including Professional, Consumer Electronics and Carrier Grade along with complementary technology products providing powerful Java and graphics development capabilities.

Headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Sunnyvale, Calif., MontaVista Software is a privately held company funded by leading investors such as Alloy Ventures, US Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, WR Hambrecht + Co., IBM, Intel Capital, Sony, Panasonic (Matsushita), Toshiba America and Yamaha Corporation. For more information about MontaVista Software, please visit

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