11/30/2004 - Helping portable digital audio manufacturers add functionality and reduce retail prices, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN) announced the availability of its most recent portable audio-focused reference design. The latest in a series of portable entertainment reference designs, the new production-ready design provides a complete hardware and software solution based on a 1 inch hard disk drive (HDD) with a capacity of 5 GB, that supports not only music but JPEG and MPEG-4 as well, enabling consumers to carry all of their digital music and photos with them wherever they go at a price they can afford.
Built around one of TI's advanced Digital Audio digital signal processors (DSP) and analog technology, the turnkey design enables accelerated development of portable audio jukeboxes under $250 retail that can operate for 15 hours on a single battery charge. The design enables manufacturers to combine audio and imaging on a color LCD screen, as well as offers QCIF resolution video playback, all in a form factor that is small enough and light enough to fit in a shirt pocket. In addition, the programmable platform enables OEMs to accommodate changing multimedia standards in software without requiring product redesign.
"The portable jukebox compressed audio player market has been reinvigorated by 1 inch HDDs," said Susan Kevorkian, senior analyst with IDC's Consumer Markets group. "Now, device manufacturers can offer exceptionally portable form factors, with 5 GB storage capacity, digital photo support and color displays, a winning combination for many music consumers." According to IDC's most recent compressed audio player market forecast entitled "Worldwide Compressed Audio Player 2004-2008 Forecast: MP3 Reaches Far and Wide" (IDC#31811, August 2004), portable jukeboxes will have a 57 percent worldwide compound annual growth rate during the forecast period.
The power-efficient, high performance DSP supports real-time processing of audio files and DRM technology simultaneously, while providing enough headroom for OEMs to differentiate their products with enhanced functionality. The new reference design also includes TI analog and power management technology and offers broad support for a variety of features and functionality, including:
"Today's portable entertainment devices must fit the consumer's lifestyle, as well as protect the needs of content owners," says Chris Schairbaum, worldwide manager of TI's Portable Audio and Infotainment business. "By supporting USB host, image and video decode, and DRM technology, TI offers manufacturers the essential tools they need to accommodate the changing digital entertainment market."
TI's new portable audio player reference design and complete manufacturing kit are available today from TI and Third Party Partners. MPEG-4, WMA encode, DRM and USB host support will be available in the first quarter of 2005. Local customization support is available worldwide from regional TI design partners.
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