Momentum is building around the need for embedded systems to connect to each other with a PC serving as host, with two top chipmakers putting their weight behind USB On-The-Go (OTG).
Cypress Semiconductor Corp. today will unveil a pair of USB OTG-compatible chips for mobile and nonmobile devices. And Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Products Sector has become the latest to license a USB OTG core from TransDimension Inc.
Cypress said its EZ-Host and EZ-OTG devices address growing desire for the "embedded host" capability that prompted USB backers in 2001 to hammer out the USB OTG supplement.
"There are systems that don't necessarily need the bells and whistles of USB OTG, but that do want to be a USB host without going through a PC," said Brian Booker, manager of embedded host products at Cypress, San Jose. "The capability has been around for a few years, but the introduction of the OTG supplement really sparked this market."
Indeed, in the past year, Trans-Dimension, Irvine, Calif., has landed licenses for its USB OTG core with top semiconductor companies including ATI Technologies and Qualcomm.
Last week, Motorola SPS said it plans to integrate the core in an application processor for PDAs and cellular handsets to enable direct connections to digital cameras, printers, keyboards, MP3 players, and CD-ROMs.
Cypress, meanwhile, has been shipping the SL811HS, which allows devices to act as either a USB host or peripheral, though the functions are not dynamically swappable as with USB OTG, Booker said.
The EZ-Host (CY7C67300) and EZ-OTG (CY7C67200) devices that are being introduced today can serve both roles, depending on the application, he said. Both chips are compatible with USB OTG and support USB 2.0 at speeds of 1.5 and 12Mbits/s.
EZ-Host is designed to address multiport systems, such as set-top boxes, print servers, wireless access points, and kiosks. EZ-OTG addresses handheld systems, such as cellular handsets, PDAs, MP3 players, and digital still or video cameras that need a single USB port.
Both devices contain a 16-bit RISC engine, based on a proprietary processor gained in Cypress' 2001 acquisition of ScanLogic Corp., Burlington, Mass. Cypress has contracted with Red Hat Inc. to develop a PC-based tool suite to support the processor, Booker said.
"In the past, the embedded host had to be hooked up to a separate embedded processor," he said. "This will allow us to be at the center of some applications and be a co-processor in others."
EZ-Host has two configurable USB serial interface engines (SIEs), each with two USB ports. EZ-OTG contains two USB SIEs with one port each and a power-boost circuit that operates down to 2.7V. Both have 16Kbits of RAM and a configurable I/O block.
Beta samples and development kits are available. The CY7C67300 ships in a 100-pin TQFP for $4.99 in 10,000-unit quantities; the CY7C67200 is available in a 48-ball FBGA for $3.99 in quantities of 10,000.