When executives at ATI Technologies Inc. took a hard look at the cell phone market early in 2003, they concluded the time was right for 3-D technology. "The cell phone market is no different from the PC or notebook markets in many respects," said Azzedine Boubguira, director of marketing for the handheld group at ATI (Markham, Ontario). "If anything, it's moving much faster than the PCs or notebooks ever moved."
Armed with the belief that the cell phone market was on a fast track, ATI executives early last year embarked on development of the graphics accelerator now known as the Imageon 2300. By mid-2003, they were demonstrating prototype technology for partners and customers.
Boubguira acknowledges that potential customers weren't initially sure if the technology had a future. "It wasn't an easy task," he said. "We had to convince people that there was light at the end of the tunnel."
ATI, he said, is betting that low power, as opposed to high performance, will be the key to success. To meet that need, the company's 3-D accelerator has a power draw of about 75 milliwatts.
"You can have the Cadillac of 3-D devices, but if your phone dies after one hour because it's drawing too much power, nobody will want it," Boubguira said.
Charles J. Murray