SAN JOSE, Calif. – Graphics processor designer Imagination Technologies Group plc launched at the Embedded Systems Conference its FlowWorld, a set of products for helping embedded developers quickly deliver cloud services for their devices.
FlowWorld includes a new variant of Imagination's MetaFlow processor IP, geared to handle host and digital baseband functions. The block provides a standard Wi-Fi link to the company's FlowWorld portal which hosts a range of services from product registration and software updates to streaming media and subscription services.
"The idea is we are supplying an end-to-end service for small customers in embedded systems and consumer electronics," said an Imagination spokesman.
The processor is a 32-bit block supporting up to four threads and derived from the company's existing UUCP technology. It uses the company's own instruction set including support for digital baseband functions and DSP instructions.
The IP block supports Android, Linux or Imagination's own MeOS, an embedded RTOS. Toumaz Technology has implemented the block using two cores and threads in its Xenif 2 chip used in a demo at ESC.
Initial services on the FlowWorld portal include access to a payment service, digital music and Internet radio. Imagination's Pure division has already launched the Pure Lounge cloud music service based on the portal.
Imagination charges royalties for its MetaFlow processor IP as well as fees associated with use of the portal. They vary based on unit volumes and the market served. Average IP block royalties for the company are about 30 cents.
The company claims at least 500 million devices now use its IP cores, including 400 million graphics cores, its primary business. Imagination will roll out its next generation graphics core the PowerVR series 6, aka Rogue, later this year. It is focused on enabling easier multicore scaling.
"We see with Rogue the ability to go to any market, including fixed consoles," said the spokesman.
ST Ericsson has already announced it will license the core, details of which have yet to be released. Apple and Renesas are already shipping dual-core versions of the company's existing SVX core, and Sony has announced it will ship a product using four of the cores.