TOKYO — At Embedded Systems Expo here, NEC System Technology showed an evaluation board featuring what the company claims as the world's first intellectual property (IP) designed to play back content encoded in Adobe Flash Lite.
Adobe Flash Lite, a lightweight version of Adobe Flash Player, enables users of mobile phones and other portable devices to view multimedia content and applications developed using Adobe's Flash tools. Previously, Flash playback had been possible only on personal computers.
Flash makes it easy to develop rich media content and applications, such as a graphical user interface that takes advantage of gradation, alpha blending, anti-aliasing or vector-fonts rendering. But Flash playback often requires a number of processing steps, including floating point unit calculations.
Adobe developed Adobe Flash Lite by adding instruction sets specifically designed for mobile phones, while keeping the data it needs to handle to a minimum. However, playing back Adobe Flash Lite would still require a high-speed, high-power-consumption processor.
Shinji Aihara, manager of the LSI solutions group at NEC System Technology, said: "By using our new IP, one can design a portable device capable of processing Adobe Flash Lite several times faster, when compared with using a processor." NEC developed the IP for cell phones, car navigation systems, digital TV receivers and DVD players.
In its IP demonstration, NEC used a Xilinx FPGA--Virtex-4LX XC4VLX160. "In our evaluation board, we used an FPGA with an ARM bus. But we can customize it to [whatever] bus is preferred by our customers."
After reducing the number of gates required for an IC and further tuning the video quality output by Adobe Flash Lite, NEC will start offering its IP in August this year.
Yoichiro Hata is managing editor of EETimes Japan.