PALO ALTO, Calif. ó Qualcomm will open up its Hexagon DSP core to third-party programmers and has been asked to license the block for others to use. It showed details of the part for the first time at the Hot Chips conference here.
"Everything needed to program Hexagon will be in a developer's kit on our Web site with a click-through license that will be rolled out starting at our Uplinq conference next week," said Lucian Codrescu, a senior director of technology at Qualcomm in a talk here.
Other chip makers have already approached Qualcomm seeking a license to use Hexagon which has had favorable performance reviews. So far the company has declined to license Hexagon. "We do not see that changing," said a company spokesman.
Qualcomm designs a variety of Hexagon DSPs for apps including audio processing, computational photography, gesture recognition, and sensor fusion. Most Qualcomm chips use a Hexagon core including the Snapdragon 800 which uses two of them, one for the modem and another for real-time media processing.
Hexagon uses a mix of VLIW and multithreading techniques. It sports a custom instruction set tuned for maximum parallelism.
The block is geared for power efficiency rather than single thread performance. It is among the best in low-power MP3 playback, said Codrescu.