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TECHNICAL ARTICLE
1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
STMicroelectronics (ST) has pioneered system-on-chip (SOC) integration to help customers
reduce cost and power consumption while improving reliability. At the same time, ST has been
at the forefront of the digital multimedia revolution, providing the consumer electronics industry
with highly integrated platform-based solutions.
As a leading supplier of integrated circuits (ICs) for mobile phones, ST also aims to make com-
pelling multimedia a practical reality for handheld devices. An intensive development effort has
led to an outstanding application processor that enables smart phones, wireless PDAs, Inter-
net appliances and car entertainment systems to playback media content, record pictures and
video clips, and perform audiovisual communication with other systems.
This new processor platform, called Nomadik, is a culmination of breakthroughs in video-cod-
ing efficiency, inventive algorithms and chip implementation schemes, and strategic collabo-
ration with leading companies in the mobile industry. The Nomadik platform offers device
manufacturers the following competitive advantages:
Ultra-low power consumption for longer battery operation,
Unsurpassed audio and video quality,
Easier application development for shorter time-to-market,
Scalability for multiple market segments and future multimedia applications.
In an ideal world, open hardware and software interfaces would encourage mobile product and
content innovation. The perfect mobile terminal architecture would be easy to program, use a
non-proprietary CPU, and be operating system (OS) and radio modem agnostic to give man-
ufacturers complete freedom to differentiate their products.
The Nomadik platform was developed specifically to enable this vision of an open mobile ar-
chitecture. Software development is simplified with high-level language programming on the
industry-leading, licensable CPU (ARM) architecture. This architecture includes Java accel-
eration for efficient run-time execution and is supported by a comprehensive development
tools environment.
A shared framework with open application-programming interfaces (APIs) allows multimedia
plug-ins to run across supported products. ST defined these standard interfaces in partnership
with other industry leaders to reduce development efforts and shorten time-to-market. Physical
layer abstraction decouples application software from the underlying platform architecture.
This permits rapid, technology-driven Nomadik platform evolution without sacrificing perfor-
mance or code interoperability.
The Nomadik platform raises the standard for mobile multimedia performance and enables in-
genious products that bring real value to the end user. Furthermore, the open Nomadik plat-
form is defined by shared standards, protocols, and interfaces to stimulate mobile innovation
and market growth.
Nomadik - Open multimedia platform
for next generation mobile devices
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2 MOBILE LANDSCAPE
Today there are more than one billion mobile subscribers worldwide. Voice services continue
to drive the market, but the industry is rapidly moving toward a voice + data model replacing
circuit-switched networks with packet-based networks that can deliver media content and new
applications. The introduction of rich, interactive multimedia promises to make mobile devices
more intuitive to use. An interesting, usable interface is especially important for small format
devices to engage subscribers and keep them online.
The transformation of the familiar voice phone into a diverse spectrum of personal application
devices with multimedia capabilities has begun. Already some phones and wireless PDAs of-
fer streamlined versions of popular operating systems, full-color screens, built-in cameras,
smart card and media storage ports, music players and video decoders. Now mobile users can
access e-mail and corporate intranets, exchange pictures and download ring tones and graph-
ical games from the worldwide web. Handsets are used for on-line payment in some parts of
Europe, mobile entertainment is widespread in Japan, and position locating is coming to Amer-
ica for safety, information, and tracking.
Advanced voice applications like voice recognition, voice browsing, text-to-speech and voice-
over-IP are starting to appear. In the not-so-distant future, mobile users will be able to visually
monitor their homes, children and traffic routes, as well as receive multimedia information in
the form of short video clips with news and sports highlights, sample music and TV/movie pre-
views.
3 STMicroelectronics
ST is a global, independent semiconductor company ranked third overall for 2001 by Gartner-
Dataquest. Our company has sustained profitability even during times of cyclical industry
downturn, and out-performed the market (CAGR) ever since its formation in 1987. ST has con-
sistently ranked as a top three supplier of ICs for consumer electronics, mobile phones, com-
puter peripherals, automotive systems and smart cards.
Figure 1. ST strengths for new generation mobile products
Audio/video codecs
DSP for audio
CMOS sensors
Imaging technology
Videoconference
MMS
GPS
Voice synthesis
and recognition
Location
services
Flash
HDD
Optical
Personal information
management
Smartcard and
biometrics
Mobile internet
ST leader in digital consumer
And
But also
Plus
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As one of the largest independent device manufacturers (IDM) in the world, ST is a founding
partner with Philips, Motorola, and TSMC in an R&D program for 90-, 65-, and 32-nanometer
CMOS technologies at ST's Crolles2 300 mm wafer facility in France. This unprecedented four-
way alliance redefines the industry model for deep sub-micron CMOS process development.
Leading SOC integration and performance is achieved with state-of-the-art semiconductor
technologies and hardware-plus-software co-designed with innovative algorithms for enhanc-
ing image quality and compression, radio spectrum utilization and battery life. ST holds more
than one hundred issued patents related to transform coding alone, with two hundred and sev-
enty additional patent claims pending.
Over 200 million ST decoder chips (audio and video) have been shipped to date. Our company
was the first to develop a discrete cosine transform (DCT) chip in 1988, a motion estimation
processor in 1990, and a fully integrated video MPEG-2 decoder, the STi3500A, in 1993.
Today ST is strongly positioned with the following key IP and products for mobile multimedia
terminals:
CMOS image sensors,
Audio/video/graphics,
LCD and OLED controllers,
Flash and EEPROM memory,
Embedded DRAM memory,
Smart card and encryption,
Bluetooth radio,
MEMS sensor and accelerators,
Energy management,
Biometric verification,
Voice recognition,
Cellular modem (RF + BB),
Integrated passive components,
Protection devices,
GPS chipset.
ST is a major supplier of Flash memories, having been among the first companies to introduce
1.8 V dual-bank devices. ST Flash memories, tailored for mobile terminals, offer fast reading
and programming, increased data security and multi-bit cell technology for high-density multi-
media storage.
4 OPEN PLATFORM STRATEGY
Many manufacturers are understandably wary of a platform that locks them into a proprietary
CPU architecture or vendor technology. Different devices will have different architecture and
software requirements, and no one knows which products and services will capture the new
market for mobile data. Rather than propose another conflicting proprietary processor archi-
tecture, ST offers a platform that is open in the following ways:
A licensable, 3
rd
-party CPU that is the standard for mobile devices,
A rich set of peripherals and broad operating system support,
Open, well-documented APIs to facilitate software development,
Expandability for adding application co-processors as needed.
ARM is the 32-bit CPU-of-choice for mobile devices, with industry-wide application support.
Nomadik's main CPU is the licensed ARM926E-JS core. Its 32-bit instruction-set (v5TE) in-
cludes Java acceleration for efficient run-time execution.
The Nomadik platform supports a shared software framework that offers open, standard APIs.
The upper view of this framework allows application code to be developed on a layer of ab-
straction, without making direct calls to the underlying physical platform. This means applica-
tions only need to be written once for different and future products. Secondly, it allows
seamless migration of ST IP in hardware and software, since the Nomadik design is transpar-
ent to the applications it is running.
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The Nomadik platform offers manufacturers an open multimedia platform that enables choice
of IP and roadmap flexibility. This is accomplished with distributed processor architecture,
high-value audio/video subsystems based on open standards, and an open software frame-
work for writing multimedia plug-ins that run on different supported products.
5 PARTITIONING BETWEEN HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
Mobile multimedia presents conflicting demands for very high performance and very low pow-
er. Good compression requires lots of computation, but making a processor run faster con-
sumes more power. Fifteen frames-per-second videoconferencing on a 160 x 160 display
requires more than 1.3 billion operations-per-second. By comparison, most PDA displays are
320 x 240 pixels or larger and hence even more demanding in terms of performance.
Operating at a slower frequency reduces power consumption. One way to reduce clock speed
with less impact on performance is to take advantage of data-level parallelism in image coding
algorithms by using single-instruction-multiple-data (SIMD) instructions. Another way is with
very-long-instruction-word (VLIW) architectures that can simultaneously execute multiple op-
erations per cycle. Certain media processors combine a host CPU (RISC) with a DSP or VLIW
core that functions as a SIMD/Vector engine.
5.1 PC approach
PC performance is synonymous with CPU speed and complexity. Doubling clock speeds is not
the answer for battery-operated devices, however, since energy consumption is directly pro-
portional to processor frequency.
5.2 Pure software approach
Software codecs are common for the PC, but their drawback for portable devices is clear.
Common CPU and CPU+DSP processor architectures need higher clock frequencies to exe-
cute more operations per second. Pure software video encoding is too computationally inten-
sive if picture quality, frame rate and battery life are important. For this reason, the most
advanced mobile application processors are augmented with hard-wired extensions (instruc-
tions) and algorithm co-processors to gain video processing efficiency.
For most RISC CPUs and DSPs, hand coding in assembler is often required to achieve de-
sired levels of performance and code density, particularly for mobile devices like cell phones
with stringent size and cost constraints. However, assembler programming is a big liability
whenever code portability and time-to-market are a priority. The Nomadik processors embed-
ded DSP cores are therefore fully programmable in C.
5.3 Pure hardware approach
Dedicated hardware can be used to execute real-time tasks that are too power-hungry for CPU
or DSP execution. Hard-wired logic lowers frequency (power consumption) and software de-
pendency (latencies and performance degradation), but at the expense of software upgrade-
ability and short development cycles.
5.4 A better approach
The challenge is to offer outstanding multimedia capabilities and performance with the least
expensive, easiest to develop, lowest power components available. Since neither hardware
nor software is completely satisfactory alone, ST selectively combines both for the best possi-
ble trade-off in terms of efficiency and flexibility.
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ST distinguishes between the world of battery-operated personal devices and the perfor-
mance-driven PC world where one-size-fits-all. Portable handheld systems require optimiza-
tion for low cost, low power, miniaturization and reliable performance. This moves application
processors center stage instead of processor speed. Application IP is algorithm-specific as
well as technology and standards dependent. This favors a distributed processing architecture
with separate, scalable application subsystems, instead of monolithic processor architecture
like the PC. Nomadik processors save power by avoiding the need for high clock speeds in
most situations, although it has a lot of CPU speed if required.
6 ARCHITECTURE
Most application processors are single ARM CPUs or DSP+ARM combo architectures. These
monolithic and split architectures can only do so much without increasing clock frequencies
and data movement between the processor(s) and memory. So designers augment them with
acceleration hardware to create video-adapted versions.
The Nomadik platform has instead a distributed-processing architecture with programmable
smart accelerators engineered for real-time application processing. These smart accelerators
operate independently and concurrently as needed to ensure the lowest absolute system pow-
er and deterministic performance.
Nomadik processors feature an ARM926EJ-S CPU, on par with the fastest mobile application
processor. But this main CPU spends much of its time in power-saving modes while the smart
accelerators handle all audio and video functions (including pre/post-processing). This frees
the CPU for control and program flow tasks for which it is better suited. The Nomadik proces-
sor roadmap includes additional smart accelerators that perform one or more application func-
tions and include a DSP core, dedicated hardware or both.
Figure 2. Nomadik distributed processing model
C-programmed smart accelerators
PAN/WAN Location Video Audio 3D/2D Security
ARM926
main core
System memory
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6.1 Nomadik hardware
The Nomadik architecture is based on a multi-layer, AMBA crossbar interconnect that max-
imizes the data bandwidth between the CPU, multimedia accelerators, system memory and
peripherals, as shown hereafter.
The Nomadik peripheral set supports high-level operating systems, like Symbian, Linux and
Windows CE.NET, and the external interfaces required for mobile multimedia applications
such as LCD, MMC and secure digital cards and external audio codecs.
The ARM926EJ-S host-CPU is a powerful, 32-bit RISC core that can typically run at 350 MHz
in ST's 0.13-micron CMOS process. The core includes a memory management unit (MMU),
32 Kbytes of instruction cache, 16 Kbytes of data cache, a 16 x 32-bit multiplier capable of sin-
gle-cycle MAC operations, and strong real-time debug support.
The ARM926EJ-S includes ARM's Jazelle technology for Java acceleration. ARM exten-
sions execute the 139 most frequently used Java byte codes in hardware plus 88 more in soft-
ware. At run time, hardware acceleration is typically achieved about ninety-five percent of the
time. The remaining five percent of less frequently used Java byte codes are executed by an
optimized Java virtual machine (JVM) written to work with the Jazelle hardware.
Figure 3. Nomadik architecture
6.2 ARM926 features
32/16-bit RISC architecture with industry standard AMBA bus AHB interfaces
16-bit Thumb instruction set for increased code density
DSP instruction extensions and single cycle MAC
Highly efficient byte Java code execution: 0.075 mW/CaffeineMarks, 6 CM/MHz = 2100
CM @ 350 MHz)
PLLs
Power
management
I-cache D-cache
JTAG/trace
ARM926EJ
DDR SDRAM
controller
NAND/NOR Flash
controller
Multichannel DMA
controller
eSRAM
buffer
Secured
RAM/ROM
Smart audio
accelerator
Smart video
accelerator
Watchdog
Timers
RTC
System
controller
Interrupt
controller
SSP
GPIOs
UARTs
MSPs
(AC97, IS, SPI)
Flash-card interface
FIrDA
ICs
Color LCD controller
Display interface
USB-OTG
Camera interface
Bridge
Bridge
Modem interface
Security toolbox
TV output
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7 DISTRIBUTED PROCESSING WITH SMART ACCELERATORS
The H.263 and MPEG-4 video standards define decode and bit-stream syntax only, the mini-
mum needed to specify profile/level interoperability. Although encode and post-processing are
both critical to the subjective quality of decoded video, neither is standardized, allowing vendor
differentiation. This means that H.263 and MPEG-4 compliant codecs may exhibit large per-
formance variations. STs experience in video codecs makes the difference.
The current Nomadik chip features two smart accelerators for audio and video processing. The
audio accelerator is a fully C-programmed DSP core and the video accelerator is a hybrid of
hardware and software. These Nomadik accelerators perform ultra low power picture genera-
tion and video recording, content playback, and two-way audiovisual communication. Suffi-
cient processing horsepower and memory bandwidth is available to drive VGA-format screens
(640 x 480 pixels). These sophisticated accelerators operate autonomously with local DMA
and memory resources to free up the main CPU to run applications concurrently or be powered
down to prolong battery life.
7.1 VLIW DSP core
Smart accelerator programmability for media-related processing, protocols, load balancing
and multiplexing schemes is provided with ST's commercially proven multimedia digital-signal
processors (MMDSP+). This tiny 175-MHz embedded core includes the following features:
1 cycle per instruction execution,
fully synthesizable,
fully C-programmed,
16/24-bit fixed-point data mode,
32-bit floating-point data mode,
2-level instruction cache.
7.2 Acceleration hardware
Hardwired operators are used in conjunction with the MMDSP+ to further reduce power dissi-
pation and guarantee deterministic performance, even under worst-case conditions. Low fre-
quency hardware performs key operations such as motion estimation, transform coding,
variable length decoding, image filtering, and color conversion. Since Nomadik processors are
able to decode or encode up to VGA resolution video, they are the perfect low-power multime-
dia processors for a wide range of portable products. Future smart accelerators will likely in-
clude hardware for services like 3-D graphics, data encryption and biometric verification.
7.3 Smart video accelerator
An important platform consideration is the memory requirement for video encoding and decod-
ing, up to 1200 Kbytes for CIF display and grab buffers. The first way to significantly reduce
memory size and power consumption is to develop an intelligent motion estimation algorithm
that minimizes the search window size for the best macro-block candidate and corresponding
motion vector.
Nomadik supports up to VGA video encoding with 48 Kbytes of on-chip SRAM, used for video
frame grabbing and search window storage, while external memory is used for residual video
processing. This boosts performance (lowers memory latency) and reduces power consump-
tion (I/O and bus) and cost (die size).
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Figure 4. Nomadik smart video accelerator
7.4 Smart audio accelerator
This accelerator uses a second MMDSP+ that runs an extensive digital audio software library.
A few of the many audio software functions available are listed below.
Figure 5. Nomadik audio smart accelerator
ST is also working closely with leading middleware and OS vendors to optimize their solutions for
the Nomadik platform. This work includes transport protocol and video scalability mechanisms
that are used for smooth streaming over error-prone, variable-throughput wireless channels.
Data
RAM
Instruction
RAM
MMDSP+
Slave AHB
Xbus
Picture post
processing
Video
codec unit
Picture input
formatting
DMA
Local data bus
Master
AHB
Interrupt
controller
and clock
generator
Host data bus
Serial/CCIR656
video interface
Accelerator
data bus
Smart video accelerator capabilities
MPEG-4 codec up to CIF @ 30 fps and 384 Kbit/s.
MPEG-4 real-time encode or decode up to VGA @ 24 fps.
H.263 real-time encode or decode up to CIF @ 30 fps.
JPEG baseline still picture encoding.
Picture pre/post -processing.
Host
registers
Timer
External
interrupts
GPIO
Slave AHB
YKx24
YRAM
XKx24
XRAM
MMDSP+
Instruction
cache
ARM
DMA
interface
Ybus
XDbus
DMA
I-cache
DMA
Master
AHB
Xbus
Xbus
Digital audio decoders
MP3
MPEG-1 Layer I and II
MPEG-2 Layer II
MIDI
MP3Pro
Dolby Digital and more
Digital audio encoders
MPEG-1
MP3 and more
3-D audio surround effects
SRS
WOW
Incredible sound
Circle surround, and more
AAC AAC
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8 SOFTWARE FRAMEWORK
Compelling, affordable and interactive multimedia communication, information and entertain-
ment will result in the widespread proliferation of new mobile services. But rewriting such ap-
plications for disparate wireless platforms can present a daunting challenge for software
vendors and device manufacturers. Run-time technology like Java supports downloaded
games and applications but requires programming resources. Interesting multimedia applica-
tions present an even greater resource and energy challenge for small format devices like cell
phones.
A practical way to overcome platform fragmentation for interesting multimedia is with a com-
mon framework of open multimedia interfaces based on hardware abstraction. This framework
offers upper and lower views. The upper view provides application writers with a set of uniform
software interfaces for a given OS and abstracts the underlying processor design. The lower
view is a set of standard hardware interfaces for common application peripherals (such as LCD
controllers, image sensors, or cameras)
Figure 6. Software framework diagram
Player,
camcoder
Gaming
Messaging
PIM
Browser
Other uses
Communication infrastructure
Telephony
Java
Security
framework
Multimedia framework
(audio, video, pictures)
Multimedia accelerators
and audio/video codec
(including MP3, AAC, Midi,
MPEG-4, H264)
Communication interfaces
(including UARTs, USB,
Bluetooth)
Peripheral interfaces
(including LCD, camera,
memories)
Telephone
Networking
Operating system
(including kernel, device drivers, file system)
High-level client API
Low-level API
User interface
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9 MIPI ALLIANCE FOR MOBILE STANDARDS
The mission of the Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Alliance is to speed deploy-
ment of new services to mobile users by establishing open standards for hardware and soft-
ware interfaces to mobile application processors, and encouraging the adoption of those
standards throughout the industry. The non-profit making MIPI Alliance was founded in 2003
by ST, along with ARM, Nokia and TI. Members include handset manufacturers, semiconduc-
tor companies, hardware peripheral manufacturers, operating system vendors, middleware
vendors and software application developers.
The common objective is to simplify the design and implementation of hardware and software
by driving consistency in application processor interfaces, promoting reuse and compatibility
in mobile devices. This interface standardization will speed the development efforts of mobile
device manufacturers, giving them maximum application software portability and wider avail-
ability of optimized peripheral devices like LCDs, cameras, and communications ICs.
10 LOW-POWER DESIGN
The potential Achilles heel of mobile processors is their power consumption. According to the
SIA Technology Roadmap (2002 update), maximum battery power and capacity have in-
creased 10-15% annually while mobile system power requirements have increased 35-40%
annually. As a result, we are seeing an increasing gap between chip demand for power and
battery technology capability.
Figure 7. Power requirements versus energy density
Three things contribute to CMOS digital circuits' energy consumption: current leakage, volt-
age, and clock frequency. Although Moore's Law has been fairly accurate predicting that pro-
cessor power will double every 18 months, the additional MIPS are not free. The law relies
upon the total number of processor transistors that increase as silicon geometries shrink. Un-
fortunately current leakage escalates with smaller geometries and power consumption is di-
rectly proportional to processor frequency and to the square of voltage. Leakage, high
voltages, and fast clock speeds all contribute to shorten battery life.
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Nomadik's amazingly low power dissipation is the result of a systematic approach to reduce
energy consumption (for longer battery life) at all design levels:
Distributed processing: independent smart accelerators dramatically off load system
resources like the host CPU. For example, only 0.2 MIPS (0.07% of CPU headroom) is
used to decode a QCIF 15 fps video stream.
Algorithm: Nomadik implements algorithms for motion estimation, bit-rate control and
image stabilization that reduce computation, memory size and memory bandwidth.
Instruction set architectures: The host CPU includes the 16-bit Thumb format for
sub-word operation and high code density, while the MMDSP+ executes energy-effi-
cient VLIW instructions.
Smart accelerators:
Video hardware and MMDSP+: Low-frequency, hardwired operators for MIPS-inten-
sive pixel calculations plus a power-efficient MMDSP+ core for fast packet-level
processing, error concealment and task control for load and latency optimization.
Audio MMDSP+: Two-level instruction cache that reduces external memory accesses
and power consumption for MP3 decoding approximately sixty percent.
Bus bandwidth: One way to store and access less data is to perform image scaling at
the sensor before compression. Additionally, a special lossless compression across
the system bus is used to further reduce switching activity of the lines.
Embedded memory: Nomadik system memory includes ROM with secure access and
SRAM used as a cache buffer for grabbing video frames and doing window searches.
This SRAM reduces memory latency, I/O power consumption and on-chip bandwidth,
especially during video encoding.
Java acceleration: The goal of run-time software is to fully exploit computational re-
sources in a way that yields efficient performance. Direct execution of Java byte codes
on the ARM926 CPU uses less power and silicon than conventional JVM, JIT compiler
and co-processor approaches.
Power management: Aggressive power management keeps the ARM926 CPU in
power-saving modes as often as possible; IDLE (standby), DOZE (slow clocks) and
SLEEP (near static). Clock-gating and operand isolation are used to turn off inactive
parts of the chip. To reduce static current (leakage), the whole Nomadik chip (except
RTC and PMU) can be powered off and reawakened in less than three milliseconds.
Design methodology: SOC designers try to minimize total power dissipation and cost,
while meeting system performance targets. Extensive algorithm modeling, hardware/
software co-simulation and RTL synthesis were used to engineer the Nomadik platform
for low power.
Silicon technology: Power-per-gate reduction is a key technology driver. Power dis-
sipation increases with the square of voltage, making voltage the culprit at gate-level.
Nomadik is implemented with a low voltage (1.2 V logic), 0.13 micron CMOS process.
Special high-Vt transistors extend battery life and standby time by lowering off-state
leakage, while low-Vt transistors are selectively used where performance is critical.
Device packaging: ST also offers innovative packaging including memory stacking
with ST Flash to further reduce power and board footprint.
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11 TOTAL IMAGING SOLUTION
Mobile carriers around the world are rolling out multimedia messaging services (MMS) that al-
low users to send pictures and moving video clips between their phones. Most market re-
search firms and analysts expect MMS to show strong annual growth over the next five years.
In addition to Nomadik processors, ST offers a comprehensive set of digital camera compo-
nents such as CMOS sensors, coprocessors and camera controllers. The Imaging Division of
ST has shipped an impressive 30 millions sensors and more than 25 million image coproces-
sors that perform state-of-the-art color image signal conditioning for mobile application proces-
sors like Nomadik.
Figure 8. Image reproduction chain
The ST product offering includes the entire image reconstruction chain for image sensing, pro-
cessing, display control and media storage. These products support end-to-end mobile opti-
mization for capturing, sending and receiving sharper pictures and video clips more
economically and power efficiently.
ST CMOS sensors, with resolutions up to 1.3 million pixels, consume one-third the power of
equivalent CCD sensors at the system level and provide an ultra-low power standby mode and
low EMI characteristics. ST display engines integrate an abundance of advanced features in
the smallest, most cost-effective package. High density ST Flash memories combine a multi-
ple bank architecture, 1.8 V power supply voltage and a synchronous burst read mode that
increases the performance of smart phones and wireless PDAs.
The Nomadik platform is a central part of an extensive ST mobile product portfolio for small-
format, fixed-power devices. This ST portfolio is the most comprehensive in the industry, and
includes GPS chipsets, BlueTooth radio ICs, RF and baseband cellular ICs, protection devic-
es, and a lot more.

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12 EVOLVING SYSTEMS INTEGRATION
12.1 Baseband interface
Modular design and economics often favor the use of multiple ICs, even when monolithic inte-
gration is achievable.
Wireless designers keep trying to jam more bits into narrow bands of spectrum to increase net-
work capacity (bits/sec/Hz). WCDMA (3G) algorithms, used to gain higher spectrum utilization,
require ten times more signal processing than GSM (2G). It is often stated that Shannon's the-
orem outpaces Moore's Law. Furthermore, baseband architectures are now being taxed with
multi-band/multi-mode processing, higher RF (total radio) integration and computationally in-
tensive speech (recognition) and voice (VoIP) applications.
The computational demand for image compression and graphics rendering will also keep in-
creasing as multimedia content and services evolve. Current VLSI technology and design
techniques presently limit SOC implementation of MPEG-4 to the very simplest profiles. How-
ever, there are many higher MPEG-4 profiles available and emerging new video standards
with more complex features.
For now, ST has separated the radio modem function from the Nomadik processor so that
each can evolve independently at its own rate. The advantages of modem-independence are
as follows:
Application development and scalability
Unification of telephony and multimedia processing in a single chip binds application
development and integration with the radio architecture. This is undesirable because
major operators require extensive product interoperability testing in cabled labs and on
live networks with different infrastructure. Modem independence decouples Nomadik
processors from the mobile network for easier, continuous evolution.
Modem risk and cost
The consumer features that differentiate mobile products do not require baseband re-
placement. Modem independence extends the life of a radio design, lowering amor-
tized cost. Most OEMs want to keep their baseband chipsets and telephony protocol-
stack as generic as possible to reduce risk and time to market.
Vendor and feature choice
Perhaps the most compelling reason for modem independence is freedom of choice for
phone makers who want to differentiate their products. Sole-sourced solutions limit
product differentiation and may increase supply risk and price. Modem independence
allows Nomadik processors to be used selectively in product models for any market
(wireless standard and spectrum band) and price range.
The unique distributed processing architecture of the Nomadik platform will naturally enable
baseband modem integration as 2.5/3G radios mature and become commodities. Until then,
the Nomadik processor roadmap will keep offering product differentiation with richer multime-
dia capabilities and longer battery use.
12.2 Wireless connectivity
As for the baseband modem, open interfaces support communication with ST and third-party
wireless PAN (BlueTooth), wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g), and position location (GPS) chipsets.
Again, this flexibility gives manufacturers the freedom to choose their own mix of connectivity
solutions across their product line.
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13 SUMMARY
The Nomadik platform is not just another processor architecture re-targeted to mobile multi-
media. Rather it was developed from the ground up as a comprehensive hardware plus soft-
ware platform that enables easy product differentiation, faster time-to-market and greater
independence for terminal makers.
The industry's leading mobile CPU, popular OS support, and open interfaces ensure broad in-
dustry compatibility. Distributed processing using flexible smart accelerators supports evolving
compression standards and delivers images that scale from a Smartphone display to a VGA
flat screen panel.
The Nomadik processor roadmap includes faster CPUs and new smart accelerators with con-
vergence technologies for future applications. Furthermore, ST's proven excellence in plat-
form-based design and audio/video technology ensures unsurpassed scalability and
multimedia quality that manufacturers can always count on.
Information furnished is believed to be accurate and reliable. However, STMicroelectronics assumes no responsibility for the consequences
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