CEVA DSP Technology Symposium: Reinforcing its market position
CEVA in mobile devices
Last week, Israeli DSP design company CEVA organized a 1-day symposium on Oct 16th in Hsinchu, Taiwan and on Oct 18th in Shanghai, China to promote its DSP technology to customers in the region. Partners of CEVA, including NXP Software, presented technologies and applications designed for CEVA DSP platforms.
CEVA has been a long-term player in the mobile DSP market. The company is most famous for its TeakLite 3 core, applied in many baseband modems and application processors such as Intel’s XMM modem series. The XMM baseband modems can be found in many 3G phones from Samsung and LGE of the last 3 years. According to Barbara Yu, CEVA’s country manager in Taiwan, CEVA achieved a worldwide volume market share of 43% in mobile handsets in Q1 2012.
TeakLite 4 combines low power with high performance
And now there is a new kid on the block. Earlier this year CEVA introduced the new TeakLite 4, a further optimized version of its successful predecessor. The TeakLite 4 offers a 30% power reduction compared to the TeakLite 3 thanks to its new Power Scaling Unit (PSU 2.0). Another important performance improvement is the ability to execute two 32×32 bit MAC operations or four 16×16 MAC operations per clock cycle, allowing audio, video and voice signal processing to run at double precision without sacrificing performance.
CEVA partner demonstrations
Various partners of CEVA used the symposium to present applications running on CEVA DSP cores. As a major voice enhancement supplier, NXP Software presented LifeVibes VoiceExperience, its voice processing engine for mobile devices. VoiceExperience has already been integrated in more than 500 million mobile devices and meets requirements from Network Operators, standards bodies such as GSMA, VoIP providers and OEM device manufacturers. The domain of speech processing has grown rapidly over the last few years from mobile phones (personal use at close distance) to tablets (handheld speaker mode) and will evolve further to home devices (long range speaker mode) and entire acoustic sensor networks (multiple connected devices).
Another great application demonstrated by eyeSight is gesture recognition technology, allowing you to control mobile applications completely ‘Touch Free’, as they call it. The live demo during the presentation went a little less smooth than the cool demo video on YouTube but nonetheless really impressive. Such MIPS-hungry applications are ideally suited for offloading the main Application Processor cores using a dedicated DSP.
From DSP core to complete mega IP block
CEVA’s VP of Marketing Eran Briman gave an interesting view on the DSP landscape. Consumers have increasing expectations of the user experience (UX) on their mobile devices, leading to increasing demands in terms on MIPS, battery power and overall system complexity. To cope with such increasing demands, Briman observes a general trend towards a distributed architecture of several mega IP blocks on the SoC such as multi-core APs, GPUs, all sorts of peripherals and baseband modems. This de-centralized architecture calls for localized DMA and local-aware IP blocks. Such a localized architecture allows entire mega IP blocks to turn dark when not in use to reduce the power consumption. As such, a trend can be observed from separate DSP cores to complete mega IP blocks (‘IP platforms’) combining various smaller IP blocks. Such holistic approach allows for an overall power reduction and makes IP blocks more future-proof.
Multiple solutions, same trend
With an ever growing complexity of SoCs, the demand for power efficient solutions for offloading general purpose ARM application cores is growing fast. Most hardware platform providers are following this trend, such as CEVA competitor Qualcomm. Their hugely popular Snapdragon S4 smartphone platform incorporates 3 Hexagon processors on the same die. Another example is the Israeli DSP company Tensilica. So far, Tensilica has been making most of its revenue in consumer electronics and automotive applications, but Tensilica is now entering the mobile market. The first design-in of their HiFi DSP core with Renesas Electronics was recently announced and we expect more announcements to follow. With the introduction of the new TeakLite 4 and the X- and XC-series DSP cores, CEVA is re-enforcing its position to maintain a strong foothold in a DSP market.