TI Reference Design Enables $99 Digital Still Cameras (DSC)

Guided by its deep understanding of digital camera architectures and systems, Texas Instruments Incorporated (NYSE: TXN) (TI) has leveraged its world-class DaVinci(TM) technology to introduce an optimized digital still camera (DSC) silicon with a production- ready reference design. The technology includes a highly flexible processor, software with enhanced post-processing algorithms and development framework; the reference design includes a suite of development tools, software and technical support. This combination will offer an exceptional increase in the core and advanced features to design digital cameras priced as low as $99. The new digital media processor based on DaVinci technology offers the optimal combination of video and imaging functionality for the low-end digital camera market, providing up to 75 megapixels (MP) per second of hardwired performance. In addition, a flexible software pipeline to enable original design manufacturers (ODMs) to easily and efficiently incorporate differentiating features that truly set them apart in such a competitive consumer market.

“ODMs require more than just high-quality silicon and software to bring competitive products to consumers quickly,” said Chris Chute, research manager, IDC. “With this latest release, TI once again proves its commitment to the entire digital camera market by encapsulating years of engineering effort into a reference design and expanding their reach to satisfy the needs of the low-cost camera market.”

Up to 75 MP per second performance translates to lower latency when taking pictures and the ability to provide advanced image processing to significantly improve image quality, enabling consumers to capture the perfect shot every time. For example, shot-to-shot delay for a 6 MP image is significantly reduced from several seconds, down to less than 0.8 seconds, with full noise filtering, red-eye removal and other image enhancements active. In burst mode, consumers will also be able to capture twelve 6 MP images in one second, bringing SLR performance to low-cost point-and-shoot DSCs.

DaVinci Technology Permits Increased Product Differentiation

ODMs now have the ability to bring new levels of product differentiation to the low-end digital still camera market. Building from a firm foundation of enhancements available from TI and its third parties — including noise filtering (high ISO 3200) for low-light environments, video image stabilization, instant red-eye removal, in-camera editing functions, panoramic stitching and print from video, to name a few — ODMs can easily add their own proprietary processing, such as advanced white balance or auto focus algorithms, to give their products a sharp competitive edge.

“TI has focused on the high-end camera market in the past, but with the introduction of this new DaVinci technology and reference design, TI is now bringing its expertise to the low-cost camera space,” said Marcelo Vieira, general manager, digital camera solutions group, TI. “This reference design will allow customers to quickly create multiple cameras to offer to consumers in a very short timeframe.”

TI’s low-cost camera reference design includes all the hardware and software required to bring a digital still camera to production, including the digital media processor, LCD, imager subsystem, power subsystem, support for DDR1/DDR2 memory, 8-16 bit NAND Flash and a rich set of peripherals. The new media processor based on DaVinci technology consists of an ARM(R) core plus imaging accelerators, offering a highly optimized solution for the low-cost DSC market. The cost-optimized reference design has been designed from a modular perspective, enabling ODMs to easily spin off multiple designs using the same base platform.

DaVinci reference software from TI includes enhanced post-processing algorithms such as video stabilization and noise filtering, integrated peripheral drivers, chip support libraries, video and audio codecs, image tuning tools, camera-specific algorithms, application programming interfaces (APIs), graphical user interface (GUI) development tools and a development framework. The new reference design is also backed by an expansive suite of development tools, system software, technical support and TI’s systems expertise, and includes TI’s MSP430 microcontroller (MCU), the industry’s lowest power MCU, audio codecs and power management components. With TI’s production-ready digital media software and development tools, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have the tested and proven tools they need to focus on product differentiation instead of the development and debugging of components.

TI’s new DaVinci technology-based digital media processor, which is also ideal for low-end end equipments such as digital photo frames and webcams, is sampling today and expected to be available in production in the first quarter of 2007. The turnkey digital still camera reference design is expected to be sampling in the fourth quarter of 2006 and expected to be available in production in the first quarter of 2007.

The portfolio of products based on DaVinci technology includes processors, software, tools and support, addressing digital video requirements across a range of applications. For more information on TI’s DaVinci technology, please go online.

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers’ real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Educational & Productivity Solutions business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries. Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN.

DaVinci is a trademark of Texas Instruments.