Sonarics Labs Bases Digital Radio Receivers on Blackfin®

Blackfin® Drives a Digital Revolution
For more than a century, radio has been delivering entertainment and information to virtually every household, workplace and automobile in the world. As we have all witnessed the analog to digital transition of cellular phones, cameras, PCs, computer networks, wireless devices, television and other media, radio is starting a revolutionary movement in the same direction. With a growing broadcasting backbone in place featuring Eureka-147 DAB in 25 countries and IBOC (In Band On Channel) digital terrestrial broadcasting system in the U.S. along with two satellite systems now launched, the challenge to provide the best digital radio receiving devices has been sparked. Sonarics Labs and Analog Devices, employing the technological imperatives of ADI's Blackfin® family of products, recognized an opportunity to lead this revolution with programmable micro-architecture that combines control and high performance signal processing into a single core.

A New Level of Price/Performance
Whenever leaders enter new arenas, challenges are always at their highest levels. In developing the technologies to create the best multimedia receiver on a single chip, with their MediaSwap™ architecture, StateAware™ technology, and ClearSignal™ receiver, Sonarics Labs was no exception to this rule. They were facing a variety of challenges including a need for low cost components, low power consumption and the flexibility to take the radio from audio receiver into a rich featured, wireless multimedia player. Sonarics looked to Analog Devices to partner with them in finding the solution that would hit the mark for their future customers, OEM and radio vendors who need an integrated package of all software technologies associated with modern digital radio receivers. Without the Blackfin® DSP technology, it was necessary to deploy two or more chips, or a single IC with several cores and with that a mixed development environment of compilers, debuggers and emulators. They found this scenario was cost prohibitive, lacking in flexibility and unable to deliver the sophistication of multi-media services required to accelerate their customers into the future of digital radio.

ADI Blackfin® Products Provide Momentum for Mass Market Adoption
Sonarics Labs made some very critical decisions at the beginning of their design cycle. Their engineering team, with solid expertise in software design, coupled with their decision to use the Blackfin DSP products, saved them from realizing unnecessary costs that would have proved to be devastating had they waited until the end when time-to-market pressure is at its highest point. The Blackfin architecture offered the perfect blend of high performance, ease of use and low power generation. Additionally, the pin compatible roadmap of ADSP BF531, BF532 and BF533 allows Sonarics to offer multi-featured products that hit price/performance goals while leveraging a single HW design. They can now accomplish their goals of providing a multi-functional digital radio receiver providing not only digital functionality but also CD and MP3 playback, legacy radio functionality, sound processing as well as car navigation. "For us, ADI is clearly the innovation leader in programmable micro-controllers," explained Yossi Liron, Sonarics CTO and chief design engineer. "Their integrity and chip reliability in addition to the platform offering they provided will help us enable the transition of digital radio from the early adopter market to the mass market."

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