|Aigo uses the Blackfin Processor to Optimize Performance, Power, and Development Time in a Dynamic Market with New PMP (Portable Media Player) models.|
Aigo, the Chinese consumer electronics giant, with headquarters in Beijing, was formed in 1993, and is today a market leader in China for products in the portable media player, mobile storage, and personal computer storage sectors. Formally known as Beijing Huaqi Information Digital Technology Co. Ltd., but better known worldwide by its Aigo brand, it has revenues in excess of $300M, and has seen growth rates of near 60% for the past 10 years. Aigo is expanding beyond Asia to develop a strong worldwide market for its products.
In Fall 2007, Aigo introduced two new PMP models, the Aigo E898 and F965R, that feature support for full broadcast resolution (D1) playback of RealVideo, and the RMVB (variable bit-rate) formats in addition to RealAudio, AVI, MP3, WMA, FLAC and APE. They refer to this functionality as "MP5" class media playback. Aigo is familiar with Blackfin since it has been using Blackfin processors from Analog Devices for a number of its media player devices. Zhang Yongfeng, general manager of the Multimedia Group, at Aigo says "Aigo has been depending on Blackfin processors for a number of media player applications because we can rapidly add and change features to respond to market opportunities. When we defined the latest products with the new RealVideo, RealAudio and RMVB playback, we were confident that Blackfin would provide the required processing power, time to market and battery life. Blackfin provides a strategic advantage to Aigo, by allowing us to quickly bring the highest quality products in the media player market to customers. We are very pleased with the outcome."
The Portable Media Player market is rapidly evolving from the humble MP3 player that was considered to be so revolutionary a few short years ago, through inclusion of video playback capacity of rapidly increasing size and quality and the addition of various other digital cameras, recorders and networking functions. Feature sets are being constantly updated, and some features and formats are closely tied to particular nations or regions. Many manufacturers are finding that the best design approach in such a dynamic market is to keep as much functionality as possible in software that is targeted to a platform that can provide a pleasurable user experience in terms of performance, while fitting into the market requirements of price, size, and battery life. The avoidance of fixed function hardware, and the use of performance-scalable processor, provide a multi-product, multi-regional platform that reduces development time and risk as product cycles shrink and new media formats and digital rights management schemes emerge.
|– Zhang Yongfeng|
General manager of the Multimedia Group, Aigo
Aigo credits the Blackfin with shortening time to market and reducing the risk in product design, since the inherent programmability of Blackfin allows for rapid development cycles. Aigo could have selected other hardware platforms, (and has used others in the past) but has found that Blackfin processors provide the best combination of high performance, low power, appropriate peripheral and communication ports, pricing structure and a vital partner network.
By the time that this article is published, Aigo will have introduced a new personal media player design based on the Blackfin 52x family of processors, optimized for mobile applications. The BF52x Blackfin processor combines high performance, power efficiency, and system integration to enable highly optimized designs without compromises. With built-in peripheral selectivity, the BF52x provides the greatest flexibility for today's most demanding convergent signal processing applications. With power consumption as low as 0.16 mW/MHz and performance up to 600 MHz, applications can now add greater signal processing performance without sacrificing battery life.
The Aigo E898 and F965R are the first PMPs to be able to display full D1 resolution video files encoded in the RealVideo and RMVB formats. Since the decoding of the video stream is done entirely in software, performance played a key role in the Blackfin design win at Aigo, but the choice of Blackfin is based on more than raw performance. Portable electronics manufacturers are acutely aware of every bit of current that is drained from the battery. The Blackfin solution shone because of its ability to modulate the clock frequency and supply voltage to meet changing performance demands, from maximum performance (if necessary) when actively decoding media streams, to low power standby modes, when waiting for the user to select the next task.
The Personal Media Player is continuing to evolve. There is worldwide demand for higher feature integration in future products. Lines are continuing to be blurred between existing devices, such as telephones, navigation systems, media players, and computers. Digital television, wireless communication of all types, from personal area and local area and satellite reception, and digital still and movie cameras are competing to be the 'next big thing' in the ultimate consumer handheld device. All of these trends point to even higher levels of processing performance, larger storage capacity, and greater power demand in a nearly fixed size device. Consumer electronics innovators, such as Aigo, will undoubtedly continue to find that the Blackfin 'sweet spot' of power, performance, peripherals and communication ports, price point and partner network is the place to look for solutions to address these opportunities.
For more information, visit Aigo.
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