ATI launches Imageon 2380 and 2388 graphics processors for cellphones

ATI expanded its 2300 series of standalone graphics processors for cellphones. The new models 2380 and 2388 are capable of running OpenGL ES 1.2 applications with a display resolution of up to 640x480, play MPEG4, H.263, H.263+, H.264 and Real Video with up to 30 frames per second (fps) in 352x288 pixel and play audio formats MP3, WMA, MIDI, Real Audio and AAC, among others.

The chips also support up to 5-megapixel digital cameras and can record digital video in MPEG4, H.263, H.263+, H.264 and Real Video with up to 30 fps and Stereo Audio.

The main difference between the two processors is the amount of integrated SDRAM - the 2380 comes with 16 MB, the 2388 with 8 MB memory.

While ATI claims that its Imageon processors are in currently 35 handset models and that the company has sold more than 100 million Imageon processors to date, we do not expect the 2380 and 2388 to appear in cellphones in the near future. The firm said it is sampling the processors at this time, which means that cellphones that integrate the chips could surface by the end of 2007. Cellphone manufacturers typically need 18 months to build a new graphics chip into their devices, develop the platform and bring it to market.

By the end of 2007, we expect a significant portion of the cellphone graphics market to have moved into the 3D space. According to recent rumors, Nvidia is prepping new chips as well and Imagination Technologies, an IP company that provides graphics chip blueprints to semiconductor firms such as Texas Instruments, will be upgrading its product line with capable 3D platforms well.