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In September, Imagination Technologies Group reported that, following its July 2007 announcement of an initial license agreement with an international electronics systems company, this company has now concluded a new multi-year, multi-use license agreement that gives the company (suspected, but not confirmed, to be Apple) access to Imaginationâ€™s current and future PowerVR graphics and video IP cores. As a result of this new agreement, it is expected that Imaginationâ€™s IP cores will feature in a number of new SoCs to be used in this companyâ€™s future products, the company says.
PowerVR graphics technology is based on a concept called Tile Based Deferred Rendering (TBDR). In contrast to Immediate Mode Rendering (IMR) used by most graphics engines in the PC and games console worlds, TBDR focuses on minimizing the processing required to render an image as early in the processing of a scene as possible, so that only the pixels that actually will be seen by the end user consume processing resources.
This approach minimizes memory and power while improving processing throughput, but it is more complex, according to Imagination Technologies Group. â€¨The company creates and licenses embedded graphics, video and display accelerators, multi-threaded processors and multi-standard receiver technologies.
These IP solutions are complemented by dynamic and extensive developer and middleware ecosystems. Target markets include digital radio and audio; mobile phone multimedia; personal media players (PMP); in-car navigation and driver information; personal navigation devices (PND); Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) and Mobile Internet Device (MID); digital TV & set-top box; and mobile TV. The iPhone and most other mobile devices use a version of Imagination's PowerVR MBX graphics processor core that supports features of OpenGL ES 1.1.
"By gaining exclusive access to new generations of mobile graphics technology from Imagination's portfolio and pairing them with custom-designed SoCs, Apple can differentiate its products from other smartphones and mobile Internet devices with an edge in performance while offering full support for industry standard OpenGL ES graphics," notes AppleInsider. "It should also be noted, however, that the door is open for Apple to incorporate future versions of Intel's Atom line of mobile processors, which also incorporate Imagination's PowerVR graphics cores."