As wireless communications technology expands to encompass the Internet, it will bring entirely new dimensions to users' Internet experiences, said Tom Engibous, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN), in a keynote address today at 3GSM World Congress. "Wireless will be the catalyst for applications that deliver high-speed services to users in real-time, whenever they want it, wherever they are."
"Many of us believe the mobile Internet will be big. Few of us can predict exactly where it will go and what applications will be most important to consumers. We need to accommodate applications that encompass the human ability to dream and innovate." To accelerate the creation of these OMAP-enhanced software applications for advanced, next-generation mobile devices, Engibous unveiled TI's $100 million OMAP(r) Investment Program. "TI believes in the promise of high-speed wireless, and we're committed to helping make the mobile Internet a compelling reality." (http://www.ti.com/sc/omapinvest)
Mobility is Next Step in the Internet's Evolution
"Adding mobility is the next major step in the Internet's evolution, and it enables entirely new applications," Engibous said. "The wireless Internet will combine real-time signal-processing technologies such as streaming video and audio, location-based services, speech recognition, mobile e-commerce and security into single applications."
Engibous noted how wireless communications technology has also evolved. The first cellular phones were bulky, unreliable and offered an unacceptable quality of service by today's standards. TI worked with major handset manufacturers in the 1990s to enable second-generation wireless phones that offered more functionality, better reliability and sound quality, and quantum increases in battery life -- all within a device that can fit in a shirt pocket. As equipment and services improved, usage and subscribers grew at tremendous rates.
"TI believes that all the developments we've seen so far are just the beginning," Engibous said. "More than 600 million people use wireless phones today. Even so, the functionality and style of 2.5 and 3G handsets will bring a quantum leap forward in the years ahead." The TI chairman also pointed out that wireless phone users today have grown accustomed to reliable cell phones that work instantaneously. "The winning products and applications in the future must deliver this same quality and reliability," he said.
Delivering compelling real-time applications on reliable, energy-efficient devices will drive the future growth of wireless communications and the mobile Internet. According to In-Stat, sales of Internet-ready wireless phones will surpass 1 billion units annually by 2004.
Reaching those projections will require a solid foundation of hardware and software, Engibous said. Toward that end, TI has worked for several years to establish the OMAP architecture, a combination of software and a dual-core hardware architecture comprising a digital signal processor (DSP) and a TI enhanced ARM9 RISC processor. The DSP-based OMAP core is architected to handle both modem functions as well as the intensive signal processing required by 2.5G and 3G applications, such as speech recognition, security algorithms and streaming video and audio. The end result is a powerful, energy-efficient platform that supports all 2G, 2.5G and 3G wireless standards.
"In the age of a mobile Internet, the end-user's experience will begin and end with communications. What happens in the middle is services and content," Engibous said. "The OMAP architecture makes it possible. The first standard OMAP product is sampling today and will be in production later this year."
OMAP Investment Program to Accelerate 2.5G and 3G
Through the OMAP Investment Program, TI is prepared to make equity investments up to $100 million over the next 12 to 18 months to help software developers accelerate the creation and deployment of next generation, OMAP-enhanced wireless applications, Engibous said. The investment program will target investments in software developers and technology partners who want to create new software and hardware, which can then be used on OMAP-compatible devices.
The OMAP architecture allows developers to easily access the DSP's capabilities while focusing the majority of their attention on innovative wireless applications. Furthermore, OMAP is software code-compatible with TI's DSP-based digital baseband, which is used today in about 60 percent of all digital wireless handsets shipped worldwide. TI's first standard product based on TI's OMAP architecture is available today and also was unveiled this week at 3GSM World Congress.
The OMAP architecture is the de facto standard for 3G, as leading manufacturers including Nokia, Ericsson, Sony and Handspring have already selected it for their next-generation, wireless handsets and mobile Internet devices. Today, Symbian's EPOC operating system, Microsoft Window's CE operating system, Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Micro Edition platform are endorsed and supported on the OMAP processor. In addition, TI recently announced partnerships with PacketVideo and RealNetworks to embed streaming audio and video technology into the OMAP architecture, and just yesterday TI and Microsoft unveiled OMAP wireless processor support for Windows Media. Work with these three partners, combined with TI's DSP-enhanced multimedia capabilities, makes the OMAP application processor the premier multimedia engine for 2.5 and 3G wireless devices.
"The promise of high-speed wireless and the mobile Internet requires a platform that addresses the need for reliability, quality of service, coverage, price and innovative applications," said Engibous. "TI's programmable DSP-based OMAP architecture uses hardware and software to claim that promise and make it a reality."