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Texas Instruments Introduces $100 Million OMAP Investment Program

Texas Instruments (www.ti.com) announced that it will create a $100 million investment program to encourage third-party development around its OMAP (Open Multimedia Application Platform). The announcement was made by Tom Engibous, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments (TI), during his keynote address at the 3GSM World Congress.

"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." states Engibous.

Through the OMAP Investment Program, TI is prepared to make equityinvestments up to $100 million over the next 12 to 18 months to helpsoftware developers accelerate the creation and deployment of nextgeneration OMAP-enhanced wireless applications, Engibous said. The investment program will help third-party companies focusing in areas ranging from multimedia and security software applications to those focusing on developing tools, cores and reference designs. End equipment developers of wired and wireless phones and appliances are also targeted by the program.

"It is pretty much wide open. We don't want to create the killer app, but this funding should help find and develop that application, " states James Wainderdi, OMAP marketing manager at TI.

The program should help accelerate development in the slow funding market and help transform the much-hyped mobile multimedia revolution into reality. According to In-Stat, sales of Internet-ready wirelessphones will surpass 1 billion units annually by 2004, and Engibous noted in his keynote that to reach that goal, a solid foundation of hardware and software will have to be in place.

TI's OMAP architecture integrates software with a dual-core hardware architecture comprising a digital signal processor (DSP) and a TI enhanced ARM9 RISC processor on a single piece of silicon. TI states that the DSP-based OMAP core is designed 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.

Nokia, Handspring, Ericsson and Sony have previously announced that they will build their 3G Internet devices using the OMAP architecture. TI faces competition from chipsets designed by Intel, Lucent and Qualcomm.


Microsoft Hops on OMAP

Microsoft announced that it will be collaborating with TI to integrate support for Windows Media on the OMAP architecture. Microsoft states that this announcement is a continuation of its relationship with TI which begun in 1999 and helped Windows Media and DRM gain market share in the consumer electronics industry.

TI has previously partnered with both Real Networks and Packet Video to embed their streaming audio and video technology into the OMAP architecture.

The integration of all the various streaming codecs into the OMAP architecture should provide for a healthy competitive environment, although, Wainerdi states that the architecture was designed to be open and that simultaneous support of multiple codecs is likely.

Michael Aldridge, lead product manager at Microsoft's Digital Media Division Marketing, believes that TI will not favor support for Windows Media or Real, but will offer both as an option for the handset manufacturer to choose. Aldridge believes, however, that Microsoft will have an advantage as the one technology that currently offers a secure solution for both audio and video.

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