Qualcomm will open up its Hexagon DSP core to third-party programmers and may even license the block for others to use. It showed details of the part for the first time at the Hot Chips conference here.
“Everything needed to program Hexagon will be in a developer's kit on our Web site with a click-through license that will be rolled out starting at our Uplinq conference next week,” said Lucian Codrescu, a senior director of technology at Qualcomm in a talk here.
Other chip makers have already approached Qualcomm seeking a license to use Hexagon which has had favorable performance reviews. No licenses have been executed yet but, “stay tuned,” said a company representative.
Qualcomm designs a variety of Hexagon DSPs for apps including audio processing, computational photography, gesture recognition, and sensor fusion. The Snapdragon 800 uses two Hexagon cores — one for the modem and another for real-time media processing.
Hexagon uses a mix of VLIW and multithreading techniques. It sports a custom instruction set tuned for maximum parallelism.
The block is geared for power efficiency rather than single thread performance. It is among the best in low-power MP3 playback, said Codrescu.
To view more details of the architecture, go to “Hexagon Slide Show.”