Texas Instruments recently hosted anOMAP developers conference and exhibition in Nice which saw twenty-five application developers demonstrate advanced wireless applications such as enhanced multimedia messaging, location-based services, games, speech recognition, mobile e-commerce and security using TI's OMAP family of processors for 2.5 and 3G mobile phones, wireless PDAs and mobile Internet appliances.
By working with these members of the OMAP Developer Network, TI is helping to create wireless communications centric applications.
The companies demonstrating applications included:
– Audio – Beatnik
– Games – Fathammer
– Location based services –ISMAP
– Technology provider –M-systems
The OMAP Developer Network is a group of software developers writing wireless applications for 2.5 and 3G mobile devices. They use a variety of tools and support to enable application development for leading operating systems and programming languages, plus the opportunity to collaborate with other developers.
TI's open, scalable OMAP platform has been selected by Nokia, Ericsson, Sony, Sendo, LG, Acer, HTC and others for their 2.5 and 3G wireless devices.
The OMAP platform is a family of advanced wireless modem and application processors for 2.5 and 3G wireless handsets, PDAs and advanced mobile Internet appliances. They support high-level operating systems and programming languages, including Symbian, Microsoft Windows CE, Java, Palm and Linux, and leading wireless communications standards.
The OMAP platform is scalable and upward code-compatible to provide developers with access to all segments of the wireless market. At the high-end of the market, developers typically use a high-level OS in an open applications environment. These 2.5 and 3G devices have multimedia-enhanced applications, such as interactive gaming, security/encryption, mCommerce, video streaming, Internet audio and video calls.
The DSP-based OMAP1510 processor is optimised for enhanced multimedia application performance while delivering longer battery life. It combines a low power TMS320C55x DSP core with a TI-enhanced ARM general purpose processor. It also includes an optimised software architecture which enables designers to make use of the dual core processing.
Software developers for the middle tier market also use a high-level OS and open application environment as in the high-end market. However, the middle tier devices enable simple multimedia applications such as mixed multimedia messaging, video clip playbacks and over-the-air synchronisation with an address book and calendar. The OMAP7 10 processor is targeted at this market and combines communications and applications processing on a single chip for basic multimedia applications. It uses the TMS320C54x DSP and ARM processor.
Last October, TI announced the TCS2500 chipset, which is a complete 'antenna to applications' solution and OMAP7 10based reference design and this is also suitable for use by the middle tier market.
As part of the OMAP Developer Network, TI provides developers with a suite of services. It offers technical support, including tools, as well as business development services and investment opportunities to help ensure success for developers. The company works with leading developers on channel development, marketing and promotion programs and strategic relationships.
With the recent introduction of Independent OMAP Technology Centers (see story below), developers will have access to a broad range of systems integration expertise, development training and products like reference designs and compilers.
Through a $100million OMAP Investment Program, TI is hoping to further accelerate the creation of software applications for advanced, next generation mobile devices.
The OMAP platform is designed to be easy-to-use for programmers developing software applications for next-generation wireless devices. Standard multimedia application programming interfaces (APIS) provide for quick introduction of new applications with robust performance.
OMAP Media Engine developers produce and license media engine software modules that can be integrated into high-level applications for added differentiation. By leveraging the DSP-based OMAP 1510 processor, media engines can be optimised for multimedia enhanced performance and longest battery life.
Through the OMAP Developer Network, media engine software components will help OMAP Application Developers create differentiated applications such as speech, video, audio, security and gaming, without any DSP programming experience. OMAP Application Developers can incorporate these media engines into their applications to improve performance and functionality.
OMAP Application Developers write high-level applications for wireless devices using standard APIs for familiar operating systems. They typically use high-level programming languages such as C/C++, and Java.
An example of the development work done through the OMAP Developers Network is shown by collaboration between BitFlash and TI to provide a mobile scalable vector graphic (SVG) technology on the OMAP platform. The Reflexis SVG technology allows handset manufacturers the ability to render and transmit scalable interactive graphics and animations such as mobile postcards, as well as create a graphical user interface.
Reflexis is already used for processing wireless graphics, video imaging, and data, and will give developers the opportunity to leverage OMAP for XML/SVG a W3C approved open standards approach. The resources required by a content provider to deliver a richer experience are said to be in the order up to 75 times smaller using the BitFlash mobile SVG solution over other current available methods.
Applications can be developed once and deployed across a number of mobile devices without adding networking overhead or sacrificing performance. And, unlike bitmap-based imaging, where files are closed and difficult to manipulate, vector-based imaging allows developers to programmatically create and control images. This allows the delivery of animation, scaling of buttons and other GUI elements, and also layering of information.
Applications requiring dynamic updates, like stock charts, and status diagrams for monitoring industrial systems, can also benefit from the technology. Legacy data and templates can be aggregated on the fly to deliver real-time information predictably on any device re gardless of screen size, colour capabilities, OS or network.
TI adds two more OMAP Technology Centers
TI has added two companies to its worldwide network of Independent OMAP Technology Centers.
These extend development support and training capabilities for developers who use TI's OMAP processing platform. By collaborating with TI, system integrators Digia and Teleca will assist wireless handset manufacturers to deliver next-generation wireless devices, and enable Symbian OS software developers create multimedia-rich wireless applications.
Helsinki-based Digia creates personal communications technologies and solutions for the next generation wireless information devices (WIDs), such as smartphones and communicators. The company acts as a Symbian Competence Center and a Training Partner.
Teleca is also a Symbian Competence Center offering knowledge of Symbian OS, covering applications development, user interface modifications, systems-level software, device drivers and base porting.
In August 2001, TI announced two Independent OMAP Technology Centers, BSQUARE and Productivity Systems. BSQUARE is a Seattle-based company that combines high-level OS and systems integration expertise with TI's OMAP architecture It has plans to set up centers in Seattle, the Silicon Valley and at its facilities in Asia and Europe.
PSI in Richardson, Texas, provides engineering hardware and software development support, and has worked with TI on the OMAP architecture since its inception.
IDEs for DSP and MCU combined
Texas Instrument's Code Composer Studio Integrated Development (IDE) v2 for the OMAP platform allows simultaneous optimisation and debug of both the digital signal processor (DSP) and microcontroller. The software combines the TMS320C5000 DSP and TMS470 ARM tools for heterogenous debug of an OMAP platform enabled device.
TI believes the single set of tools will eliminate compatibility issues, complicated configurations and software over-installs to cut startup and training time by 40%. The software permits simultaneous debug of the DSP and ARM processors with synchronous and individual commands, as well as the ability to set global breakpoints through TI's parallel debug manager utility.
Through the JTAG interface, the OMAP platform IDE supports the embedded trace module on the TMS320C55x DSP debug module and the ARM processor. It is customised to support OMAP platform peripherals with plug-ins such as the DMA and interrupt controller.
TI says that performance enhancements to Code Composer Studio IDE v2 for the OMAP platform enable it to load applications to the target system up to five times faster. Code Composer Studio is the host development environment of eXpress DSP real-time software technology which is designed to reduce development time by up to 50%. It is optimised for multi-site, multi-user work teams working on large projects, with an integrated project manager, source control interface and update advisor.
[Published in Embedded Systems February 2002]