updated 12:05 pm EST, Mon February 11, 2008
NVIDIA APX 2500 Mobile GPU
NVIDIA on Monday took the wraps from the APX 2500, a new chipset it describes as an application processor for smartphones and other handhelds. Though it has a GeForce graphics unit at its core that helps drive 3D games, the 2500 is said to excel at processing HD video: the hardware is the only mobile chipset capable of both decoding and capturing 720p HD video, NVIDIA claims. Moreover, power savings in the chipset reportedly make this a practical reality in real use, with as much as 10 hours of 720p playback or a full 100 hours of pure audio. This last figure is more than four times longer than for existing touchscreen phones, the company notes.
The architecture of the APX chip is also strong enough to process 12-megapixel shots from future cameraphones with features such as face detection or image stabilization if the camera allows. It further adds HDMI video output support to display 720p video at native resolution and effectively turns the phone into a remote control for movies.
Most media-intensive phones today, including Apple's iPhone and Nokia's N95, have so far relied on either extra media processing features built into their main processor or else older dedicated graphics chips that have lacked the ability to process HD video or more advanced 3D.
Initially, NVIDIA expects the APX 2500 to be used with Windows Mobile devices using Direct3D; however, the GeForce chipset is capable of driving OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics as well as alternate operating systems. The graphics processor manufacturer is already supplying samples to interested companies and will start mass production in the spring, though no companies have been named as part of the project. It has already developed an iPhone-like prototype as an example of the platform (pictured below).