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PowerVR – a division of Imagination Technologies – company mostly known for its tile architecture, KYRO graphics processors, as well as some chips for consoles, arcade machines and mobile applications, has released three new demos to demonstrate the capabilities of yet-unavailable Pixel Shaders and Vertex Shaders 3.0-supporting hardware.

As a graphics processor developer, PowerVR has not released anything new since early 2001 and analysts of the industry rarely take this firm into the account. However, PowerVR constantly reminds the world about itself by releasing some pieces information leading to assume about its new product indirectly.

Earlier this year we were told about a book covering some modern ways of programming realtime 3D graphics in general and using Pixel Shaders 3.0 and Vertex Shaders 3.0 in particular. The authors of the articles covering the Shaders 3.0 were from PowerVR, and web-media around the Web suggested that we would soon see a new product coming from PowerVR. We have not really seen or heard about PowerVR’s graphics chips, but this week the company released the demo software that do not work on DirectX 9.0 hardware, such as RADEON 9800 PRO or GeForce FX 5900, but requires some additional features to be supported. Does this mean that the long-awaited PowerVR Series 5 is just around the corner?

PowerVR has had DirectX 8 demos for ages on its Demo Page, but, as we know, has never had any DirectX 8 available hardware. Now that the company has its DirectX 9.0 demos up, it does not necessarily mean they have taped out hardware and ready to ship it. Furthermore, the issued demos cover the very same Pixel Shaders 3.0 and Vertex Shaders 3.0 capabilities, as the company’s specialists described in the book.

Desktop graphics market nowadays is seriously rebounding from the calmness in 2001 and 2002 and there are more chances for minor players to enter the business. On the other hand, it looks like the market only needs fully-integrated companies to address both high-end and entry-level segments with the graphics chips. Since it costs too much to develop a competitive product lineup, there are very few companies to be in a position to afford such R&D costs.

Imagination Technologies, the owner of PowerVR, lost roughly $9.4 million on sales of approximately $33.2 million in its fiscal 2003 ended on the 31st of March, 2003. Even though the firm reported a 45% increase in sales compared to the previous year, its revenues cannot be compared with $1 - $2 billion revenues of companies like NVIDIA or ATI Technologies, the world’s leading graphics chips designers.

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