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Cellular phones have come a long way during the recent decades. Today the most feature-rich handset equipped with camera, wireless Bluetooth connectivity and radio fits easily into shirt’s pocket, while on the dawn of mobile phones you might need a special suitcase to carry your phone that was absolutely primitive from modern point of view. The progress goes on and in addition to rich multimedia content available nowadays, some firms plan to bring even more improvements in the space by incorporating real-time 3D capabilities into multimedia processors for cell phones.

One of the world’s leading graphics processor companies – ATI Technologies – today announced its IMAGEON 2300 multimedia and graphics co-processor for mobile phones and other applications of the same kind, such as smart-phones. The Markham, Ontario-based developer states that the IMAGEON 2300 is the world’s first chip for handsets with 3D support.

IMAGEON 2300 is a member of ATI’s family of media co-processors for handheld devices specifically tailored for mobile phone applications. It integrates an advanced 3D graphics accelerator with a geometry engine, a 2D graphics engine, a MPEG4 video decoder with real-time video playback at 30fps as well as a camera sub-system processing engine supporting up to 2 millions pixels.

With IMAGEON 2300, ATI has taken its years of 3D gaming expertise - whether it is for the PC, notebook or console – and applied its technology to the cell phone marketplace.  The “tour-de-force” was to integrate a full fledged, no compromise hardware 3D engine in a cost effective and power efficient multimedia companion chip for the new generations of feature phones, ATI said.

“We were impressed with the capabilities of the IMAGEON 2300. The hardware 3D engine allowed us to use the original 2003 PC MotoGPII code, combining a high level of performance and graphics that has not been seen with a software only version. With mobile gaming moving at such a rapid pace, and THQ Wireless at the frontier of groundbreaking products, we are delighted to be working with ATI on this project,” said Adam Comiskey, General Manager EMEA, THQ Wireless.

“Consumers will be able to enjoy a real mobile console experience on their cell phone with the new ATI chipset,” Comiskey added, but declined to elaborate on when his company plans to release its first 3D title for handsets.

IDC data indicates that wireless gaming is on the rise and will generate $1 billion in wireless gaming revenue by 2006 for wireless carriers in the USA.

ATI’s IMAGEON 2300 media co-processor is currently sampling. Mass production shipments will start in Q1 2004. 

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