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Atsana Semiconductor, a startup developing advanced multimedia silicon technologies for handhelds, received additional funds from certain investors including Siemens Mobile Acceleration, a subsidiary of Siemens AG, a communications giant from Germany.

Ottawa, Canada-based Atsana Semiconductor secured $10 million in equity financing. The new round includes investments from Siemens Mobile Acceleration (Munich), GrowthWorks WV Funds (Toronto), Covington Capital Corporation (Toronto), Greenstone Venture Partners (Vancouver) and a number of the company’s original investors. Atsana will use the investment to expand marketing, sales, and business development activities, as well as to further enhance its product offering with advanced solutions for the wireless multimedia market.

Atsana develops multimedia co-processors for mobile phones and targets to attack the market now heavily penetrated by 3D graphics tycoons ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation. Ironically, Atsana is headed by Alex Leupp, once a CEO of Siemens AG and also the last CEO of 3dfx, a graphics company who vanished into oblivion after being acquired by NVIDIA in 2000.

Even though Leupp indisputably lost the round in desktop graphics to NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and ATI’s CEO KY Ho, he may now try to battle with them once again on mobile graphics market. Leupp not only believes that Atsana will be in a position to capture a significant share of the rapidly developing market of mobile multimedia-enabled phones, but also has some positive responses from at least one world’s well-known maker of cell-phones.

“Multimedia applications are one of the major drivers for growth in the mobile phone segment, and we believe that Atsana offers highly competitive and programmable solutions that are critical for meeting the market’s current and future needs,” said Dr. Dietrich Ulmer, CEO and president of Siemens Mobile Acceleration.

“Our team is excited to be working with Alex and his team to accelerate Atsana’s growth,” Ulmer added.

Atsana’s media processors enable mobile phones, PDAs and network cameras, to deliver multimedia applications such as multimedia messaging, DSC and camcorder functionality, video conferencing, video streaming, 2D/3D gaming and other media-rich content without sacrificing battery life or performance.

Presently Atsana is providing samples of its J2210 media processor-based platform that offers a powerful and cost-efficient media processing solution for wireless devices. Atsana’s J2210 incorporates massively parallel array processor technology with an embedded ARM9 RISC processor delivers video, image, audio and voice encoding and decoding with superior power efficiencies. The processor is fully programmable, allowing it to support a variety of applications and compression algorithms including MPEG4, JPEG, MJPEG, Vocoders such as CELP, AMR and G.723.1, as well as evolving video standards such as H.26L and JPEG2000.

Highly-integrated J2210 media processor is so far the only product Atsan Semiconductor can showcase.


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