Philips to design, make XScale CE devices

Philips Electronics will offer design and manufacturing services for a new generation of consumer electronics devices based on Philips' Pronto++ Software for multimedia and Intel Corp.'s PXA250 processors, the companies said Tuesday. Philips will also release its own set of products based on the technology.

Philips' Pronto++ Software lets a consumer electronics device provide various types of multimedia content, such as video, audio, and games, said Sugata Sanyal, director of Philips Components. Most consumer electronics devices provide only a single multimedia function, such as an audio MP3 player, and lack other media technologies such as video.

The new devices will be able to take advantage of the PXA250's low power consumption and 32-bit embedded processing power, said Mike Iannitti, director of Intel's extended computing division. Intel's XScale technology hasn't been used in consumer electronics devices yet, he said. Intel has invested a lot into a new generation of its XScale processors, and will announce new products for multimedia technology at its upcoming Intel Developer Forum, he said.

Entertainment devices will probably be the first products to emerge from the combination of Philips' software and Intel processors, Sanyal said. Examples include television guides, Web browsers, remote controls, and Java gaming devices, he said.

Philips will either help OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) design new products based on the multimedia technology, or build the products for them, said Sanyal. The company will provide reference hardware, such as sample devices with the XScale chips, and its software to interested partners. It will also offer consulting services and back-end technology as needed.

Pricing will be determined by how much of a relationship the OEM wants to get into, Sanyal said. Some OEMs will prefer to save time and design cost by simply contracting with Philips to build the devices, while others would prefer to design their own devices, and need help implementing the Pronto++ Software with the Intel processors, he said. The reference hardware and software is available immediately, he said.

Philips' own multimedia consumer electronics products with PXA250 processors will be announced at its upcoming CEDIA trade show starting Sept. 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The companies will also demonstrate the combined technologies at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, California, starting Sept. 9.

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Tom Krazit

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