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New TI DA295 Reference Design Gives OEMs Competitive Edge in Portable Audio Market

TI's Latest Audio Platform Brings Low Cost and Power to Feature-Rich Players Supporting Music, Photos, Movies

Jan 6, 2005

DALLAS (January 6, 2005) - Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) introduced its latest audio processor and a beta version of its upcoming production-ready reference design for portable audio applications, including MP3 players, portable audio jukeboxes and handheld gaming devices. TI´s new audio reference design delivers industry leading battery life for an audio player with its feature set, enabling up to 24 hours of continuous play on a single charge of the built-in Lithium-Ion battery. The reference design will help manufacturers efficiently manage cost and development time, allowing for more bandwidth to incorporate new features, such as DJ effects, Time Scale Modification, instant-on boot time, rich user interfaces, gaming and MPEG-4 video playback, and still should allow products to be brought to market within as few as three months. (See www.ti.com/portableaudio7.) 
"Manufacturers prefer a reference design model, expecting more and more from technology partners to help them get a competitive edge in the market," said Cindy McCurley, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. "Traditional audio players are evolving to add more features and functionality. To this end, TI's new technology and reference design can help OEMs successfully differentiate their portable product offerings from entrenched devices."
With a high level of integration, including a headphone amplifier and stereo DAC, the new dual-core, digital signal processor (DSP)-based TMS320DA295 digital audio processor offers superior performance and value. Flexible power and clocking schemes increase power efficiency, and with the industry's leading standby power, the DA295 reference design is unmatched in audio playback battery life for players of comparable feature sets. In addition, the DA295 audio processor can be extended to support more than two days of audio playback on a single AA battery for a Flash-based audio player.
With the performance of a dual-core architecture, the reference design offers optimized implementations of all widely-used audio codecs (MP3, AAC, WMA and others) both decode and encode, line-in encoding and the latest Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies. For data interconnect, it utilizes USB 2.0 high speed On-The-Go, enabling peer-to-peer connectivity between the portable audio player and another device, such as a digital camera. The DA295 reference design also includes a dedicated hard disk drive (HDD) controller for the embedded HDD, color LCD and NTSC interfaces, FM tuner, headphone amplifier, stereo DAC, rechargeable battery-based subsystem and support for Flash-based storage.
Backed by TI's industry-leading Code Composer StudioTM development environment, developers are able to differentiate players from competing devices with advanced application features, such as user interfaces, flexible codec support and video and imaging capabilities. TI also has extended the Code Composer Studio platform with a simulator and emulation system designed specifically for use with this new audio technology, enabling fully software-based application development on a PC. Being a programmable platform, the reference design can also evolve to address emerging standards. For instance, due to TI's upgradeable software, manufacturers will be able to add options in the second half of 2005, such as 2D gaming, personal information management capabilities and other digital audio enhancements to the standard reference design code build.
"By combining our process technology leadership and system development expertise focused on portable audio applications, we are able to provide excellent power efficiency and the advanced features manufacturers need to differentiate their products," said Chris Schairbaum, manager of Portable Audio and Infotainment at TI. "We listen to our customers and consumers and understand their needs. Our new suite of development tools demonstrates our commitment to bringing our customers to market faster with a lower bill of materials."

Availability, Packaging and Pricing

The beta version of the DA295 reference design, which can be used by manufacturers as a development platform, is expected to be available in Q1 2005 and is scheduled to be quickly followed by the production-ready, turnkey reference design in Q2 2005. Pricing for the DA295 reference design starts at $20,000 and is available from select TI regional third party providers.