POWERVR goes MP

I was just reading up on the news that Imagination Technologies has launched a new generation of their architecture that drives POWERVR. What’s POWERVR, you ask? It’s a good question, but chances are, if you have a mobile device that has 3D accelerated graphics, it’s driven by this hugely popular silicon IP.

The big news is that even they’re going multi-core to achieve scalable graphics. They claim they rival the performance of discrete graphics chipsets, which I assume means the nVidias and ATI’s of the world. That’s a pretty interesting combination when you look at the latest chips that have multi-core ARM processors combined with DSPs (digital signal processors) for audio/video processing, which can then be combined with these powerful 3D cores.

I can imagine some really powerful handheld and other mobile devices based on these things. I just wonder about power consumption, the eternal challenge for mobile developers. We’ll see how that plays out, but the power of these things also blurs the gap between mobile and x86 based “netbooks” and even set-top boxen. Interesting times ahead, indeed.

But as good as the hardware is, you still need the software to make them come to life. It’s going to be an exciting time for developers that target this market. I just wonder if there are enough of them. This is one area where I’m hoping the Eclipse DSDP and CDT projects can help. We need an easy to setup package to give the students and hobbyists, the future commercial developers for these platforms, the tools they need to get them started. This is something I’d be happy to talk about at EclipseCon and see if we can get a community to start putting this together.