Wolfson launches its first low power programmable DSP


Simon Bond

Category: Silicon South West, Uncategorized

Wolfson Microelectronics has used its software team in Newbury to help develop its first programmable digital signal processor (DSP) chip for audio systems that can reduce power consumption in portable systems.

Previous Wolfson chips have used dedicated DSP, but opening up the core to third party developers is a major step forward for the company and the software support is key. The WM0010 uses the HiFi2 DSP from US IP provider Tensilica, which also comes with tools such as compilers and debuggers, which is vital as smartphone, tablet and TV makers will use the chip to add their own audio algorithms.  The chip uses 12mA at 1.3V, and the performance allows the chip to switch off for 7/8ths of the cycle for operations such as MP3 decoding. This reduces the power consumption to around a third of a typical audio SoC for this function, says the company.

The chip will also run a real time operating system, although the licensing agreemen hasn’t been finalised for this yet. Samples will ship in Q2 with volume production in Q4.

The majority of the hardware design was in Edinburgh, but there is both hardware and software design in Newbury.

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