Matsushita DSPs to speed product development

Matsushita Electric plans to speed development of products by using a single new digital signal procecessor (DSP) chip it has developed across a range of products. It currently uses different chips for phones, audio products, TVs and DVD players.

The new DSP, which Matsushita calls its UniPhier multimedia processor, is capable of processing video and audio encoded in several different standards.

Using the same processor when designing different new products, Matsushita can cut development time in some cases to a fifth, the company said. The company did not give more details.

Some products using the processor, for example mobile phones, will use 30 per cent to 50 per cent less power, a company spokesperson,Yuji Kakinuma, said.

"At the moment, we use a number of different specialist DSPs," Kakinuma said. "With the UniPhier processor we only need one. The processor enables lower power consumption and is more efficient."

The new DSP was necessary because the company needs to keep up with shrinking product cycle times, according to Matsushita's senior managing director and chief technology officer, Susumu Koike.

In Japan, Matsushita had been releasing three new mobile phone models every six months, he said.

"There is a huge issue about the time it takes to get these products to market," Koike said. "The rate at which products are going to be released will be explosive.

"We are reaching the limits of our ability to develop products on time. We needed a more efficient way."

From 2005, Matsushita intends to launch new series of digital high-definition TVs, mobile phones with digital TV functions, new types of networked home appliances, audiovisual equipment and home servers.

The new chip would help the company smooth its development processes and save money, Koike said.

He did not give specifics.

The company said that it would begin using the processor for designing new products in mid-2005.

Products using the processor would begin appearing later that year.

The first products would be mobile devices at the end of 2005 and larger products such as TVs and DVD players would follwo in early 2006.