updated 06:25 pm EDT, Thu September 4, 2008
Imagination signs deal
System-on-a-Chip manufacturer Imagination Technologies on Thursday unveiled it has signed a multi-year licensing deal with an anonymous "international electronics systems company" which could confirm earlier rumors regarding Apple. In April, Imagination was found to be exploring a secret licensing deal with Apple, a move that would let Apple have exclusive distribution rights to its PowerVR SGX chipset, and access to the Imagination's video IP cores.
The news follows Apple's purchase of PA Semi, which allegedly came from the Cupertino-based company's need of engineering staff familiar with integrated chip systems. Apple said it would continue to support PA Semi's existing products for a fixed amount of time, causing problems for the department of national defense, and other customers who rely on the company’s products.
The PowerVR SGX is expected to grant Apple access to OpenGL ES 2.0, which offers 3D shader support, and other graphical niceties. Since many mobile device manufacturers rely on the PowerVR chipset to perform 3D calculations, the exclusivity arrangement would give Apple an edge over competitors with the popular iPhone.
Many in the industry, including prodigy developer and rocketry enthusiast John Carmack – head of id Software – and long-time game platform/software producer Sega, recently lauded gaming on the iPhone. Carmack expressed his excitement with the platform, saying it is more potent than both the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP combined. Sega equated the iPhone's graphical prowess to the now-defunct Dreamcast, which, in its day, was famous for its slick graphics and smooth framerate.