PowerVR MBX announced for mobiles
Those dreams of playing Quake 3 on your mobile phone might not be so far off!
Mobile phones are pretty useless as serious gaming platforms these days. They're good for the odd bit of Snakes here and there, perhaps a bit of Hangman-via-SMS, but unless you use them as a means to channel gamers, as Sony and NTT DoCoMo intend to do with the i-mode adaptation, there really isn't much to them. The reason being that nobody has really taken control of the mobile graphics market just yet, which is something Imagination Technologies are very eager to change with their PowerVR MBX chip, which will work hand in hand with ARM processors in most mobile phones. The MBX includes a VGP; vertex geometry processor, which will also be capable of rendering small amounts of transform and lighting operations. Imagination Technologies are in talks with plenty of major players in the mobiles industry to secure the future of their startling new product, which is attractive because it not only performs well but requires little in the way of memory bandwidth and actual juice from the mobile battery. No doubt with a speculative grin on his face, ARM's Steve Evans announced that "With an industry-leading ARM core and PowerVR MBX solution, it will soon be possible for a mobile device to play games with all the features of the latest PC and console titles." The PowerVR MBX itself uses plenty of nice buzzword technologies and trademarks, including "FSAA4Free", which as you'll have rightly guessed, is full screen anti aliasing in a tin, using high resolution rendering and tracing, "Internal True-Colour Operations", performed on-chip in 32-bit colour and "PVR-TC", which applies texture compression to help save space. To pool the mobile's collective resources, the MBX is optimized for UMA, or Unified Memory Architecture, which we explained yesterday in an item about the Xbox. UMA basically allows many different devices to take advantage of the same memory system, saving space, time and pooling resources. The key feature is known as a "Scene Manager", which helps convey the chip's images in a very limited environment with no loss of speed. In short, developers eager to put 3D-heavy applications and games on mobile platforms will finally be able to, and tiny, overly clunky WAP games will be a thing of the past.