Building on today’s “RGB-split for Foldable Tablets and Smartphones” press release, I wanted to spend a bit of time talking about current competitive approaches to splitting display signals.
First, a bit more on RGB-split.
What is does: it accepts a single incoming MDDI or RGB display signal (from the applications processor/CPU) and splits it to multiple RGB displays. This is important in foldable tablets and smartphones, as there is no standard ready way to divide an RGB signal in typical existing systems designs.
What is does not do: it does not duplicate the signal as shown below. Doing this doesn’t require special hardware or software.
Now, there are foldable phones out there, and rumors of a plethora of foldable tablet and smartphone products arriving shortly. Certainly RGB-split isn’t the only way to do this…so how might OEM’s approach the hurdle?
As mentioned in the press release, one option is an ASSP (Application Specific Semiconductor Product) bridge plus software. Our RGB-split approach versus this approach is differentiated in a number of ways: power consumption, software, timing, content refresh rates, and total overall cost.
The power that RGB-split consumes on a VX2 or VX4 CSSP device is relatively negligible, and that doesn’t even count the power savings of DPO (yes, RGB-split works very well with VEE and DPO). The competing solution requires both a distinct chip (chip-to-chip power consumption is likely more compared to the QuickLogic chip, as our overhead is spread amongst multiple technologies) plus the additional processor power consumption to run the software. That can’t be said more strongly–the MIPS required to run the software is likely significant, leading to shorter battery life as well as a drain in overall system performance.
Software Development Requirements
QuickLogic’s RGB-split doesn’t require software development on the part of the system designer, ODM, or OEM. As part of the CSSP model, we provide all drivers required to operate the chip. For the competing solution, the system designer must custom-design the software from scratch.
All timing for the multiple displays is handled on-chip using the RGB-split solution, eliminating risk of non-synchronization of displays. The competing solution, as a mix of hardware and software, is subject to non-synchronization. We’ve been told first-hand that the competing solution can be off by as much as a frame time between displays—a huge user issue. Imagine looking at a split display tablet, and having the display on the left be one frame time ahead of the one on the right. You have a not only a mismatch of one screen versus another, but an audio-video timing mismatch as well.
RGB-split will work at 60 FPS at commonly-used display resolutions. We’ve been told first-hand that competing solutions can typically only work at 30 FPS. Obviously a faster frame rate leads to better user experience; not to mention that most mobile OS’s require a 60 FPS display signal.
Total Overall Cost
When a customer chooses RGB-split technology from us, they purchase production-qualified silicon with a minimum of lead time and no development costs, plus also receiving the software and drivers. When the competing approach is chosen, an ASSP and software has to developed (read: paid for). RGB-split will be a much more cost effective option, both in direct up-front costs and in million piece production quantities.