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Driving an external monitor from handhelds

Posted: 01 Mar 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multimedia applications  VGA  power management 

As handheld devices handle more multimedia applications, a mobile application can now be easily implemented on a personal digital assistant or smart phone device. Handheld products are converging in capability, blurring the lines between one's mobile phone, PDA, digital still camera, video camera and A/V personal media player and becoming more like PCs or laptops. An emerging capability in these handheld devices is the ability to drive an external monitor, projector or TV, also known as VGA or TV-out functionality.

While adding a feature such as VGA or TV-out may seem as simple as adding the appropriate connector, its addition presents system design challenges in dealing with the issues of power management, device interoperability and user interaction. To overcome the lack of support for time-based specification in modern computing environments, a number of techniques have evolved and form the basis for embedded systems programming.

The solutions discussed in the article include X/Y swap operation for writing and reading SDRAM memory, frame rate conversion in managing multiple frame buffers, power management design to conserve battery capacity, configuration and voltage transition.

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