Bringing 3D to Mobiles
By Eric Lin, Thu Jan 08 07:15:00 GMT 2004

2D graphics chips for mobile devices ranging from phones to PDAs have been in devices for over a year now. Today marked a milestone for 3D acceleration, as ATI announced its first mobile 3D chip, and rival nVidia joined the Khronos group.

Although today was the first we heard from them, the Khronos group has been in existence for more than two years already. They are an ad hoc group of software and hardware companies dedicated to bringing open GL APIs, including Direct 3D, to mobile platforms. Chips that support these common protocols will make it easier for developers to port or create games for the small screen; and should also reduce the time it takes to create mobile games.

As part of these developments, ATI introduced the Imageon 2300, a co-processor designed to render 3D graphics, as well as 2D and MPEG4 video. No announcements were made for any manufacturers or specific devices this chip will be used in.

Today, as ATI announced their chip, nVidia who are the the other big name in graphics chips, announced they would join the Khronos group. They have not announced any 3D coprocessors, but like ATI they already offer a 2D co-processor called the GoForce.

The analysts all love to predict that mobile gaming will become a big money industry. Gaming continues to be a strong money maker, and mobile gaming certainly is growing. If developers don't have to recode their games for mobile devices, this should certainly help the analysts' cause.