Motorola streams into Cambridge for Internet-enabled multimedia devices

Motorola streams into Cambridge for Internet-enabled multimedia devicesRichard Ball  
Cambridge firm Amino Communications has linked up with Motorola to develop Internet-enabled multimedia devices.
The firms will combine Amino’s modular approach to design with Motorola’s Streamaster system architecture.
Streamaster is Motorola’s brand name for its multimedia architecture announced last year. The company’s first product using Streamaster is the Blackbird home media platform – a set-top box with attitude.
Amino will make the architecture modular, which will speed design and development, particularly in emerging markets.
Applications include a desktop or mobile network computer, consumer Web appliance, set-top box, electronic point-of-sale terminal and a data entry terminal.  
  Earlybird… Motorola’s first product based on the Streamaster architecture was the Blackbird set-top box. Future devices, with Amino’s help, could include point of sale terminals, network computers or Web TVs.
“The core technology of Amino is an interconnection architecture that allows you to put together modular products,” said David Dickin, v-p of business development at Amino.
Dickin likens the concept to Lego – the value of the product is not in the individual bricks, but in the way they are put together. “We are going to apply our technology to the Streamaster product,” said Dickin.
Amino has already designed blocks that form a high speed Java interface. It also has smartcard capability that is compliant with EMV and Mondex. Future modules will cover video-on-demand, e-commerce, satellite, ISDN and Ethernet.
The company uses Motorola processors such as PowerPC. In future it will also use Motorola’s Nuon media processor.
“Amino is the only company that has decided there’s more to gain from a modular approach than there is to lose,” said Dickin.
By integrating pre-defined blocks, companies can develop and trial a product quickly. This is especially useful in emerging markets, where the company can get a head start.
And a design can easily be modified if standards or functionality change without going back to the drawing board.
Streamaster combines all the elements necessary for multimedia products. It includes the Microware OS/9000 operating system, an HTML engine for Internet access and graphics handling hardware in addition to PowerPC processors.

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