Android devices cut audio playback power drain with Tensilica IP

February 17, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Cadence Tensilica HiFi Audio Tunneling for Android can reduce audio processing power by a factor of up to 14; the “tunneling” aspect refers to the approach by which the operating system devolves audio processing to a companion (Tensilica) DSP, rather than run it on the product’s main application processor, with the DSP being typically several times more power-efficient.

This technology can double smartphone audio playback time, Cadence claims. As the first Android-compatible technology for a licensed digital signal processor (DSP), Tensilica HiFi Audio Tunneling for Android takes full advantage of enhancements in the recent KitKat release to prolong battery life in smartphones and mobile devices. KitKat audio tunneling was developed based on input from the Low Power Android Consortium (LPAC), which was initially spearheaded by Tensilica, now a part of the Cadence IP Group.

Larry Przywara, Cadence’s director of audio/voice intellectual property (IP) marketing notes that, “Until now, Android devices have had to run audio on the host processor or on an OEM proprietary offload framework that still required the encoded and decoded audio streams to be managed by the host CPU. Cadence, in cooperation with other companies, worked with Google to develop audio tunneling to the DSP in Android to solve this problem. To maximise the value of this feature in the new KitKat release of Android, we’ve developed the Tensilica HiFi Audio Tunneling for Android so that audio processing can now be fully offloaded from the host, significantly reducing power consumption and improving both battery life and time to market.”

The Tensilica HiFi Audio Tunneling for Android can be used with any of Cadence’s HiFi Audio/Voice DSP IP cores; designers can take advantage of over 125 software packages that have been ported to the HiFi architecture by Cadence and over 55 partners.