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Motorola: Chip Cuts Costs by 40% for High Performance Printer And Copier Manufacturers

Press release from the issuing company

- Includes WTT analysis from Steve Aranoff, partner, THE EAGLE June 30, 2003 -- Offering full printer controller functionality on a single chip, Motorola, Inc. introduces the MPC8220i 32-bit embedded microprocessor -- the first fully integrated System-on-Chip (SoC) with the broadest range of imaging applications specific functionality in the industry. The MPC8220i helps OEMs serving the 100 million unit per year market for printers, multifunction peripherals, digital copiers, and related products with increased processing power and reduced system development and deployment costs, while reducing product development cycle times. An Application Specific Standard Product (ASSP), the MPC8220i gives system designers a crucial edge in the extremely competitive printer and copier markets -- helping reduce time-to-market by up to three years, and slashing recurring controller costs by up to 40 percent. Designs incorporating ASSPs are more cost effective to manufacture than other design alternatives in terms of circuit board unit costs and parts count. Use of an ASSP design approach also helps eliminate a broad class of fixed non-recurring engineering (NRE) and tooling expenses, such as ASIC design and mask fabrication. The MPC8220i integrates an extensive combination of on-chip I/O enabling connectivity functions needed for intelligent network and computer-attached solutions without the need for discrete components or custom-designed ASICS. In addition, the industry standard bus interfaces on the MPC8220i provide a high degree of flexibility enabling system designers to easily add functionality such as disk drives, scanner interfaces, or special data processing units. ------ We asked Steve Aranoff, WTT contributing columnist and co-publisher of THE EAGLE, to provide interpretive analysis of this announcement. ------ How will Motorola’s new System on a Chip (SOC) Printer Controller affect the digital imaging marketplace? As printers know only too well, traditional color offset printing is being replaced by color digital printing in many applications that are time sensitive and do not require larger quantities. This trend is accelerating because quality is no longer questionable and because per copy prices are becoming more realistic. We have seen both technical and consumer reviews this year give digital printing higher marks for consistency and quality than for offset. Price and speed have been the other issues holding back the growth of digital for medium runs. Price is going to become less of an issue, thus fueling more digital printing of traditional documents and more sophisticated projects as the costs of digital color prints begins to approach the costs of 3 or 4 X that of B&W as new toner pricing that everyone expects comes to pass. However, for the largest possible growth opportunity, prices for the faster and most sophisticated printers, themselves, must also decrease. At the low end of the market, print devices generally share their interface and driver functions with the PC, taking memory and computer time away from other functions. In more sophisticated uses where speed and quality are more important, print devices come with printed circuit interfaces that contain processing power and memory in order to interface, control and provide for image processing capabilities on the fly. Motorola’s new “System on a Chip (SOC),” the MPC8220i simplifies such interfacing by putting all of these necessary functions, plus a host of programmable functionality, on a single chip. Motorola’s target market for the MPC8220i is the workgroup or professional/commercial printing system where speed and capability is the issue, not the mass-market printer whose sales are driven by price.  These users may use the integrated USB or 1284 interfaces, but are more typically connected on a network using the Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) Controller.  They are also more likely to require PostScript, PCL or another Page Description Language Interpreter (PDL) and require faster print speeds (20 to 200+ PPM monochrome, 15-50+ PPM Color – both at 600 dpi or more) as well as advanced collating, paper feed, and finishing options.  The provided integrated JBIG data compression module is also useful for compressing bit maps so that multiple copies and collation functions can be supported even with limited memory.   Specifically, Motorola has now taken time, cost and risk out of interface developments for each new “professional” quality printer or printer family by combining the functions of an industry standard “Power PC” computer, memory and a custom asic chip plus communications into a single part. They have further enhanced its usefulness by providing a reference board design (through WaveMark, a printer controller savvy Motorola company) that can be easily customized by each manufacturer. By providing such utility in a single chip, Motorola has provided manufacturers with better functionality to accomplish their own unique image processing plus printer control requirements and have done it in a way that will also reduce cost per unit by 20% to 40% and significantly decrease development time from 1 to 3 years, not counting the considerable reduction in one time development costs. Each manufacturer can still give its interface unique functions and functionality, while still taking advantage of the chip’s overall benefits. Given the market’s propensity for demanding increased performance at lower cost, this new Motorola MPC8220i should fill a big role for its users. It will support printing speeds of 53 ppm for color and 210 ppm for B&W while allowing more opportunity for image processing, and image and color handling – that can be unique for each manufacturer’s product. This offering looks like one of those rare opportunities to have it all, price, quality and speed, without any visible drawbacks. We’ll keep a close eye on this development. Please offer your feedback to Steve: [email protected] or 928-282-4173

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