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Dolby Mobile Moves To PMPs From Cellphones

Barcelona, Spain — Dolby Labs has ported its Dolby Mobile sound-enhancing technology from multimedia cellphones to portable media players (PMP).

Here at the Mobile World Congress, Dolby is teaming with semiconductor company RMI to demonstrate a PMP platform incorporating the post-processing technology, which up-mixes mono to stereo and up-mixes stereo to 5.1-channel surround, which users can hear through any pair of stereo headphones, Dolby said. The technology, which is also said to enhance bass response and clarity, appeared in cellphones for the first time late last year in a pair of Sharp phones sold through a Japanese carrier.

Cupertino, Calif.-based RMI, whose processors already appear in PMPs, will be one of the first silicon companies to offer the technology for PMPs, said senior marketing manager Craig Eggers. RMI said its target markets for Dolby Mobile-equipped processors include personal navigation devices (PNDs), digital photo frames and in-car entertainment systems.

The Dolby Mobile suite of technologies also includes Sound Space Expander, which enables devices to deliver a wide soundstage through handset speakers and docking-station speakers, and a High Frequency Enhancer, which reinforces the high frequencies that often suffer when music or soundtracks are compressed, and Graphic EQ for manufacturer-defined two- to six-band equalizers.

Dolby Mobile is one of multiple audio technologies that Dolby is demonstrating at the cellular convention. Others include compression technologies from recently acquired Coding Technologies, known for audio compression technologies useful in applications, such as wireless, in which bandwidth is constrained, Dolby said.

Coding’s efficiency-enhancing technologies are used in the AACPlus and MP3Pro formats as well as in the HD-Radio format. The company is also a key contributor to MPEG Surround technology, which can be used with any existing compressed audio codec to deliver low-bit-rate multichannel surround over cellular and Mobile DTV networks and through satellite-radio and HD Radio broadcasts. That technology also delivers a virtual-surround experience though any pair of stereo headphones.

Because Dolby Mobile is a post-processing technology, it’s compatible with such multichannel-audio codecs as MPEG Surround, Dolby said.