UK firm promises photo-realistic 3D graphics on mobiles

UK graphics specialists Imagination Technologies promise 3D photo-realistic graphics on mobiles soon
UK graphics specialists Imagination Technologies promise 3D photo-realistic graphics on mobiles soon

UK-based Imagination Technologies has acquired 3D graphics specialists Caustic for $27 million (£17 million), promising that photo-realistic 3D will soon be available on consumer mobile devices.

The investment in Caustic Graphics will help Imagination Technologies – who provide the video chips used in the Apple iPhone and also own UK DAB specialists Pure Radio – to push the envelope of what is possible with mobile 3D graphics.

Caustic's mobile graphics tech is said to be capable of bringing cinema-quality 3D graphics to mobile phones.

3D ray tracing to change mobiles

Speaking exclusively to TechRadar, Imagination Technolgies' PR Director, David Harold said of the deal:

"Well, we don't want to tip our hand but this acquisition opens up the potential for highly photorealistic imagery to reach new real-time applications and markets, including consumer, not possible previously, via its integration with POWERVR, which is the de facto standard for mobile and embedded graphics.

"We have a proven track record of disrupting markets by bringing new and high-end technologies to consumer and embedded products: ray tracing is a key additional technology that traditionally has been regarded as the exclusive domain of specialised markets and non real-time applications. We will change that."

Imagination posted a 131 per cent rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £10.1 million pounds, with revenue up 16 per cent to £44 million in the six months through to October 2011 after its partners shipped 107 million of its chips. The company hopes to ship over 200 million chips in the year to end-April 2011.

Chief Exec Hossein Yassaie explained recently to Reuters that the company had recently signed extended licensing deals with Apple and Intel, both companies also being shareholders in Imagination Technologies, in addition to deals with Samsung and Fujitsu.

"We are doing repeat business with a lot of our customers, we are securing new customers," Yassaie said in an interview. "If you look at volume and actual devices shipped, we are talking about 100 million units, and some of our competitors have nothing to show.

"We would not have acquired this [Caustic] technology if we did not believe we could get it into handsets," he added, commenting on the new deal.

Adam Hartley