1. Most of us are familiar with David and we made John's acquaintance
with his EEtimes interview last year; could you kindly repeat for our readers
your positions at ImgTec?
David: John Metcalfe is VP Business Development, PowerVR. David Harold is
Public Relations Manager, Imagination Technologies.
2. As a high school teacher, I notice quite a few of my pupils gaining
a constant interest in computer graphics and the underlying technology. Could
you give them any guidelines in terms of studies for this specific field? What
qualifications do you have?
John: David has a marketing background and started specialising in technology
PR in 1996, though his earliest paid work was indeed an article for a long-defunct
computer magazine when he was in his teens. He's done PR for various tech companies
inc. Canon and ATI before joining Imagination Technologies in 1998.
David: John has an education in electronics, and worked initially as a software
developer, starting with the development of CAD tools, before moving into the
multimedia and graphics area with IMG; from there he moved into product management
and then business development. He joined IMG in 1987.
The background requirements for working in computer graphics depend on what
you want to do - obviously graphics artists need to have a grounding in both
art and computing, whereas the majority of engineers here have computer science
or electronic backgrounds, though for anyone in graphics an appreciation of
3. Are future driver sets going to have some catchy name like DUCKYNATORS?
David: Maybe, if we can think of them. Perhaps we'll canvas you guys for ideas!
4. Can we expect after the debut of Series5 a new version of the infamous
PowerVR duck, straight from the “Ducklabs”? My little daughter Lotti
simply adores those ducks!
John: Ducks are a tradition here, I'm sure we've not seen the last of them.
David: Werner, I'll send you the latest duck - though it's from our PURE Digital
5. In the early ImgTec days we saw PCX1/PCX2 gaining quite some interest.
Series2 followed with a sizeable delay, up to the point where the final product
arrived way behind the competition. Attention rose again with Series3 in 2000/2001,
this time with a new partner, yet product delays weren't escaped either (albeit
to a lesser degree). Are there any measures being taken to avoid or minimize
possible future product delays?
John: Although it might not always seem like it we've actually been pretty
happy with the results of our past endeavours - especially with KYRO II. Look
at it this way - a lot of the companies that were our peers in 3D when we started
are gone now, while we are still going strong and making our plans for world
domination ; )
6. Since ImgTec is not considering to turn into a fabless semiconductor
company anytime soon, some reservations have been raised concerning the success
of it's IP licensing model and future PC standalone products. Do you feel that
products resulting from ImgTec's IP licensing scheme have a chance to put up
the same level of competition as other IHVs?
John: Absolutely - we've got great licensees for PowerVR MBX including Renesas
(Hitachi), Intel and Texas Instruments. We expect to continue to get that calibre of licensees for future IP.
7. Assuming the scenario where ImgTec, for whatever reason, ends up
without a partner (see Series 4 paradigm) what would the company’s alternatives
be in such a case?
John: I don't think the scenario is very likely, but ALL the alternatives
i) to ship a product as a fabless manufacturer
ii) continue to develop the technology and use it as a development platform
for IP cores, or
iii) terminate the development
- iii) and i) are not options we would consider.
8. Is the long lasting cooperation with NEC and Sega still active?
Would you say that through all those years a special bond of trust between those
companies and PowerVR has been built?
John: we still see both NEC and SEGA as close friends and hope there will
be further opportunities with them. NEC of course still provides PowerVR processors
into the gaming market.
9. Is Naomi2 still a successful concept?
David: Walk into any arcade and count the number of Naomi and Naomi2 machines!
Absolutely it's a success. And of course Sammy's Atomiswave platform is based
on the same technology, although Sammy has committed to using the Renesas processor
for future machines.
10. Have there ever been considerations to expand multichip - Naomi2-like
- solutions to the PC desktop?
John: Multichip has never been successful in PC graphics for a range of reasons
which at the end of the day come down to economics. With add-in boards if you
can do something in one chip it's nearly always cheaper.
11. With graphics requirements constantly increasing, can we expect
to see a, let's say "Naomi3" configuration, incorporating programmable
shading capabilities and thus Series5 technology?
David: Naomi is a SEGA brand - we can't comment for them.
12. Ensigma and Metagence seem to have made some significant process
recently, also in tight cooperation with ImgTec's 3rd subdivision PowerVR Technologies.
Can you share some future plans of those two subdivisions as in possible expansions
to other markets that haven't been addressed so far?
David: IMG's strategy has been to develop technologies (graphics, processing
and communications) that together can address a wide range of markets where
SoC integration is a key factor - one example is digital TV (see our Logie design)
but almost any consumer electronic segment becomes a target over time.