Component makers are racing to provide tools that will let system designers bring USB On The Go (OTG) to consumers during the upcoming holiday season. That version of the popular PC interface makes it possible for peripherals such as PDAs, CD-ROMs, and digital cameras to operate as either slave or host. These changes will let consumers do tasks such as printing photos directly from a camera, which would eliminate the step that's required with current versions of USB—downloading the photo to the host PC before printing.
TransDimension, an Irvine, CA tool provider, this month licensed its OTG core to ARM Ltd., which will market the core as part of its embedded systems arsenal. ARM also licensed OTG software from TransDimension's SoftConnex subsidiary. Both companies focus on low power consumption, which is becoming as important in many non-mobile embedded systems as in mobile products.
The Mobile Station Mobile chipset , which was unveiled by, San Diego-based telecom giant, Qualcomm Inc. this month includes USB OTG. The chipset lets cell phone makers offer the benefits of third generation phones while maintaining compatibility with today's technology. The chipset is designed to allow phone users transfer photos or data files from phones to PDAs or other USB peripherals or receive data from them.
Maxim Integrated Products Inc. of Sunnyvale, CA, recently addressed power control, unveiling a part that provides the power needed for the dual-role devices. The MAX3355E detects the voltage levels for the host mode, storing this data in registers. The chip is also designed to provide electrostatic discharge protection.
Most activity in USB OTG is expected to come in the 480 Bits/second version, which offers enough bandwidth for photos and music. Even at those speeds, power consumption is not expected to be a roadblock for use in portable equipment, most suppliers claim. USB OTG also uses a smaller connector so it works better on compact equipment like cell phones.