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OpenKODE offers open alternative to DirectX Dec. 12, 2006

The Khronos Group is launching an open set of royalty-free, cross-platform APIs aimed at standardizing the way native applications deliver media, games, and graphical user interfaces on mobile devices. OpenKODE, due early next year, combines several pre-existing open audio/visual APIs with an OS abstraction layer.

The Khronos Group is an industry group that now comprises some 167 companies -- up from 86 a year ago. It promotes open, royalty-free multimedia standards aimed at making hardware and software more interoperable.

The Khronos Group first made OpenKODE 1.0 available for public comment earlier this week. The specification is expected to be finalized early next year, concurrent with availability of conformance tests from Futuremark Corporation.

OpenKODE 1.0 is described as a royalty-free, cross-platform open standard that provides "everything a mobile application developer would need" to create multimedia applications for mobile phones. It combines a set of native C-language APIs into a "comprehensive media stack specification," similar to Microsoft's "DirectX" stack.

OpenKODE APIs include:

? OpenGL ES -- embedded subset of SGI's OpenGL 2D/3D graphics library
? Open VG -- 2D vector graphics API
? OpenSL ES -- "sound library" for "accelerated sounds"
? OpenMax -- a standard interface to hardware and software codecs (compression/decompression engines)

OpenKODE also includes a "Core API" aimed at abstracting access to operating system resources. This "small but powerful" API makes differences between mobile OSes transparent, the Group says, in order to "minimize source changes when porting games and applications between Linux, Brew, Symbian, WIPI, and RTOS-based platforms."

Nvidia VP Neil Trevett, who presides over the Khronos Group, stated, "OpenKODE provides a highly reliable set of cross-platform media APIs that mobile application developers can trust on any platform."

Trevett expects content providers to be among the first to benefit from the standard, because making media available in formats supported by OpenKode will increase the base of potential consumers. Handset manufacturers will also benefit from greater standardization, as will mobile operators, he says.

Lots more details about OpenKODE are available in an informative podcast interview with Trevett, here (direct link to mp3 file).


The OpenKODE 1.0 specification and the associated Conformance Test Suite being developed by Futuremark are both expected to be available in the first quarter of 2007.

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