MIPI Alliance Introduces MIPI SoundWire, a Comprehensive Audio Interface for Mobile and Mobile-Influenced Devices

Groundbreaking Specification Consolidates Key Requirements to Provide a Common, Convenient Audio Interface

PISCATAWAY, NJ and Shanghai, China - The MIPI® Alliance, an international organization that develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, today introduced MIPI SoundWire℠, a new audio interface for amplifiers, microphones and audio codecs used in smartphones, tablets, mobile PCs and other devices. The MIPI Alliance introduced the new specification in conjunction with “MIPI Open Day,” the organization’s first meeting in China, which is taking place today in Shanghai.

MIPI SoundWire consolidates many of the key attributes available in existing mobile and PC-industry audio interfaces and introduces a comprehensive interface and scalable architecture that can be used to transport audio and control data for audio peripherals. Companies can apply the specification as needed to best fit their particular systems integration requirements. More than 25 companies from across the audio technology ecosystem—including audio peripheral, electronic design automation and silicon vendors as well as OEMs—took part in developing MIPI SoundWire.

“We are very pleased that so many companies participated in this effort. Thanks to the broad-based involvement in the process, we are able to bring MIPI SoundWire to the market as a groundbreaking and very mature specification that meets the industry’s immediate, evolving and diverse needs,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of the board of MIPI Alliance. “The process also spurred many companies to join the MIPI Alliance. We appreciate their interest in MIPI SoundWire, their membership and their active engagement in the working group.”

The ratification of MIPI SoundWire by the MIPI Alliance is now underway and scheduled for completion by year-end 2014. Products based on MIPI SoundWire are already in development and IP, silicon components and test tools based on the specification are expected to become commercially available also by year-end 2014.

While MIPI SoundWire is undergoing ratification, the MIPI Alliance is introducing its key features and implementation benefits. MIPI SoundWire is a hardware interface and transport protocol. It offers a scalable, low complexity, low power, low latency, 2-pin (clock and data) multidrop bus that allows for the transfer of multiple audio streams and embedded controls/commands. Companies can apply the specification to add intelligence to audio peripherals, increase the number of peripherals attached to a link and optimize their implementations without compromising product cost, pin count, power consumption, software complexity, or key audio metrics. MIPI SoundWire provides built-in synchronization capabilities and optional multilane extensions and it supports PCM and PDM, multichannel data, isochronous and asynchronous modes.

Broadened capabilities and implementation flexibility offered by the new specification are expected to help designers accelerate time to market with new audio systems. MIPI SoundWire can support the use of more advanced amplifiers and microphones. It can be used to optimize speaker protection, microphone power and performance, noise cancellation, and always-listening audio input. It is expected to enable new use cases not present in previous specifications. It has been designed, as well, to help enable technology convergence between device segments.

“The boundaries between mobile phones, tablets and PCs are converging but until now, standardized audio interfaces have been specific to the individual market segments,” said Mohamad El-Hage, vice chair of the MIPI Alliance Low Speed Multipoint Link Working Group. “The fragmentation has made it very challenging for firms to scale their product designs for use across segments. MIPI SoundWire was developed to provide a common interface to overcome this challenge.”

El-Hage emphasized that MIPI SoundWire was defined by designers for the benefit of designers. “It was a pleasure to collaborate with so many talented and dedicated people to design what we hope to be a great interface,” he said. “Thanks to the recommendations of engineers involved in hardware and software product integration, the MIPI SoundWire specification embeds built-in self-test and debug capabilities.”

The MIPI Alliance offers MIPI SoundWire in addition to MIPI SLIMbus®, an interface that supports a wide range of digital audio and control solutions needed to transport audio for larger-sized components in mobile terminals, such as the processor and modem. MIPI SoundWire has a lower gate count and can be embedded in small, very-cost-sensitive audio peripherals such as amplifiers and microphones. MIPI SoundWire can coexist with MIPI SLIMbus or non-MIPI interfaces through bridging solutions.

For more information about MIPI SoundWire, please visit bit.ly/soundwire.

The MIPI Alliance is presenting a paper on MIPI SoundWire at the Audio Engineering Society convention in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. The paper will be presented by Pierre-Louis Bossart on behalf of the MIPI Alliance. For information about the presentation, please visit www.aes.org/events/137/ebriefs/?ID=4233.

About MIPI Alliance

MIPI Alliance (MIPI) develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries. Founded in 2003, the organization has more than 275 member companies worldwide, more than 15 active working groups, and has delivered more than 45 specifications within the mobile ecosystem in the last decade. Members of the organization include handset manufacturers, device OEMs, software providers, semiconductor companies, application processor developers, IP providers, test and test equipment companies, as well as camera, tablet and laptop manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.mipi.org.