Skip to main content

Khronos Group Announces New OpenMAX Open Standard for Enabling Effective Media Acceleration

Semiconductor and software leaders including ARM, Motorola, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments found new Khronos Working Group 
and invite open industry participation

July 6, 2004 – EXPO COMM WIRELESS JAPAN – The Khronos™ Group today announced the formation of the new OpenMAX™ working group to define a royalty-free, cross-platform API (application programming interface) that standardizes access to multimedia processing primitives used extensively in extensively in video codecs such as MPEG-4, audio and image codecs, and 2D and 3D graphics.  The OpenMAX API will enable library and codec implementers to rapidly and effectively make use of the full potential of new silicon – regardless of the underlying hardware architecture.  The early availability of optimized media libraries on a new processor in turn encourages a rich variety of media content to be rapidly available on that platform. 

The OpenMAX working group was originally founded and promoted by a number of leading Khronos Members including ARM (LSE:ARM); (NASDAQ: ARMHY), Motorola (NASDAQ: MOT), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LSE:(GDR): SSNHY, KSE: 005930.KS), STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STMEF) and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN).  The initial work undertaken by these companies is now available, under the formal Khronos Group participation framework, to any Khronos member who wishes to participate in the OpenMAX working group.

The Khronos Group has successfully developed market-driving open standard graphics and multimedia APIs since 2000. Today, in addition to the announcement of OpenMAX, Khronos also announced the formation of a second new API: the OpenVG™ initiative to provide a low-level hardware acceleration interface for vector graphics libraries such as Flash and SVG on handheld devices.  Khronos invites any company with interest to join as a member and participate in the development of any of these standards.  Please go to for more information.

Developers, editors or analysts with an interest in learning more about Khronos Group Standards and the effect they are having on the digital media industry are invited to an in-depth briefing with Khronos President and OpenGL ES Work Group Chairman, Neil Trevett, at EXPO COMM WIRELESS JAPAN, July 21-23, 2004, or see demos of Khronos APIs in action on the Khronos Stand #1022 on the North American Pavilion.  Please email Khronos for an appointment or more information. See for information on the Khronos Member Demos.

The OpenMAX working group recognizes that a wide variety of third party video, still image, audio, graphics, gaming and voice applications is vital to the success of next-generation mobile devices.  However, software developers are currently losing valuable time-to-market by being forced to port and optimize their applications across different silicon architectures. OpenMAX helps solve this industry problem by defining an API to access computational primitives that typically absorb the bulk of the processing load when implementing the libraries and codecs used by these applications.  OpenMAX is being designed to be efficiently implemented on a wide variety of architectures including CPUs, DSPs and parallel processor arrays – enabling silicon vendors to provide ready-optimized OpenMAX drivers for their processors.  This in turn enables the rapid development of optimized libraries and codecs, eliminating the need for many common functions to be re-implemented by software developers as they port multimedia applications across different architectures.

“OpenMAX is a significant new standard, and a step forward in fulfilling Khronos’ charter to develop and deploy royalty-free, open standards to create graphics and dynamic media market growth,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and senior vice president of market development at 3Dlabs.  There is great synergy between all Khronos APIs: OpenGL ES, OpenVG, OpenML, and now OpenMAX; which will enable these three higher level APIs to be efficiently implemented and ported to many platforms.”

“The OpenMAX standard aligns well with ARM’s commitment to support open standards for both hardware and software interfaces,” said Derek Morris, director of multimedia, ARM and acting chairman of the OpenMAX Working Group. “OpenMAX will make a significant contribution to the availability of software that is essential for the success of new multimedia devices, by broadening software application support for all multimedia functions. This support will make it much easier for software vendors to port applications to different environments and so give them a competitive edge.”

“Motorola, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., enthusiastically supports the development of the OpenMAX multimedia standard within Khronos,” said Duane Rabe,  Vice President of the Technical Staff, Personal Communications Sector, Motorola Inc. “We expect this to significantly accelerate the development of exciting new multimedia applications for mobile devices, extending far beyond the capabilities of current cellular phones. Mobile device manufacturers, semiconductor suppliers and software developers will all benefit from a common standard interface for multimedia applications, and consumers will enjoy a rich multimedia experience via a broad selection of high-performance mobile devices.”

“The OpenMAX standard will enable leading companies to promote an open interface that will be a catalyst for new features supporting a large variety of high-end multimedia applications,” said Dr. Stephen Oh, Vice President of the System LSI division at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung looks forward to working in collaboration through OpenMAX to extend innovation in mobile multimedia space.”

“STMicroelectronics supports several initiatives to enable application developers to benefit from our innovative silicon platforms,” said Alessandro Cremonesi, Vice President, Advanced System Technology, STMicroelectronics, “We welcome OpenMAX as one of them.”

“Wireless market growth is driven by the proliferation of new products and software development,” said Roger Nolan, Marketing manager, Software Strategy, Texas Instruments.  “The OpenMAX standard will accelerate such development across multiple product categories by allowing software vendors to quickly and easily realize the potential of current and next-generation multimedia accelerators.” 

About Khronos
The Khronos Group is a member-funded industry consortium focused on the creation of open standard APIs to enable the authoring and playback of dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.  All Khronos members are able to contribute to the development of Khronos API specifications, are empowered to vote at various stages before public deployment, and are able to accelerate the delivery of their cutting-edge 3D platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.  Please go to for more information.


Khronos, OpenVG and OpenMAX are trademarks of the Khronos Group Inc. OpenGL and OpenML are registered trademarks and the OpenGL ES logo is a trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc. used by permission by Khronos. All other product names, trademarks, and/or company names are used solely for identification and belong to their respective owners.