By Nancy Owano / CIO Today. Updated August 28, 2013.
Wednesday's announcement from the Swedish news site Rapidus that Apple acquired data-compression rock stars AlgoTrim immediately ignited headlines from media sites all over the board.
AlgoTrim is now part of Apple, a win for what Apple needs -- high performance with minimized memory requirements -- and a win for what iOS users like best -- smart visuals looking even smarter.
The camera has always been a big selling point for iPhone fans, and AlgoTrim's image encoding technology will allow Apple to continue attracting consumers to its camera features.
Malmo-based AlgoTrim specializes in "lossless compression algorithms," and its products are based on a patented method used for compressing processor instructions.
The company has promoted its Code Compression Library as a "lossless and proprietary codec for compressing code, that is, the processor instructions. Its main use is to reduce the size of the firmware of a mobile device using NAND flash as non-volatile memory."
AlgoTrim has also featured optimized versions of standard codecs. According to the company, the optimized versions have typically been built for RISC processors, resulting in significant speedups of compression and/or decompression.
The algorithms accelerate processing speeds in mobile operating systems and applications, while at the same time reduce flash memory consumption.
What that means is that the consumer gets the best out of mobile imaging and video while minimizing memory requirements. Apple can deliver content to its iPhone users faster, with less strain on processing power and battery life.
Taking Visuals to Next Level
While all that good talk about power efficiency has to be one reason for the acquisition, one can never underestimate Apple's appetite for quality visuals.
AlgoTrim codecs could find their way into Apple's camera and image viewing and manipulation apps on iOS as Apple tries to take cameras to the next levels
Over the years, AlgoTrim, which was founded in 2005, has been gaining creds over imaging solutions that can bring "computational photography" to mobile devices.
Computational photography involves techniques for image capture, processing, and manipulation that enhance the capabilities of digital photography. Translated, computational photography provides ways to make pictures look better.
By early Wednesday, media outlets seeking official confirmation from Apple and AlgoTrim over the Rapidus report did not get far. But there was one sign that seemed to point to the deal -- AlgoTrim's co-founder, CEO and head of software development, Anders Holtsberg, recently moved to Silicon Valley, a short driving distance away from Apple's Cupertino campus.
A canned statement from Apple was subsequently sent to the various outlets seeking confirmation on Wednesday. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," according to the statement.
The AlgoTrim deal is the latest of recent Apple acquisitions, including Locationary, HopStop and Passif Semiconductor.