Standard for Application-level Video, Audio, Image Processing

khronos-logoThe Khronos Group announced yesterday that it has publicly released the OpenMAX AL 1.0 specification, a royalty-free, cross-platform C-language API for high-performance multimedia applications on mobile and embedded devices. The OpenMAX AL standard simplifies deployment of hardware and software audio, video and imaging capabilities across any platform or operating system. OpenMAX AL enables developers to create rich media applications across a wide range of hardware devices.

OpenMAX AL (Application Layer) enables native applications to be portable across multiple operating systems and hardware platforms by providing an extensive application-level API that enables high-level abstraction for comprehensive audio-visual media functionality. OpenMAX AL provides the ability to create and control player and recorder objects, connecting them to configurable input and output objects.
Inputs and outputs include content readers and writers, headphones, loudspeakers, microphones, display windows, cameras, broadcast radios, LEDs and other types of A/V devices.

OpenMAX AL enables applications to run on a multitude of hardware-accelerated systems as well as software-based media solutions. OpenMAX AL has been designed by many of the leading industry audio, video and photography experts across a range of industries to provide access to a broad range of media functionality, which includes:

• Playback of audio, video, still images and MIDI
• Recording of audio and video from device’s microphone and camera
• Still image shooting including extensive controls for the camera such as exposure settings, zooming and focusing
• Extraction and insertion of content metadata
• General audio controls such as volume, rate and equalizer
• Visual controls such as brightness, contrast, gamma, resizing, mirroring and visual effects such as monochrome, emboss and negative
• Analog radio controls including RDS
• Support for LED and vibrator control

OpenMAX AL is the highest layer of the OpenMAX family of APIs for multimedia acceleration and application development. In addition, Khronos also provides the OpenMAX IL (Integration Layer) API which defines a low-level abstraction to codecs, file manipulations, transformations and peripheral components on a system. OpenMAX IL enables system integrators and media framework vendors to efficiently and flexibly integrate the internals of a multimedia architecture with a range of different acceleration silicon. OpenMAX IL may be used as an efficient acceleration layer for implementing OpenMAX AL and enables media processing components to interoperate with each other, even if they are delivered from multiple vendors. The latest version of OpenMAX IL, v1.1.2, was released in September 2008.

The OpenMAX AL specification is immediately available for download at and may be used royalty-free by implementers and developers. A paid Adopters Program for OpenMAX AL is also available immediately at which provides extensive conformance tests to ensure cross-implementation consistency and a trademark license for conformant implementations.

“The Khronos Working group for OpenMAX AL is very proud to have achieved our goal of releasing the 1.0 version of this important new specification here at Korea Games Conference, an important venue for graphics and visual technologies,” said Yeshwant Muthusamy, a technology manager at Nokia and Chair of the OpenMAX AL Working Group at Khronos. “Many of the key mobile media industry companies have actively participated in making this standard as robust and inclusive as it has become, and we are very confident that the multimedia community will embrace OpenMAX AL to enable the widest range of
platform-independent rich media applications.”

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