Zarlink Expands Voice Processing Portfolio by Introducing Voice Messaging and Prompting for Advanced Speakerphones

- Integrated hardware and firmware voice processing platform reduces cost, solves performance and integration issues and simplifies speakerphone development

OTTAWA, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. (NYSE: ZL) (TSX: ZL) today expanded its hands-free voice processing portfolio with new firmware that simplifies design, reduces cost and speeds time-to-market for feature-rich desktop phones and home automation systems.

The ZLS(TM)38503 firmware supports a range of features, including voice recording and prompting, dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) receiver, tone generator, call progress tone detection, and caller ID. The voice messaging and prompting firmware works with the previously released ZL38004 hardware platform and ZLS38502 advanced speakerphone firmware to provide a complete solution. Zarlink's integrated voice processing firmware provides designers with a 30-40 percent cost-savings compared to using discrete DTMF and caller ID chips.

"Zarlink offers customers a complete, advanced voice processing platform that reduces cost and solves integration issues while enhancing voice quality in hands-free communication systems," said Andrew Faulkner, director of Zarlink's Voice Processing product line. "Zarlink's fully integrated hardware and firmware solution eliminates the need for discrete components and can be easily upgraded in-field to support future functionality. In comparison, alternative solutions often require third-party or internally developed firmware ported to a DSP. This consumes valuable MIPS and adds to development time, cost and complexity."

Firmware supporting voice features

The ZLS38503 firmware supports voice prompting/messaging and signaling features. Voice prompting asks the user to perform a function, for example to leave a message after the tone, or provides the user with caller ID information. The messaging allows the user to leave a message. The signaling block includes caller ID type 1 detection, DTMF detection, tone generator (including DTMF generation) and call progress tone detection. Alternative solutions would require a number of components to support these features.

An integrated tone generator creates single and dual tones, including pre-programmed DTMF tones. The tone ringer can generate unique ringer tones for an electronic ringer. The integrated DTMF receiver detects tones for pass code entry and message playback on phone systems. In home automation systems, the DTMF receiver can be used to detect keypad tones to control certain applications, for example secure door entry.

Zarlink's ZLS38502 application-specific firmware is a complete package of noise reduction and echo cancellation algorithms specifically designed to provide high-end voice quality in a wide range of speakerphone-enabled systems. The firmware supports full-duplex operation, and integrates psychoacoustic noise reduction along with acoustic echo cancellation and equalization. The ZL38004 hands-free voice processing hardware platform comprises a voice optimized digital signal processor (DSP), integrated memory and dual high-performance CODECs. Zarlink firmware is loaded onto the hardware platform via either an external flash memory or through a microprocessor microport, making the voice processing platform extremely flexible and able to support customization when required.

Availability and support

Zarlink's hands-free voice processing platform is available as a kit to allow customers to choose from lightly to fully featured hardware options and application-specific firmware for car kits and speakerphones. Firmware is royalty free, and is field upgradeable to support future enhancements. For more information on the ZL38004 hardware platform and firmware options, visit:

Complete information on Zarlink's hands-free voice processing firmware and hardware, including detailed data sheets, is available to qualified customers. To learn how to become a qualified customer contact your local sales representative.

Zarlink's voice processing technologies are fully supported by a complete range of design tools, including evaluation boards, diagnostic tool kits and reference designs, to remove system-tuning complexity and speed time-to-market. More information on Zarlink's voice processing technology is available at

About Zarlink Semiconductor

For over 30 years, Zarlink Semiconductor has delivered semiconductor solutions that drive the capabilities of voice, enterprise, broadband and wireless communications. The Company's success is built on its technology strengths including voice and data networks, optoelectronics and ultra low-power communications. For more information, visit

Shareholders and other individuals wishing to receive, free of charge, copies of the reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Regulatory Authorities, should visit the Company's web site at or contact Investor Relations.

Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, among others, the following: our dependence on the successful development and market introduction of new products; our ability to successfully integrate businesses acquired in the future; our ability to operate profitably and generate positive cash flows in the future; our dependence on our foundry suppliers and third-party subcontractors; order cancellations and deferrals by our customers; and other factors referenced in our Annual Report on Form 20-F. Investors are encouraged to consider the risks detailed in this filing.

Zarlink and the Zarlink Semiconductor logo are trademarks of Zarlink

Semiconductor Inc.

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