The Week In Review: Design/IoT

ARM buys Carbon; tool updates for FPGA synthesis, PCB design, wireless development; IP for USB Type-C, MIPI D-PHY; DSP development platform; automotive Ethernet; Q3 for ARM and Rambus.



ARM acquired Carbon Design Systems and its staff for an undisclosed sum, adding virtual prototyping capabilities for ARM cores. In 2008, ARM sold Carbon the tools it acquired in the 2004 purchase of virtual prototype development company AXYS Design Automation.


Mentor Graphics updated its PADS software, adding 3D tool capabilities to provide visualization, placement, and design rule checking, plus major usability enhancements to the flow for PCB design.

Synopsys announced the latest release of its FPGA synthesis software tools, adding new multiprocessing technology that accelerates runtime by up to 3X compared to the previous generation, plus enables automatic integration of IP from multiple sources.

MathWorks introduced WLAN System Toolbox, which expands capabilities of MATLAB for wireless development by providing configurable physical layer waveforms for IEEE 802.11ac and 802.11b/a/g/n standards. The system toolbox provides reference designs to enable exploration of baseband specifications, and demodulate and recover signals.


Cadence unveiled an IP subsystem with pre-verified components including a single-chip port controller IP that integrates USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode. This new design IP enables the development of single-chip solutions for combining video, audio, USB and up to 100W of power on a single external connector.

Synopsys will demonstrate MIPI D-PHY IP on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Plus process operating at 2.5 Gbps per lane. The demonstration shows the D-PHY receiver (Rx) lane connected to Keysight Technologies’ test equipment, which provided burst-mode stimulus for stressed eye testing and the transmitter (Tx) lane connected to the Keysight oscilloscope displaying the transmitter’s performance.

CEVA introduced a DSP development platform built around a power-optimized 500MHz CEVA-TeakLite-4 DSP and subsystem implemented in silicon through a collaboration with SMIC, which fabricated it at their IoT-centric 55nmLP process.


OmniPhy and Innovasic joined forces on automotive Ethernet, combining the OmniPhy physical layer IP with Innovasic’s programmable 2-port switch IP for a complete communication interface to support the emerging IEEE 802.1 TSN Ethernet standards and 802.3 100Base-T1 physical layer.

Marvell announced an automotive Ethernet PHY transceiver compliant with the draft IEEE 802.3bp 1000BASE-T1 standard. The standard allows high speed and bi-directional data traffic over light weight, low cost, single pair cable harnesses.


ARM presented its third quarter numbers, with total dollar revenues in Q3 2015 of $375.5 million, up 17% versus Q3 2014. Said CEO Simon Segars, “Q3 has been another strong quarter for royalty revenue growth, driven by premium chip pricing and elevated royalty percentages from recently introduced ARMv8-A based chips.” Net cash generation was $133 million, down 5% from $140 million in Q3 of 2014. But for the first 9 months of the year, net cash increased to $381.4 million, up 14% over the $334.6 reported in the same period in 2014.

Rambus also released third quarter financials. Revenue for the quarter was $73.8 million, up 1% over Q2 2015 primarily due to higher royalty revenue offset by lower sales of security products. Net income was $182 million, compared with $5.5 million in the same period in 2014. The big change was a $174 million tax benefit. Not including the one-time gain, net income is still up 45%. As compared to Q3 2014, revenue was up 6%.