The Week In Review: Design/IoT

On buys Fairchild; enterprise emulation; updates from Sonics; new IP from CEVA, Imagination, and Arasan; IPextreme adds NXP USB IP; NFC on medications; Synopsys breach; Mentor’s Q3.


Mergers & Acquisitions
On Semiconductor signed a definitive agreement to buy Fairchild Semiconductor for $2.4 billion in cash, combining forces in the power semiconductor market. The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions and combinations as companies position themselves for the IoT/IoE/IIoT, a world of connected devices that spans from industrial to automotive to smartphones. Companies have been rushing to leverage cheap capital ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s expected rate hike next month.

Fairchild was one of the earliest pioneers of the semiconductor industry, tracing its roots back to 1955 when William Shockley,  co-inventor of the transistor, founded Shockley Semiconductor. Disillusioned with Shockley’s management, the company’s brain trust left en masse in 1957, led by Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and others. In the interim, the so-called Traitorous Eight developed a means of mass producing transistors. Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp. invested in the project, then bought the company, which was sold to National Semiconductor in 1987. A decade later, Fairchild was reborn as an independent company.

Cadence unveiled its datacenter-class emulation system, which the company says delivers up to 5X greater emulation throughput than the previous generation. The platform executes up to 2304 parallel jobs and scales up to 9.2 billion gates.

Sonics introduced a new version of its SoC development environment, adding calculations that statically predict the performance capacities of the chosen network configuration. Its network on chip IP was also updated, adding timeout error detection capability that identifies IP cores that fail to accept or complete required transactions.

CEVA released DSP vector processors supporting the full range of emerging cellular as well as the suite of Low Power Wide Area Network standards. Target applications include wearalone wearables, smart grid, surveillance systems, asset tracking, remote monitoring systems, connected cars and smart utilities.

Imagination announced a new end-to-end debug environment that simplifies integration and debugging of MIPS heterogeneous CPU based systems or systems that combine MIPS CPUs with other CPU architectures.

Arasan uncorked MIPI SLIMbus v2.0 IP. The latest version of the SLIMbus standard, used to interconnect audio components in mobile and mobile-influenced devices, adds a new approach for multiline configuration and capability for multiple phase-aligned audio streams.

IPextreme will be bringing NXP’s USB IP cores to the market, beginning with an initial set of USB2.0 High-Speed/Full-Speed and USB1.1 products, while planning to deliver USB 3.1 products towards the end of 2016.

IoT & Security
NXP launched a plan to improve adherence to long-term health treatments, focusing on a system where a patient’s smartphone can interface with an NFC-enabled sensor embedded in blister packs or pill bottles.

Synopsys discovered unauthorized third-party access to its EDA, IP and optical products and product license files through its customer-facing license and product delivery system. It was determined that no customer project or design data in this system was accessed, and there is no indication that this incident affected any other Synopsys systems. The method used to gain access has been closed.

Terminus Technology, a custom analog, RF, and I/O IP company based in Taiwan, adopted Mentor’s Analog FastSPICE for verification and device noise analysis of its data converter, power management, Wireless LAN, high-speed I/O and PLL circuits.

Gaming company Valve teamed up with Marvell on the Steam Link wireless streaming device, implementing Marvell’s streaming-focused SoC and its 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip.

Rambus partnered with Los Alamos National Laboratory in evaluating elements of its Smart Data Acceleration Research Program, with the aim of improving the performance of in-memory databases, graph analytics and other Big Data applications.

Mentor Graphics reported third quarter financial results, reporting revenues of $291 million (down 0.7% from the same quarter last year), non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.28 (down 18%), and GAAP earnings per share of $0.12 (down 33%). CEO Wally Rhines noted semiconductor industry consolidations as having a negative impact on business.