The Week In Review: System-Level Design

Cadence buys TranSwitch IP, wins Xbox One deal; Synopsys buys Target Compiler, works on UHD TV SoC; Mentor rolls out RTOS with QT; Apache president to step down; ARM debuts midrange update; Sonic wins patent for power controller.


Cadence bought TranSwitch’s high-speed interface IP assets. TranSwitch, which made chips for communications equipment, filed for bankruptcy in November. (The company’s Web site is no longer active.) Cadence also won a deal with Microsoft, which will use Tensilica processors in the new Xbox One audio subsystem. And Cadence rolled out HiFi Audio Tunneling for Android, which takes advantage of the new KitKat release to reduce audio processing power by up to 14X. The move can double smartphone playback time.

Synopsys acquired Target Compiler Technologies, a private Belgian company that makes tools for application-specific instruction-set processors. No purchase price was given. Synopsys also is working with Realtek and UMC to develop single-chip UHD TV SoCs. The chips will be based on UMC’s 40nm process technology. In addition, Synopsys won a deal with Alango Technologies for voice communication applications based on Synopsys’ ARC processors.

Mentor Graphics unveiled a new version of its embedded RTOS that includes the QT open-source application framework, greatly extending its reach into a broader user base.

Ansys-Apache said Andrew Yang—the founder of Apache Design, which was acquired by ANSYS—will step down from his current role as president of the Apache business. He will continue working at the company until Aug. 1, which is three years after the acquisition.

ARM rolled out a midrange line of processors, the A17, which it says has 60% better performance than the Cortex-A9. The company is pairing the processor with its graphics processing unit for midrange mobile applications, as well as smart TVs and the updated version of set-top boxes, which it is calling “Over-the-Top” media devices.

Sonics received a new patent for an intelligent power controller. The company said the technology will offer up to 50% power savings by reducing power transition times and eliminating CPU overhead.

IBM is considering selling its semiconductor unit, according to press reports. Chips plus hardware account for only about 16% of the company’s revenues, said the Financial Times.

The White House Office of Science and Technology began promoting secure access to health information using a “Blue Button” program. The program’s guidelines provide a standard set of machine-readable formats. For the semiconductor industry, the target market is chips that make those formats readable.

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