Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Intel buys Omnitek; Qualcomm, Apple drop litigation; 112G Long Reach SerDes; EDA & IP down in Q4.


Intel acquired vision and video FPGA IP company Omnitek. Founded in 1998, the Basingstoke, England-based company has produced FPGA IP cores for video processing including conversion and enhancement, creating arbitrary image warps on a real time video stream, connectivity, and deep learning and AI inferencing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Qualcomm and Apple have dropped all litigation between the companies. The two companies have been embroiled in legal battles in multiple countries for two years stemming from allegations of patent extortion and patent infringement, among other accusations. The settlement includes payment of an undisclosed amount from Apple to Qualcomm, which investment bank UBS estimates as between $5 billion and $6 billion. The companies also entered into a six-year royalty-based license agreement with two-year option to extend as well as a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Intel is withdrawing from the 5G smartphone modem market. The company says it may yet develop 5G modems for IoT devices and PCs, and will continue to invest in network infrastructure. “We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. This announcement followed news of the Qualcomm-Apple settlement.

Rambus unveiled its 112G Long Reach SerDes PHY on a leading-edge 7nm process node. The PHY features a scalable ADC-based architecture with support for PAM-4 and NRZ signaling, DSP-based architecture for improved signal to noise ratio and extended reach, and configurable PPA optimization for medium reach and long reach applications. The IP targets next-generation terabit switches, routers, optical transport networks, and high-performance networking equipment.

M31 Technology says it will develop SRAM Compiler IP on TSMC’s 28nm Embedded Flash process technology and is expected to be available to customers in the third quarter.

Deals & Certifications
DisplayLink licensed Arteris IP’s FlexNoC interconnect IP for use in its integrated connectivity chipsets. DisplayLink cited FlexNoC as providing a predictable infrastructure for high frequency interconnects required in its SoC family.

Synopsys teamed up with STMicroelectronics to speed development of automotive electronic systems and software by providing Synopsys Virtualizer Development Kits (VDKs) for the ST Stellar family of automotive multicore MCUs. VDKs enable software development before hardware availability, and the companies said ST’s automotive tier 1 customers were able to develop software and test patterns 18 months ahead of the first Stellar samples.

Arm China selected Mentor’s Questa Simulation with Power Aware verification solution to handle critical tasks in the development of its next-generation low-power MCU cores. Arm China cited smooth bring-up and a 100% pass rate against all target designs, as well as performance in complex verification environments.

Cadence’s LPDDR4/4X memory IP subsystem on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Compact (16FFC) technology achieved ISO 26262 ASIL C certification from SGS-TÜV Saar. The automotive-grade subsystem includes DDR PHY, controller IP, and VIP.

EDA and IP revenue dropped 3.1% in Q4 2018 to $2.570 billion, versus $2.652 billion in the same period in 2017, ending a streak of 11 consecutive positive quarters of growth, according to the Electronic System Design (ESD) Alliance. CAE grew 2.4% to $866.2 million in Q4 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. IC physical design and verification, in contrast, dropped 11.8% to $485.1 million. PCB and MCM revenue was up 2.6% to $247.3 million, while semiconductor IP dropped 3.5% to $866.1 million. Services revenue was down 10.7% to $105.5 million. On a four-quarter basis, which records broader trends over a 12-month period, all markets were up except for IP, which has been attributed to an accounting change. Hiring was still up, with 7.1% more professionals employed in the industry than in Q4 2017 and 1.5% more than last quarter.

DAC 2019: June 2-6 in Las Vegas, NV. The conference and exhibition includes a range of tracks, including last year’s addition of machine learning/AI. On the show floor, the Design Infrastructure Alley will return for a second year. Free registration is now open to attend the exhibits and keynotes, sponsored by Avatar Integrated Systems, ClioSoft and Truechip.

ES Design West: July 9-11 in San Francisco, CA. The new conference focuses on IP, EDA, embedded software, design services, and infrastructure. Along with a dedicated conference track, there will be presentations and panels on the show floor. Presented by the ESD Alliance, the conference is co-located with SEMICON West.

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