The Week In Review: Sept. 13

Cadence upgrades emulation platform; Mentor adds interoperable test; Synopsys adds test compression; Intel targets tablets and mobile.

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By Ed Sperling
Cadence unveiled its next-generation emulation platform, greatly boosting the speed by up to 60x for embedded OS verification and by up to 10x for hardware/software verification. Overall, Cadence says the platform doubles verification productivity with a capacity of up to 2.3 billion gates. Cadence also reported that its mixed-signal LP flow allowed Silicon Labs to cut its MCU power consumption in half.  And Cadence won a deal with Dialog Semiconductor, which is licensing its Tensilica Hifi audio/voice DSP IP for its connectivity products.

Mentor Graphics made its IJTAG test product interoperable with its embedded instruments platform for IP integration. This allows self-test and diagnostics to be accessed from PCB debug, validation and test systems. Mentor also announced that Open-Silicon is using its test product for cell-aware test to improve test quality of SoCs. And it said that Renesas has cut its costs and improved the quality of its automotive electronics with built-in self test and hybrid test capabilities.

Synopsys extended its custom design collaboration agreement with TSMC to 16nm, supporting FinFET abutment rules, double patterning and middle-end-of-line layers. Synopsys also introduced its new test technology, which offers up to 3x higher compression and allows several die to be tested in parallel. In addition, the company rolled out a new release of its optical design software to speed up and allow more robust optical design optimization.

Intel used this year’s Intel Developer Forum rolled out an entirely new line of low-power, lower-performance chips called Quark, which it is aiming at the sensor and Internet of Things market. It also showed off a new line of 22nm Atom processors with promises of 14nm chips shipping in volume next year. Those 14nm versions will be Intel’s first commercial foray into double patterning. Intel is making a big push for tablets, two-in-one devices, and for smart phones, where it now can run the Android OS using out-of-order execution for a big boost in performance.

Expect a vigorous response from ARM, which will hold its TechCon event at the end of next month.

The biggest battleground markets between both ARM and Intel will be for smartphones and tablets. IDC projects that between this year and 2017, growth in the tablet market will be 78.9% to 227 million unites and in the smartphone market it will be 71.1%, or 1.013 billion units. By comparison, desktop PCs will decline 8.4% and notebook computers will grow a mere 8.7%.