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ASIC market steps into a new era of customization

Posted: 29 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:asic? in-stat/mdr? customization? assp?

In spite of what other market analysts say about ASIC designs going away, In-Stat/MDR strongly believes that the market is alive and well. It is just changing, particularly with regard to the point of customization.

The ASIC market is finally heading into a whole new era of customization using standard off-the-shelf products. It is evolving from customer-specific to customer-defined devices, and will remain one of the few product segments that will maintain better than average margins.

According to In-Stat/MDR, product differentiation will be responsible for the market's health along with innovation. Specifically, differentiation will mandate the ongoing need for customization, and the Asia-Pacific will be the most dynamic region.

"Mainland China and Taiwan will be the most active of the Asia-Pacific, followed by South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to grow the fastest simply because the industrialized world, i.e., the Americas, Europe and Japan, are all becoming product saturated, and the only region that is not is Asia-Pacific," said Gerald S. Worchel, Principal Analyst, Digital Engines Service, In-Stat/MDR.

First-level issues

Innovation and economics are the two major first-level issues that will define the future evolution of the ASIC market, says In-Stat/MDR. The technology will continue to evolve to allow for the "innovation" and deployment of next-generation devices, products and systems, while, "economics," which is rapidly becoming more important than the first, is expected to govern the extent to which technology will evolve.

Economics still limit the rate of technical innovation even in the good years, as well as the rate of technical implementation. Although, equipment manufacturers develop the most advanced technology and products in the future, their costs can still make a product's success uncertain at best. For this reason, it is the consumer and not the business that controls the success of the industry.

Development platform

The challenge is to develop a technology in which one design can meet many applications, thus amortizing its development costs over a larger application base. In other words, one design with multiple applications can produce higher volumes and lower cost per device.

In-Stat/MDR is positive that the answer to the challenge is a "development platform." A development platform is a standard product, which can be customized into another standard product, or ASSP, or it can, just as easily, be customized to meet the design requirements of a single customer, and be unique to that customer.

With the advent of structured ASIC technology, and its ultimate evolution into the "true" development platform, the methodology for counting design starts must be redefined, In-Stat/MDR concluded.

The market research firm believes that when it comes to customer-specific designs one must not look at design starts, rather the customer-specific design solutions. The industry has finally come full circle from the original breadboard of forty years ago, to the single-chip development platform of today, and more notably for tomorrow, In-Stat/MDR added.

- Kathryn S. Gerardino

Electronic Engineering Times - Asia

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