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Emerging $5-FPGA, a mainstream market

Posted: 06 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:market? outlook? business? $5? fpga?

Increasing ASIC tooling costs, rocketing ASIC NRE costs, shrinking product life-cycles, multiplying interface standards, shrinking FPGA costs and time-to-market pressures are forcing the industry to switch from ASIC solution to FPGA-based solution. FPGA vendors were able to cash in selling many products with prices in the several hundred-dollar region, aided by the telecom hysteria of the late 1990s. Today, as the economy and new markets are forcing designers to look for solutions with ever-lower prices, the emergence of the $5 FPGA is becoming a mainstream market.

For two decades, the "Holy Grail" of the pld business has been speed and density build a bigger, faster FPGA and the world would beat a path to your door. However, for most commercial applications, PLD manufacturers offer products that are big and fast enough to do the job. Hence, we've seen the emergence of a new set of criteria for choosing a PLD. While unit price remains a significant criterion, customers are demanding cost-effective FPGAs that offer reduced total system cost, greater security, lower power consumption and protection against firm errors.

Though SRAM-based FPGA is still gaining the biggest market share, this makes flash and antifuse-based FPGA technologies become attractive for key applications which require high-performance, high-reliability, high-security, lowest-power and cost-effective in market segments such as military, aerospace, automotive, severe environments, consumer and industrial. And that is why we focus on flash-based and antifuse-based FPGA business.

In the next few years, FPGA applications in consumer, automotive and industrial market are all poised for growth, and flash-based FPGA technology is expected to grow significantly. In mainland China market, we are seeing big business growth in applications like car electronics diagnostic system, motor control, serve control, power control equipment in power station, DTV, POS terminals, office equipments and tax-charge machines.

In Taiwan, we will continuously keep our leading position in the DVR area. Today, actel's eX, SX-A and ProASIC Plus FPGA is the first choice for four to 16 channels DVR, and in 2005 we will continuously focus on consumer electronics applications such as DVB and wireless products.

- John East

CEO and President

Actel Corp.

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