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Key Asia-Pacific industry trends to expect in 2006

Posted: 01 Feb 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer applications? telecom infrastructure? wireless equipment?

While we are seeing more electronic design activities in Singapore and Malaysia, especially for low-cost consumer applications, the hot story is the explosive growth of the Indian market. A lot of investment is going into upgrading and expanding India's telecom infrastructure, especially on the wireless equipment side. At the same time, the demand for consumer electronics is also rising as the economy expands and Indians become more affluent. Multinational companies are increasingly outsourcing to India's independent design houses.

For the Asia-Pacific consumer electronics market, the convergence of IT, telecoms and broadcast industries is leading to the development of new technologies and standards for flat-panel displays (FPDs), DVD players/recorders, digital STBs, MP3/portable media players, multimedia-centric handsets/smartphones and in-car entertainment systems. A significant portion of the Asia-Pacific computer market is manufactured for exports. Hence, it is heavily influenced by key worldwide technology trends such as the growing popularity of mobile computing, FPDs and a richer multimedia PC experience.

As competition increases in all end-markets, Asia-Pacific design engineers will need to focus more than ever on four key challenges: higher performance, lower cost, faster time-to-market and product differentiation. These four challenges are better solved by using PLDs instead of ASICs/ASSPs in a wide range of applications. PLDs are reprogrammable, which is extremely beneficial for end-markets that are still defining standards or are highly competitive. Declining ASIC starts (only 4,000 per year) and increasing FPGA/PLD starts (over 80,000 per year) indicate the growing momentum of programmability.

Another way to solve these four key challenges is to look for a total design solution, especially since designs are getting more complex due to integration and low-power requirements. Yet integration continues to be a big challenge for electronic designers because software modeling and testing is still an overlooked simulation technology. Thus, a country like India that has strong software-development expertise can do well by focusing on providing system-level design solutions that seamlessly integrate software onto the hardware platform.

One of the biggest changes today will be the shift to 65nm process technology. First-mover advantage for adopting 65nm technology will be based on previous 90nm execution success, even for fabless companies. Moving to 65nm technology will increase design cost and time for ASICs/ASSPs, making PLDs a more cost-effective option. You can expect that the progress of Moore's Law will push programmable system platforms into more applications across a variety of end-markets.

- Yang Chiah Yee
Sales VP for Asia-Pacific
Xilinx Inc.

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