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Xilinx eyes great opportunity for PLD in Asia

Posted: 05 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CPLD? Xilinx? programmable logic? CoolRunner-II? Asia?

Loftus: We've grown about 60 percent in the consumer market, and that growth has been largely driven by Asia Pacific.

Noting Asian engineering teams' relentless efforts to innovate and add new features to industry-leading products, David Loftus, Xilinx VP and general manager for its CPLD division, sees a "greater opportunity for PLDs" in the Asia-Pacific region.

Loftus observed that design engineers in Asia are facing more and more challenges. "[They're] trying to integrate more functionalities more quickly into their devices," he said. "So they're concerned about flexibility, power, cost and design time."

Enter the PLDs, which Loftus believes help designers by giving them "differentiation in the marketplace."

Add PL to portables
Last month, Xilinx showcased a CoolRunner-II CPLD-enabled handset demonstration platform with TI OMAP processor compatibility at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show. CoolRunner-II is the company's lead CPLD product family, which allows designers to add programmable logic in portable CE devices such as digital cameras, cellphones, portable media players, GPS devices and handheld medical instruments. It has a low standby current, about 15?A, which is important in power-conscious applications like portables, Loftus said.

"Most people want to pull a standard chipset off the shelf," Loftus shared. "[But] they can't do the same thing that the next guy does. The ability to differentiate themselves is going to drive their future success."

"If you got 20 different manufacturers all using a TI OMAP850 processor and those 20 different manufacturers need to differentiate themselves from one another, they do so by adding features and designing things in different ways," Loftus expounded. "And that's where programmable logic can come into help them introduce additional features and enhancements very quickly."

With the forecasted growth of medical portables, Loftus sees another area where they're "going to start focusing more effort on."

"That's really an intriguing area for us," Loftus said of portable medical devices. "The trend is to be able to have many more portable medical devices such as handheld ultrasound machines." He also cited physicians' sophisticated wireless PDAs, which enable users to dispense prescriptions and access patients' records immediately. Loftus shared that PLDs are also increasingly being used in timing control for LCDs.

Besides offering designers differentiation in the market, programmable logic can also help CE products get to market faster.

"In the overall consumer space, it used to be that there was a CPU, memory and some interface," Loftus shared. "Then, they'll put the miscellaneous logic into an ASIC. But there are a lot of challenges to that todayit's getting technically tougher to be able to turn ASICs more quickly. In addition to that, the product life cycles are shrinking. Thus, [engineers] are more driven by time-to-market demands."

Asia's significance
Xilinx sees great opportunity in Asia Pacific. "Obviously, it's a great growth market for everyone. But I think that Asia Pacific offers a much greater opportunity for PLDs," the Xilinx executive said. According to him, Xilinx's CPLD business is doing well in the Asian market. "Year on year, we've grown about 60 percent in the consumer market, and that growth has been largely driven by Asia Pacific."

Xilinx has also been strengthening its presence in the region, maintaining offices in Singapore, India, China, Hong Kong and Japan. Last month, it established an R&D team in its Singapore headquarters to assist in the development of its next-generation 45nm FPGA family.

Asked about the possibility of a CPLD R&D team in Asia, Loftus said they "are currently evaluating that right now. We certainly want to be able to put our engineers in markets closer to our end customers."

- Maria Cecilia Carpena
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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