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Silicon Labs seeks market leadership via one-stop timing shop

Posted: 19 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:timing chip? oscillator chip? timing technologies?

Strengthened by its recent purchase of MEMS oscillator maker Silicon Clocks and traditional timing chip developer SpectraLinear, Silicon Laboratories Inc. claims it has devised a long-term strategy that will ensure its leadership in the timing chip market. The company reported 70 percent growth for its timing business as well as timing chip sales of $50 million in 2010, and is eyeing high double-digit growth in 2011.

"Our strategy is to grow market share in all segmentsto become a one-stop-shop for timing and oscillator chips," said Mike Petrowski, general manager of timing products at Silicon Labs. "We entered the market at the high end and have pushed downward into associated markets, with over 100 high-volume low-cost devices from SpectraLinear, which filled out our portfolio."

Silicon Labs' strategy is to boost its image by offering timing chip technologies unavailable elsewhere, such as its recently announced Si5374 and Si5375, which the company claims are the first single-chip timing chips to integrate four "any frequency" oscillators by virtue of its proprietary. MutiSynth uses fractional-frequency multipliers, as opposed to competitors who require that multifrequency clocks be integer-multiples of each other. Silicon Labs also claims that its separate PLLs for each frequency provide 40 percent lower jitter than competitors.

"We are making the investments in innovations necessary to transform our company into the number one timing solution provider," said Petrowski. "To us, it's all about building a better mousetrap."

Silicon Labs has also created what the company calls FPGA of timing chips by allowing customers to design and order customized parts from its website. The configurable clock generators built with its online ClockBuilder Utility are available as samples in just two weeks, which the company claims is 60 percent faster than mask-customized clocks.

Silicon Labs also claims that its timing chips use from 20 to 40 percent less power than competitors, have a 30 percent smaller footprint, and best-in-class EMI indices by virtue of configurable rise/fall times, output impedance, spread spectrum profiles, output skew and frequency.

Silicon Labs timing chips are used in a wide variety of electronic devices including smartphones, touchscreen tablets, digital cameras, printers, graphics cards, STBs, HDTVs, network gateways and embedded systems including storage, blade servers, STBs, industrial automation, and medical and test equipment.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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