Howard Li, QuickLogic(11/28/2007 12:42 PM EST) -- EE Times
The mobile device market places many demands on development teams, including increasing complexity, shrinking market windows, and the need to quickly create many product variations having ever-changing feature sets. To meet these demands, developers are turning to a new design approach and creating platforms upon which to base multiple product variations.
The platform design approach has become popular in response to an increasingly complex and uncertain consumer electronics market, especially in the realms of handheld and mobile devices. Consumers demand new features and better performance while expecting unaffected battery lives and stable or lower prices. However, the fates of new features can be hard to predict. Some are popularized and widely adopted by the market, but others fail to capture market interest and fade away. Furthermore, different geographic and demographic groups have their own unique expectations, requiring vendors to offer a wide range of product variations.
All of these consumer expectations create a challenging design environment in which vendors must produce a wide array of increasingly sophisticated products endowed with an uncertain mix of new features. What's more, vendors must do so quickly and inexpensively so they can offer competitive products and pricing. Their design approach must be flexible, innovative and speedy, and it must also facilitate the inexpensive creation of derivative designs.
Traditional development methods are proving inadequate to this task. Microprocessors, the keystone of flexible design because of their programmability, are running out of steam. Required feature sets are now so complex and rapidly changing that current processors cannot implement them within cost, power and time-to-market constraints. Standard IC products, or ASSPs (application specific standard products), do not support feature innovation and fail to provide the feature flexibility required by ever-changing market demands. Custom logic (ASICs) is too costly and time-consuming to develop.
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