Marty Hauff, Altium
EETimes (10/5/2010 7:37 PM EDT)
Since their introduction in the mid-80s, FPGAs have managed to wedge themselves as a fixture into the electronics design landscape. Sitting somewhere between off-the-shelf (OTS) logic, ASICs, OTS processors, and ASSPs, they continue to enjoy growth predictions beyond those of the rest of the semiconductor industry.
The FPGA vendors naturally (and generally) focus on the high-end capabilities of their devices and on continuing to introduce more gates into smaller physical packages at lower prices. But, as with many other sectors and products, there is also a "Long Tail" market for FPGAs lurking in the shadows that opens up new opportunities for electronics designers and their companies.
Popularized by Chris Anderson, the Long Tail refers to market segments characterized by many niche players rather than a few dominant ones. Instead of selling to traditional, high-volume customers, Long Tail marketers focus on making many, small-volume sales that accumulate to form a profitable business model.
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