Piyush Sancheti is currently the senior director of business development at Atrenta
EETimes (11/4/2010 10:23 AM EDT)
To answer the question, you have to start with what is driving the future of system on chip (SoC) design. Unless we all suddenly decide to stop buying the next cool electronic gadget on the market, and the one after that, consumer electronics will continue to be the biggest consumer of SoCs. The electronic content in our daily life keeps growing, and so does the need to stay connected wherever we happen to be on the planet. This will continue to fuel the growth of consumer electronics and SoC design.
The battleground in consumer electronics continues to be time-to-market, software applications, user experience and cost, not always in that order depending on the end-market. You can lose upwards of 50 percent market share if you are late to the market by a few weeks, and in some cases be completely shut out – Christmas does only come once a year after all! As a result, SoC design schedules usually are extremely aggressive and deadlines often non-negotiable. On the other hand, the software content in consumer electronics devices is exploding and so is the required computer horsepower. What used to be a single processor now has been replaced with dual or quad processors, graphics processors, microcontrollers, DSP, etc. A typical Smartphone today has more computing horsepower than a mid-size desktop just a few years ago. Memories on-chip and off-chip (and we are talking hundreds of Gigabytes now) are another major requirement – not just the amount of storage, but rapid access to it as well. Standard interfaces are yet another aspect of any consumer electronic chip where the device must plug into various standards - USB, SATA, HDMI, PCI-X, and so on. And to make sure all of these components are able to communicate with each other you need bus fabrics to handle all the traffic.
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