The DSP-core market continues to gain momentum, as Infineon Technologies North America Corp. joins the growing rank of competitors to offer their technology up for broad licensing.
Signing a licensing agreement with RealChip Inc. in an effort to advance its Carmel processor line, Infineon joins competitors like DSP Group Inc. and LSI Logic Corp. in its effort to seek a wider audience for its technology.
"Everybody has to have some kind of DSP capability," said Will Strauss, analyst with Forward Concepts Co., Tempe, Ariz. "There is really not a single chip manufacturer, expect for perhaps some specialized analog houses, that doesn't need access to a DSP core. It's hard to imagine a mainline semiconductor company today that doesn't have a DSP core."
RealChip, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of communications devices for such markets as xDSL and cable modems and remote access systems, will pay a licensing fee and royalties to Infineon for r ights to the Carmel core.
Shaul Berger, vice president of DSP cores for Infineon, and a former executive with DSP Group, said Infineon is currently in negotiations with several other companies for Carmel licenses.
RealChip is the first Carmel licensee announced since Berger joined Infineon in August 1999. Infineon had previously licensed Carmel to LSI.
The Carmel core is based on a Configurable Long Instruction Word (CLIW) architecture, and provides dual multiply-accumulate (MAC) and arithmetic logic unit (ALU) performance that places it the same performance tier with other leading DSP architectures, such as Texas Instruments Inc.'s TMS320C62x, the jointly developed StarCore from Motorola Inc. and Lucent Technologies, and LSI's ZSP, Strauss said.
"We not only want to develop this chip for internal purposes, but also make this an open DSP architecture available to anyone who wants to participate in this market, even in some cases those who may be in competition with Infineon," Berger said.
Craig Slayter, chief executive of RealChip, said faster integration and validation of intellectual property is essential to the company's strategy of providing its customers with system-on-a-chip solutions for the communications industry.
"After looking at the IP options for new generation DSP technology, we felt Carmel DSP was a precision fit with our customer's high-speed Internet infrastructure applications," he said.