MUNICH Armed with three different DSP cores including Blackfin, TigerSHARC and SHARC, Analog Devices Inc. is hoping to make deeper inroads into new vertical markets: car telematics and digital imaging in particular.
ADI is demonstrating this week at Electronica here a single 300MHz Blackfin DSP running GPS in conjunction with MP3 decoding, speech recognition and speech-to-text processing, all concurrently. Such a product takes advantage of the Blackfin's basic architecture capable of efficiently handling both control type of processing traditionally done in a separate RISC core and media processing done in a DSP core, claimed Stefan Steyerl, ADI marketing manager for DSP division.
Instead of integrating a RISC core and a separate DSP core in a single chip, system designers can now use a single Blackfin DSP architecture. With Blackfin, they no longer need to use two sets of development tools, assembly codes and two separate sets of memory for RISC and DSP cores. "There is no need to spend a lot of time to design a communication efficient interface between the RISC and DSP core, either," added Steyerl.
After completing the development of the Blackfin DSP architecture in collaboration with Intel Corp. two years ago, ADI is now at a stage "to take the core and use the technology in a number of new products," said Steyerl. Blackfin DSP core-based new products, integrated with memory, peripherals and a small real-time kernel, are currently in development for digital imaging and car telematic markets, he added.
ADI has set its goal to promote its programmable DSPs into systems that are traditionally dependent on functional ASICs featuring no DSP core but processing DSP tasks. ADI sees a growing opportunity in replacing such functional ASICs with its programmable DSPs. As the process geometry gets smaller, the cost of ASICs gets exponentially expensive, said Steyerl. Moreover, shorten product cycles and the growing need to handle a host of changing audio/video standards make programmable DSPs a more attractive solution for many new products, he added.
Steyerl said, "Our DSPs can address 25 to 30 percent of market that currently uses functional ASICs."
ADI has been already promoting new chips based on its SHARC DSP core for home entertainment products such as DVD players and AV receivers. Meanwhile, ADI's TigerSHARC is getting designed into 3G base stations. "Top six base station vendors are taking a hard look at our TigerSHARC and some of them have already switched their DSP architecture to our DSP," said Steyerl.
Because TigerSHARC DSP core integrates a number of instruction sets specific to computational-intensive, chip rate processing, system vendors no longer need to develop a separate chip rate ASIC or FPGA, to be used in conjunction with a DSP core designed to do symbol rate processing, he explained. One 3G base station based on ADI's TigerSHARC has just got into productions, said Steyer l. Unfortunately, however, not a lot of 3G infrastructure is being built right now, he added.
With a 10 to 12 percent market share in the overall DSP market, ADI today is the third-largest DSP company, according to Steyerl. On a general purpose DSP market, ADI is the number two with 40 percent share, he added.