SAN JOSE, Calif. Artile Microsystems Inc., the chip company that promised to bring Playstation-level processing to the embedded world, has shut down and its assets reclaimed by parent Toshiba America Electronic Components, EE Times has learned.
Under the new structure, Artile's existing development projects have been brought under Shardul Kazi, vice president of TAEC's TX RISC business unit, which is responsible for TX microprocessors, application-specific chips and custom SoCs. The changes took effect in late February.
"In addition to increasing TAEC's TX-based product portfolio, the integration of Artile will boost TAEC's platform development activities, consisting of complete system solutions for key vertical segments, starting with the home gateway and low-end to mid-end networking niches," according to a statement by TAEC.
Artile's demise as a separate chip company comes nearly two years after it was spun out as a wholly-o wned subsidiary of TAEC. Artile's mission was to deliver system-on-chip devices based on a version of the 128-bit "Emotion Engine" that powers Sony's Playstation 2.
One problem for Artile was its formation at a time when the market for intellectual property and design services was in a freefall. The company also experienced some difficulty meeting product delivery goals, according to a former Artile employee.
In October 2001, the company announced it had created a synthesizable version of the MIPS-based processor, and had developed a compiler to translate 64-bit code into a 128-bit format. Artile also offered middleware and hardware peripherals, including an integrated DRAM controller, dual PCI interfaces and an Ethernet MAC.
Unlike other CPU startups in vogue at the time, Artile chose not to license its technology to others but rather to work closely on designing full-fledged SoCs based on its CPU technology. Fabrication was to be handled by Toshiba Corp. in Japan.
The move to bring Artile's technology back under the Toshiba umbrella coincides with TAEC's effort to beef up its own SoC development capabilities. Recently TAEC announced that it would work closely with certain EDA tool vendors and intellectual property providers to augment its ASIC chip group.
The partners include Denali Software, GDA Technologies, Mentor Graphics, Sonics and Synopsys.