There's been a bit of a hoo-ha recently with several articles whose attention-grabbing headlines gave the mistaken impression that QuickLogic were "exiting the FPGA market." On the contrary, the guys and gals at QuickLogic have been doing rather well with their ArcticLink and PolarPro families of ... well, we'll come on to that.
Do you remember when Prince legally changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol? Obviously this posed something of a problem for journalists, who ended up referring to him as: "The artist formally known as Prince." Of course, the paparazzi got their revenge when Prince eventually reverted to his previous name, because – for the longest time – everyone referred to him as: "The man formally known as a symbol" (Laugh? I almost bought a round of drinks!)
So what's in a name? Well, of course, William Shakespeare had something to say on the subject (he had something to say on most topics). Who could forget the Bard's "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"? This is from Romeo and Juliet (1594) where Juliet says:
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
The idea here is, of course, that the thing that matters is what something is, not what it is called. And so we come to the point of all this, which is that QuickLogic no longer like to refer to their devices as FPGAs and to themselves as an FPGA vendor – instead they now prefer the moniker Customer Specific Standard Products (CSSPs), and henceforth they would like us all to regard them as a purveyor of fine CSSPs.
The funny thing is that I know where they are coming from on this one. When I hear someone say "FPGA", my knee-jerk reaction is to think of a device containing a bunch of programmable logic (I know they have lots of hard macros and stuff, I'm just describing the first thing that comes into my mind).
The point is that the guys and gals at QuickLogic have spent a lot of time hand-crafting a collection of devices containing finely honed suites of hard macros (for things like USB on-the-go and suchlike) coupled with programmable fabric that allows these little scamps to be customized to address a target application. So yes, they still fall under the FPGA umbrella, but in this case I think the CSSP moniker is more appropriate, and I for one shall refer to QuickLogic as a vendor of CSSPs henceforth.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.