I stopped by the Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters of FPGA startup SiliconBlue Technologies Corp. this week for an interesting chat with CEO Kapil Shankar and VP of Strategic Marketing John Birkner.
One of several interesting things they told me was that some Asian customers producing handheld consumer devices are enlisting SiliconBlue to do FPGA development work, then stamping their own logo on the device and placing it on a board, same as they would do with an ASIC.
Some customers, they said, don't even want to bother with using SiliconBlue's design toolsthey rely on SiliconBlue for the entire design, as well as some debugging.
Shankar called this phenomenon a "whole new paradigm shift" in programmable logic. He added that it could only happen with a single-chip, large capacity FGPA such as SiliconBlue offers.
SiliconBlue offers low-power SRAM FPGAs for the consumer handheld space, which has traditionally been off limits to FPGAs because of cost, power and space concerns. Shankar says the company competes primarily with ASICs and Actel Corp., which offers low-power/mixed-signal, flash-based FPGAs.
According to Shankar, SiliconBlue now has 40 to 50 design wins (I saw pictures of some). The first end products with SiliconBlue parts inside are expected to hit stores within weeks, Shankar said.