I have to admit that I am completely blown away… I certainly didn’t see this one coming… I’m too young for all of this excitement!
I just heard from the folks at Lattice Semiconductor that they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SiliconBlue Technologies, a pioneer and leader in Custom Mobile Device (CMD) solutions for the consumer handheld market. Utilizing a single chip, ultra-low power Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) fabric, SiliconBlue's mobileFPGA devices enable mobile designers to quickly add features to their mobile platform in areas such as connectivity, memory / storage, sensor management, and video / imaging. SiliconBlue's mobile FPGA devices have already shipped in the millions of units to top tier consumer OEM's.
Under terms of the agreement, Lattice Semiconductor will pay approximately $62 million in cash for SiliconBlue Technologies. The acquisition is subject to standard closing conditions, with a targeted close in the fourth quarter of 2011. Lattice Semiconductor ended the third quarter of 2011 with cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities balance of $267.2 million.
The mobile consumer market for PLD's includes digital cameras, smartphones, eReaders, tablets, notebooks and netbooks. Key market growth trends include the drive for longer battery life, more natural interfaces, increased functionality, lower cost and reduced weight.
Personally, I think that this is a marriage made in heaven. Since their inception, the folks at SiliconBlue have devoted themselves to creating ultra-low-power FPGAs. Although these are SRAM-based (with all of the advantages that entails), every aspect of these devices is honed for the lowest-possible power consumption. Also, these single-chip components feature patented non-volatile configuration memory (NVCM), which means they don’t require an external configuration memory chip and also that they provide “instant on” capabilities.
A perfect example of the new application areas being opened to programmable logic by SiliconBlue’s technology was the announcement a few days ago of the First FPGA in a wristwatch.
On the other hand… on its own, SiliconBlue is still seen as something of a “start-up” with all of the risks that entails. By comparison, as far as designers are concerned, Lattice Semiconductor is a well-established, known, and trusted quantity. Over the last few years, the folks at Lattice have been doing really well with regard to focusing on high-performance, low-cost, low-power FPGAs, PLDs, and Power/Platform Management devices.
The end result from SiliconBlue’s point of view is that this acquisition by Lattice gives their technology some serious gravitas / street-cred. Meanwhile, from Lattice’s point of view, the acquisition of SiliconBlue’s technology will dramatically accelerate their penetration into a wide range of low-cost, low-power, consumer / handheld / mobile markets and applications, of which digital cameras, smartphones, tablet computers (and, of course, wristwatches) are but a few…
My heartiest congratulations to all concerned … let’s break out the bubbly!
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