Well, the hot-off-the-press news is that the guys and gals at Altium have announced their intention to buy Morfik. The interesting thing here is that Morfik is not an EDA company – it's an Australian software company....
Morfik's products are used by professional software engineers to design, engineer, and deploy cloud-based software applications. Morfik’s software engineering approach to web-application development makes it suitable for building web-based systems for domains such as electronics design that involve large amounts of complex, dynamic content.
The folks at Altium say that their objective is to help electronics designers expand their role from designing the electronics in devices to the larger role of designing and engineering web-based 'device ecosystems'. As discussed in their whitepaper What’s Next for Electronics Devices?, these ecosystems will consist of a platform comprising the actual electronic devices, connected via the Internet, along with cloud-based software applications that run on this platform.
Altium has been using Morfik's technology and development tools for a number of years as key elements in the development of its own web-based infrastructure for the electronics design process. Now, Altium is moving to acquire Morfik to strengthen Altium’s engineering team and technological capabilities in the web application domain, and accelerate the development of this platform for Altium’s customers. When developed, this platform will form the basis of the tools and infrastructure required to help electronics designers develop their own ecosystems of intelligent, connected devices, running their own cloud-based applications.
Combined with the forthcoming new release of Altium Designer, this will provide a framework for the creation of a web-based content delivery model. One result of this will be an expansion of the value and the content delivered by Altium's subscription services. Electronics design content, including new design features, reference designs, and component libraries, will be delivered using this cloud-based framework.
Altium will continue Morfik's existing business model, which sells software tools and subscriptions for building web-based applications, for Morfik’s existing customers. Altium believes that Morfik's existing business model is fundamental to the development of the distributed applications that provide the intelligence in future device ecosystems. Historically, Morfik has focused on providing tools for building cloud applications where the client devices are conventional personal computers (desktop and mobile). This focus will expand over time to include the more intelligent, application-specific devices created by electronics designers that will be part of the next generation of the Internet.
@ajawamnet regarding core functionality improvements I urge you to have a look at a more recent version of Altium Designer since the STEP capabilities such as enclosure linking etc. have been improved in many updates and the STEP export has been improved as well. Take a look at the stream of 14 updates for Altium Designer 10 so far and you'll see that the core functionality is the clear focus of this release. The updates address many user-requests captured by the *BugCrunch system, including compelling features added to the core functionality.
* Bugcrunch is part of AltiumLive (http://live.altium.com/), feel free to contact me offline if you would like further info.
Let's say you wanted to make a wireless AC unit with an on-board WIFI IC.
Too bad, you'd have to do the RF miter's in something else. Designer does tho...
Been an Protel/Altium user for around 20 years. I really wish they'd spend more time in the core functionality. All this started when Nick took the company public. I recall the Honey i shrunk the board, the attempt to do C IDE. My coders laughed at that one. Like they were goiung to trade in all their tools and tool chain, some guys been using for 10 years to go to that... NOT.
For instance, let's design a board. that's cool. Now build the first prototype. What do you give the poor production guy to actually build it? I had to convince Qualecad to make a report generator that did this.
Oh and as to the FPGA thing... you still need the vendor tools. I had one sales guy tell one of my clients they could forgo Quartus. see here:
One thing I never see in their flash presentations, where the developers are sitting with a nanoboard, is a soldering iron...
Another example, lets' export that PCB as a STEP file. Cool... maybe. The enclosure is about 10Mbytes max in Solidworks. Now export the PCB.
What? 200 Mbytes? Every silkscreen element is a surface? Totally useless...
I've been doing about 130 designs a year for the last 18 years. I really think their head developers need to be in the trenches with designers for about a year and see what's really important..
More marketturds me thinks. And as to clouds more like clown computing. None of my clients would allow their IP (lot of DoD people) to sit on some server somewhere. In fact ITAR restricts this.
I agree with jg: Brand dilution, Jack of All Trades... Cloud computing is more marketing nonsense. Max, why would I want an air conditioner connected to the internet? I want it cooler, I'll turn it on. I just want it to cool my house. It should work well for a long time and I shouldn't have to worry about it breaking down every few weeks (so I don't have to call the service company). If I need a saw to do a big job, I'd get a good saw, not a Swiss Army knife. Just my $0.02
Of course there is a difference in that Cadence and Mentor offer a vast range of EDA tools covering all aspects of designing chips, boards, and systems. Altium have focused on the PCB-FPGA combo which makes life a lot easier.
Great to see Altium is now aggressively attacking the Cadance and Mentor with new intelligence. I would think they won't focus too much on simpel schematic capture and PCB layout tool business. The idea of an integrated development platform is really a very good one. I hope they can actively link up with colleges for potential engineers to well adopt their system.
I'm not sure quite what you mean by "brand dilution." This actually makes a lot of sense to me. One of the examples Altium have used in the past involves a household air conditioner. Suppose you are about to buy a new one. Yes, you are interested in stuff like power consumption and efficiency and suchlike, but all of the air conditioner vendors are talking about that stuff. How to they differentiate themselves? Well, suppose your new air conditioner was wireless connected into the Internet and from there it could email you and the vendor if it detected any problems (vibration, excessive heat, low pressure....) such that the vendor automatically comes out and services it before there's a major problem. This is just one example. The point is that with their purchase of Morfik, Altium can now supply their customers with the tools to augment their FPGA-based products with sophisticated cloud computing capabilities -- taking them to a new level and allowing them to add a new layer of differentiation. Just my 2 cents...
@Kiran_NSN rather than putting the tool itself online, the advances by Altium are about helping electronics designers add their own cloud connectivity to their own creations, forming their own web-based 'device ecosystems'. The upcoming Release 10 of Altium Designer includes PCB Collaboration for working on the same PCB, see how it works on the Altium website: http://altium.com/release10/#tpdczqa
Seems to be a further brand dilution, and another move along the 'jack of all trades, master of none' line, but I guess with large Component Distributors now offering entry level EDA tools, there is little choice/space left ?
Good move by Altium. This will be the next level of advancement in using EDA tools as web application. There are many PCB design tools by Intel where multiple users can work on the same PCB routing operating from anywhere across the world. By applying cloud computing to the hardware design will allow users to access the database and applications through the internet. But the security will be an important question.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.