Cambridge, England - The purchase of Adelante Technologies Belgium by RISC processor licenser ARM Holdings plc has raised speculation that the remaining company, Adelante Technologies Holding BV, will be folded back into Philips Semiconductors. Adelante was formed in 2001 by the merger of Frontier Design BV and the DSP Division of Philips Semiconductors.
The main technology asset that ARM is acquiring from Adelante is the A/RT system-level design tool, which enables licensees of Adelante's DSP cores to develop optimized hardware accelerators for system-on-chip designs. The purchase, announced last week, includes a team of 25 workers in Leuven, Belgium. The remaining portion of Adelante Technologies includes 40 workers in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and a small team of six or seven workers in Melbourne, Fla. The terms of ARM's purchase were not disclosed.
The return of Adelante to Philips Semiconductors "could be an option, if the business requires that," said Gert Jan Kaat, general manager and senior vice president of Philips Semiconductors' mobile-communications business unit. He added, "There is no plan, no announcement on it for the moment, at least."
Philips nevertheless appears to be developing multiple scenarios for the rest of Adelante, including having it remain on its own, selling it or folding it back into Philips. Adelante's Real DSP cores, originally developed by Philips Semiconductors, continue to play an important role in Philips' Nexperia processor platforms.
Philips had hoped that Adelante would market its DSP cores by pairing them with the A/RT system-level design tool, but that plan has not panned out.
Adelante and Philips executives seem relieved with ARM's acquisition of Adelante's A/RT technology, largely because both companies see ARM as a close partner. They also believe ARM can increase industry exposure to A/RT technology.
ARM will use the tool to develop application coprocessor technologies specific to its RISC cores rather than a DSP core, said Rob Woudsma, chief technical officer at Adelante Technologies. Meanwhile, the rest of Adelante will return to its "prime technology focus" as a developer of licensable embedded programmable DSP core technology, Woudsma said.