PALO ALTO, Calif. QuickLogic Corp. is backing away from the FPGA market, saying it will instead focus on an ASSP-like sector called customer specific standard products (CSSPs).
QuickLogic has been selling the PolarPro line of low-power, one-time programmable FPGAs, which competed against products from rivals Actel, Altera, Lattice and Xilinx.
But going forward, FPGA pioneer QuickLogic will no longer position the PolarPro line for mainstream FPGA applications. The company will continue to sell FPGA products to niche-oriented applications in the aerospace, military and related fronts.
"Our focus is not being a mainstream FPGA guy," said E. Thomas Hart, chairman, president and CEO of QuickLogic (Sunnyvale, Calif.), during a presentation here on Tuesday (Aug. 28).
Instead, the company will focus on what it calls CSSPs, which includes a recently-introduced controller line. But the company will no longer develop "mainstream FPGAs" in the market, following an uphill and unsuccessful bid in the competitive sector.
QuickLogic had a tough time competing against what Hart called the "Coke and Pepsi" in FPGAs: Altera and Xilinx. Compared to the FPGA giants, QuickLogic has been a small player in the industry, said Y. Edwin Mok, an analyst with Needham & Co. LCC. "They had a hard time competing against Altera and Xilinx," Mok said.
It also appears that QuickLogic bet on the wrong technology. QuickLogic announced samples of the PolarPro family in December of 2005 and delivered production silicon in 2006. At the time, the PolarPro family boasted a number of innovative architectural features, including an inactive power consumption of only 10-microAmps and special embedded first-in, first-out (FIFO) controller blocks.
The company had a tough time selling the FPGAs, which are based on a one-time programmable technology, Hart said. Customers wanted "re-programmable" solutions, he added.
Lackluster FPGA sales impacted the bottom line. In July, QuickLogic said revenue for the second quarter of 2007 was $8.4 million, up 35 percent from $6.2 million in the first quarter of 2007 and down 9 percent from $9.2 million in the second quarter of 2006. The year-on-year decline in revenue was due to lower new product revenue, according to QuickLogic.
Under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), the net loss for the second quarter of 2007 was $2.1 million, or minus $0.07 per share, compared with a net loss of $5.9 million, or minus $0.20 per share, in the first quarter of 2007 and a net loss of $1.7 million, or minus $0.06 per share, in the second quarter of 2006.
Going forward, the company will focus on CSSPs. The technology is somewhat like an ASSP. Unlike ASSPs, "this approach combines the high integration and performance of hard-logic design with the flexibility needed for customization," according to QuickLogic.
QuickLogic is positioning PolarPro as a CSSP. PolarPro will be sold into the mobile market, as well as the military market.
The company's big CSSP product is a host controller for mobile systems. Seeking to solve the "connectivity gap" in handheld products, QuickLogic in March launched a single-chip device into the emerging arena of integrated core-logic or host controllers.
The device, which is called ArcticLink, is a CSSP that can be configured to support several communications and peripheral protocols for handheld systems.