To the editor:
Regarding "QuickLogic backs away from FPGAs." Based on the calls we received from our customers during the week after the EE Times article was published, we thought it prudent to set the record straight with this letter. Before we get into the details, I wanted to share our view.
The mobile electronics market, far from being a niche, represents a substantial growth market segment for the overall semiconductor market. To give some perspective, consider that there are just fewer than 7 billion people on Earth today, and last year alone, there were roughly 1 billion cellphones shipped. Is there any doubt that the sheer volume of the mobile market will continue to influence and drive innovations in our industry? Great upside, but what is the downside?
One troublesome characteristic of the mobile market, from a profit point of view, is that there are numerous mouths that must be fed along the value chain. Semiconductor vendors supply ODMs which supply OEMs which sell to operators which sell to us as consumers. Compounding the problem is the fact that consumer taste is so difficult to predict. This dynamic has forced OEMs and ODMs to re-think the way they deliver products by leveraging their R&D investments with platforms that can be used to deliver multiple products.
Furthermore, these ODMs and OEMs are realizing that the only way to collect enough profit margin to generate a acceptable operating income is to design enough flexibility into these platforms so that their cost can be amortized across an increasing number of products shipped into the market. Of course, "flexibility" cannot be at the expense of bill-of-materials (BOM) costs in such a consumer-driven market.
So, the question becomes: How do ODMs and OEMs get their products to market quickly with the low BOM costs they need and still have the flexibility to adapt their platforms as the market dynamics change? QuickLogic believes the answer is the Customer-Specific Standard Product (CSSP).
As the EE Times article alluded to, we are heavily investing in our development, marketing and selling efforts on delivering CSSPs for the mobile market. What the article failed to mention is that QuickLogic has developed a suite of semiconductor platforms, each with varying amounts of hard-wired logic and customizable building blocks (CBBs). CBBs, based on QuickLogic's patented ViaLink technology, are used to implement both standard and custom functions--essentially taking a standard product platform and making it unique for a specific customer. The key aspects of ViaLink--low power, high performance, and nonvolatile programmability--are critical to addressing the needs of the mobile market and our existing customers.
The company's most highly integrated CSSP platform for mobile systems is a solution platform with multiple, integrated host controllers. Seeking to solve the "connectivity gap" in handheld products, QuickLogic in March launched this platform, called ArcticLink. The ArcticLink platform is used by QuickLogic to implement CSSPs customized to support several communications and peripheral protocols for handheld systems.
For more information on CSSPs and what they might be able to do for your platform, we welcome you to read more at www.quicklogic.com/my-cssp.
In closing, let me be clear: We are not abandoning our existing markets and customers. We are successful in the low power, high reliability and security conscious markets today. And customers in these markets are continuing to design with our FPGA technology.
Let me also be clear that we have significantly changed the way we do business to expand into the high-volume, high-growth mobile market. Solutions, not products. Platforms, not devices. Focus on vertical application segments, not horizontal ones. Delivering CSSP technology is just the tip of the iceberg. You can expect a lot more from us in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Chairman, President and CEO