SAN FRANCISCOOver the past few years, Cypress Semiconductor Corp.'s groundbreaking PSoC devices have enjoyed eye-opening success, to the point where PSoCsand derivate products such as CapSense touch-screen controllersare now the main driver of the company's growth, according to T.J. Rodgers, Cypress president and CEO.
Revenue from PSoCs, or programmable system-on-chips, has only been significant enough to really matter in the last couple of years, according to Rodgers. But, overall, he said, growth in sales since the devices first hit the market in 2002 has been impressive.
"The thing I've come to realize is that PSoC is not a microcontroller, but a new category of product that is truly a programmable system on chip," Rodger said. "That sounds like a marketing pitch, but if you think about PSoC 1 as an 8-bit microcontroller capable of 4 MIPS [millions of instructions per second], it was about 25 years late to market. It should have been a terrible bust."
President and CEO
Cypress Semiconductor Corp.
But it wasn't. The product was successful, aiming at a space in the space in the spectrum between programmable logic and microcontrollers by offering integrated configurable analog and digital peripheral functions, memory and a microcontroller on a single chip.
Uche Orji, managing director of global semiconductor research at UBS Securities LLC, said the programmability offered by PSoCs is "transforming the way people look at the microcontroller industry."
According to Rodgers, PSoC doesn't directly compete with directly with FPGAs or microcontrollers. "It really is a product that doesn't directly compete head on," he said.