PARIS -- Philips Semiconductor executives are downplaying speculation that the Adelante Technologies DSP core unit will be folded back into the parent company after selling the spin-off's key design tool technology to ARM Ltd.
Philips and ARM announced Tuesday (July 22) that ARM has acquired A/RT design tool technology from Adelante (see July 22 story). The move sparked speculation that the remainder would be folded back into Philips.
"There is no plan, no announcement on it for the moment...at least. That's not the first priority in my plan," said Gert Jan Kaat, general manager and senior vice president of Philips Semiconductors' mobile communications business unit.
Philips, an original developer of R.E.A.L. DSP cores, is the majority shareholder of Adelante. The Dutch giant spun off its DSP activities two years ago when it created Adelante.
Philips nevertheless appears to be developing multiple scenarios for its struggling spin-off. Its options include: having Adelante remain on its own while continuing to seek new investors; selling the company; or folding it back into Philips. Because Adelante's DSPs continue to play an important role on Philips' Nexperia platforms, folding Adelante back into Philips, "could be an option, if the business requires that," said Kaat.
Adelante and Philips executives seem relieved with ARM's acquisition of Adelante's A/RT co-processor technology activities in Leuven, Belgium, largely because both companies see ARM as a close partner. They also believe ARM can increase industry exposure to A/RT technology.
No financial terms of the acquisition were disclosed.
Philips' big ambition was to drive its internally developed DSPs as an open-market DSP core by pairing it with the A/RT system-level design tool. However, that plan has not panned out. The A/RT design tool was supposed to be the ace in the hole for Adelante's DSP business since the tool was designed to allow its DSP core licensees to develop optimized hardware accelerators for the DSP core on their system-on-a-chip designs.
Despite the sale of the A/RT technology, Rob Woudsma, chief technical officer at Adelante, stressed: "Our original concept of an embedded DSP, integrated with a RISC core and hardware subsystems, remains alive." The A/RT design tool "is in the good hands of our partner," he said. The only difference is that ARM will use it as a tool for developing application co-processor technologies specific to its RISC core rather a DSP core, Woudsma added.
Meanwhile, Adelante will return to its "prime technology focus" as a developer of licensable embedded programmable DSP core technology for wireless, media processing and information/entertainment applications, said Woudsma.
The Leuven team sold to ARM consists of 25 people. The remaining parts of Adelante Holdings include a 40 people operation in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and a small team of about six to seven people based in Melbourne, Fla., Woudsma said.