BANGALORE, India – Freescale Semiconductor, its interest payments decreasing and its debt reduced through the funds generated through an IPO, says it is poised to invest in more R&D as it seeks to move beyond PCs to supply mobile device and “white box” manufacturers.
“Semiconductor companies now need to become much more systems-oriented,” Freescale CEO Rich Beyer said during Freescale’s technology forum here this week. “We are into an era of connected intelligence where data is ubiquitous, and these devices [such as tablets] will conform to us and not have us conform to them, as in the case of the personal computer.”
Beyer predicted the post-PC era will be characterized by a change from content creation to content consumption. That means service providers will be forced to upgrade their networks more frequently, often before the costs of these investments can be fully amortized.
Beyer also stressed that Freescale will continue to target the automotive, medical, smart grid, wireless and smart mobile devices markets.
While many chip makers are targeting design wins in the next round of tablets from Apple and others or Dell netbooks, Beyer recently said Freescale “would like to work with white-box vendors in China.” The company is betting it can collaborate with Chinese makers of what it refers to as “non-branded consumer products.”
Wireless and mobile are no doubt a growing technology. As more people go mobile, the demand of bandwidth is going to be higher in both wireless and wireline infrastructure. In addition, the smart delivery of content is crucial to the excellency of user experience. What's freescale position in in-home network?
Service providers are actually moving in the opposite direction as they reduce competition. Cellular in the US is moving to a duopoly, and cable networks are more interested in choking off competitors like Netflix than spending on infrastructure to please their captive customer bases. The only real competition would be municipal Internet, and they are working the government at the state and federal levels to choke that off. Unfortunately, the passive consumer of media described here is much less capable of working around those toll booths. Dedicated devices are much less flexible than general-purpose computing platforms (i.e. PCs).
It's interesting that he wants to work with white box makers instead of brand name guys. This is the MediaTek style strategy. Can it work for an American company from afar? I have heard of how many people MediaTek has on the ground to deal with the white box guys. But they are doing it from Taiwan, which is so close to China. We shall see.
It is both interesting and illustrative to see Freescale's stating the company's approach to for their future roadmap. I may not know if it is right or wrong but I am interested in understanding the direction. Is there similar statements for future direction plans by others in the industry? It would be very interesting to compare and contrast the various approaches.
I see great potential in Freescale's i.MX Application processors. Theyy are getting more and more powerful! Seen the i.MX6? It has 1-4 cores. I would still buy a no brand chinese tablet instead of the ipad2 with such a processor. It's a good strategy, as Freescale can win big with these no brand tablets.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.