SAN FRANCISCO—Executives from Texas Instruments Inc. said Tuesday (Sept. 25) the company would shift its R&D investment on the OMAP applications processor to focus more on the embedded market and less on smartphones and media tablets.
OMAP has been successful in securing design wins in smartphones and tablets, including Motorola Droid handsets and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. But, faced with stiff competition from the likes of Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp., TI executives have said the fact that market leaders Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. use their own internally designed processors makes the mobile market less attractive.
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"If you look at the dynamics in that market, you look at it being dominated by a couple of players, you look at the fact that vertical integration has become a very significant factor in the marketplace, the truth is that it's just a less attractive opportunity for us," said Greg Delagi, TI's senior vice president for embedded processing, in a presentation to financial analysts Tuesday.
Greg Delagi, TI's senior vice president for embedded processing, speaks at the company's analyst day Tuesday.
Instead, Delagi said, TI plans to re-profile its R&D investment to focus on the embedded market, where he said the company could bring OMAP and its connectivity technologies to a much broader set of customers serving applications like industrial automation, automotive and the "Internet of things."
"We have a lot of work to do to re-profile the investments that we've got as we shift our focus from our historical space in wireless and smartphones and tablets and focus on the embedded area for both OMAP and connectivity," Delagi said.
In the embedded processing space, TI's OMAP and connectivity solutions generate about $400 million in revenue annually from a base of about 4,000 customers, Delagi said. In smartphones and tablets, OMAP and connectivity chips generate about $900 million from roughly 10 customers, he said.
Delagi said TI currently ranks second in sales of embedded processors with 12 percent market share. "That, by definition, says that there's 88 percent of the market that we still have a chance to grow. It's a huge opportunity for us," he said.
I personally think this is a smart strategy. Having over 100 customers with $400M business is better than only having 10 customers with $900M business. When you lose a design in one of these customers, you are digging a big revenue hole that is hard to be filled back up. The stock price of TI may suffer for a while as wall street people aren't really in the semiconductor business and they just focus on the revenue at the time being. For a long term development of a company, I think it is still better to expand the customer base in order to lower the risk of revenue fluctuation!
Its often stated if you can't be one or two dont play.
TI was actually behind Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung and Apple. Fifth is a pretty bad position. Freescale's iMx was there once too and then went embedded.
I wonder what Moto, Amazon and others will do with a diminished Omap road map?
BTW, integrated baseband/apps processor is good for the low end but the high end products still wants separate big chips methinks.
not only supply chip but also total solution is very important. industries move so fast that common user is difficulty to catch the study line. they like easy evm and dev kit, fast prototype ODM service, www.quickembed.com
omap is good solution giving good UI on arm and good data processing on dsp. yet the system is complicated for engineer to use. most new customers want to use it but don't know how and ask us for help. and some give up, they use omap as an arm.
we supply omap evm kit and arm dev kit at the same time on our website, www.quickembed.com, customer interest for omap platform and arm platform is about 1:100
Completely agree with Strauss, this is now a platform game for all ASIC vendors, all major competitor has full flatform (AP + Baseband + RF). TI had blown their chance in 2007 itself but were selling AP story to financial analyst and they were bying it as they don't have any technical idea. Once they realized this is not working they are trying to tell people they will make $1B from selling OMAP in embeded market again big dream.
The matter of fact and truth is this is complete management failure who blew $4 Billion revenue which used to come from Wireless in 2006 to $0.
How come a company who invented AP only business for smaprtphone goes out, this is same as Lehman going out of investment banking. Give a thought on this and njoy your evening.
@andyroyduh- you bring up a fair point. I bounced this off Will Strauss. Here is what he said, in a nutshell:
Apple, obviously, has no baseband. They will have to buy somebody who has one to integrate the two. But that won't happen until some company comes up with a baseband that can match Qualcomm's capabilities. Qualcomm has a virtual lock on CDMA modems (little Via Telecom can field a CDMA-only modem), a technology necessary to serve Verizon, Sprint, and some smaller operators. So Apple is stuck with Qualcomm for that big U.S.-centric CDMA market. CDMA will be with us through the rest of the decade (for over half of the U.S. market), so Apple will remain the exception to the integration trend.
Samsung has an LTE baseband and is coming up with one that is LTE/HSPA/3G/2G and will integrate it with their own application processor. However, to serve the U.S. CDMA market, they will probably tack on a CDMA modem from Via Telecom (as they did for Thunderbolt and other handsets for that market).
BTW, for more on Strauss's take on the OMAP shift, see new article:
This is actually great news for the broader embedded (non-smartphone) market. TI had some great hits in the broad embedded market with the OMAP3 and earlier products. But in the last few years, TI's innovations in OMAP4 and OMAP5 have only been available to the 10 or so customers and in many cases even datasheets of these products were not public.
OMAP+FPGA combination for example is very popular in many non-consumer applications - industrial, surveillance, etc. This is where Xilinx Zynq is beginning to take market share.
Going forward OMAP5-style chips (with ARM Cortex-A15, etc) will become broadly available to lots of customers via Avnet and Arrow. It should be interesting...