PORTLAND, Ore. — Freescale Semiconductor plans to best its embedded communications
competitors not just by depending on raw computing speed for its processors but
by reaching the higher integration levels needed to put a "basestation on a
chip," according to Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager for networking
Speaking at the recent Freescale Technology Forum
(FTF), held June 21-24 in Orlando, Fla., Su claimed Freescale had already
captured the market share lead in embedded communications processors, at 25.6
percent, putting it just ahead of Intel Corp.,
which recently pledged a renewed effort to increase its embedded market
"Today Freescale is certainly No. 1 in the wireless
space—in communications processors and embedded MPUs," said Su. "We are also No.
1 in e-reader processors and No. 2 in programmable DSPs, but we are confident
that our market share will grow in the future because we are especially strong
in LTE [Long Term Evolution for 4G]."
Su credited Freescale's strength in LTE retrofits and embedded communications
processors to its transition from 90-nanometer to 45-nanometer process
technology, skipping the 65-nm node. The shift had been "painful" at times but
was "definitely worth the effort" in retrospect, Su said. She also predicted
Freescale would claim a leadership position in moving beyond 45 nm to the "next
node" in process technology but declined to say whether that would be 32 nm or
some intermediate level.
She was clear, however, on Freescale's intent to move to higher levels of
integration, saying it would look to leapfrog competitors by putting all the
elements needed for future basestastions onto a single chip. The move would
pioneer the ultrasmall form factors needed for the expected explosion in
femtocell basestations after LTE's debut in 2011, Su said.
Also at FTF, Freescale announced its move to a 64-bit
for the QorIQ family with its e5500 Power
core, which analysts claimed is faster than competitive cores from Cavium
and NetLogic but still slightly behind Intel's Xeon in raw performance.