Dialog Semiconductor will enter a new phase of its long metamorphosis when it announces Monday (Dec. 13th) a real-time 2-D-to-3-D video conversion IC designed for portable devices.
The product advances the vision of CEO Jalal Bagherli, onetime vice president and general manager of the mobile multimedia business unit for Broadcom and CEO of Alphamosaic. Bagherli parachuted into Dialog in the fall of 2005 and turned around the once-faltering company by focusing on the fast-growing handheld and wireless markets.
Dialog (Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany) traces its heritage back to 1981, when Silicon Valley-based International Microelectronic Products established its European operations. The German company became Dialog in 1989, first as a part of Daimler-Benz, then as independent power management ASIC specialist Dialog plc.
The company began diversifying its portfolio after Bagherli’s arrival. In the past 12 months alone, Dialog, while keeping its ASIC expertise, has added such standard products as low-power audio codec and driver ICs for next-generation mobile displays. The 3-D video conversion IC for mobile is scheduled for sampling early next year.
At the same time, Bagherli said that the company remains committed to its core competency, which is “managing power in all portable devices.”
Dialog Semiconductor CEO Jalal Bagherli
Dialog today boasts a revenue track record of three years of quarterly year-on-year growth. “We’ve kept growing right through the recession, outpacing the industry, with 13 consecutive profitable quarters,” Bagherli said in an exclusive interview with EE Times
The company’s fortunes are riding on the continued market growth of such end products as cell phones, media tablets, portable entertainment platforms and even personal medical devices. Given the rapidly expanding markets for such products, Dialog’s competitors are many and formidable.
In power management, Dialog competes with the likes of Maxim, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments. In the audio chip market, it battles with Cirrus Logic, TI and Wolfson. In 2-D-to-3-D conversion, Dialog expects to compete with application processors such as TI’s Omap.
In mobile display technologies, Dialog has developed drivers for Qualcomm’s Mirasol displays and E-Ink’s e-paper. But perhaps its gutsiest decision has been its decision to support passive-matrix organic LEDs (PMOLEDs), which are being positioned against Samsung’s active-matrix OLEDs.PMOLEDs are “cheaper than AMOLEDs,” and the passive display’s ability to be “transparent and flexible” holds promise for novel applications, Bagherli said. But PMOLEDs, which have no active transistor layer, “need to pick up a lot of smarts in electronics,” he said. So Dialog developed a PMOLED driver based on what it calls its SmartXtend technology, offering multiline addressing, precharge schemes and accurate dynamic current matching.