That acceptance of the need for a range of architectures shone through at the conference sessions. For example, the MSP430 microcontroller's low-power capability was discussed in the context of energy-harvesting applications.
In analog--a market Templeton estimates to be five to seven times that of DSP--TI now has a 13 percent share, he said, thanks to its component breadth, customer engagement and process technology. Analog now accounts for 40 percent of TI's total revenue and DSP for another 40 percent, Templeton said.
As to rumors that TI might be divesting some of its analog process technology, Templeton underscored his commitment to the area by saying, "We've been very clear on our analog investment."
DLPs going mobile
The rapid development of LCD and plasma displays has affected DLP's penetration of the TV market. But Templeton argued that DLP remains strong for panels of 60 inches and above and in projectors, and that DLP pretty much has a lock on digital cinema as that technology rolls out. Innovations such as LED light sources as well as DLP's high-frequency operation, key for 3-D effects, have helped. But Templeton said the company is making adjustments to market realities. "We're now excited about putting display projectors inside cell phones and notebooks," he said.
Intel, yet again?
Intel is clearly gunning for the smart-phone market; it's gearing up its OEMs to make handheld devices with Silverthorne and follow-ons, along with its coming WiMax/Wi-Fi combo chips. But Templeton remains unfazed by those developments, as well as by other handset chip competition, such as Marvell and Broadcom.
"We're still strong in handsets from Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola," he said. As for Intel, "We went through this four or five years ago, and it turned out to not be successful," Templeton said, referring to Intel's efforts to enter the mobile market with its MSA architecture. That platform morphed into the PXA line of processors and was bought by Marvell. "No one is in our position," Templeton said. "What contributes to our success is high performance and low power, learned through decades of work."
The iPhone factor
The success of the iPhone has implications for semiconductors, since the user-friendly platform delivers useful Web access but uses no leading-edge silicon technology (and very little, if any, from TI).
"I believe you'll look back at 2007 and you'll see that how [a device] looks and how you interface [with it] are more important than the plumbing that goes into it," said Templeton. But "you'll still need to deliver on performance at the right power."
More TIDC reports and analysis:
TI tying itself to ARM, and other notes from TIDC
See DSP DesignLine site editor Kenton Williston's analysis of the OMAP 3 architecture and its support, TI's remarkably quick move toward open source, the problems of multicore and of course the state of U.S. engineering, all on his blog at www.dspdesignline.com.
TIDC reveals analog's still-growing potential
For more analysis of TI's analog and medical focus, including the difficulty of carrying out critical but seemingly mundane tasks such as driving LEDs, see Planet Analog site editor Bill Schweber's blog at www.planetanalog.com.
TV a key audio focus at TIDC
In audio, the most significant trends were tied to the move to slimmer form factors for TVs. The implicationsand opportunitiesfor audio signal processing loom large. In the same vein, space and cost are similarly critical. AudioDesignLine editor Rich Pell uses the power of video to go inside the recently announced TAS5706 20-W closed-loop Class-D amplifier and the DRV601 audio line driver, both designed to be able to operate directly off existing supplies while providing superior performance. Find out more on his blog on www.audiodesignline.com.
Identify your real IP
The issue of intellectual property--both its definition and what it means for designers and software developers--is ever present for semiconductors. Gene Frantz, principal fellow at Texas Instruments, and TI fellow Ray Simar sat down with TechOnline and Embedded Systems Design at the TI Developer Conference last week to discuss IP issues. For more, read Embedded System Design editor in chief Richard Nass' blog on www.embedded.com.
YouTube and video analytics are hot
Video, particularly in the context of TI's DaVinci architecture, was also in the spotlight at the TIDC. One word kept coming up: YouTube. That's ironic, given that YouTube is currently a money- losing business, and Google could pull the plug at any time. Find out why it was at the fore at TIDC on Video/Imaging DesignLine site editor Cliff Roth's blog at www.videsignline.com.