In the not-so-distant past, QuickLogic was considered by the majority of industry observers to be an FPGA vendor. Then, a few years ago, there was a bit of an uproar when a flurry of reports bounced around the Internet saying that QuickLogic was exiting from FPGA space.
The truth was a little more complicated (and interesting). The folks at QuickLogic had decided to focus on something that they've since successfully branded as Customer Specific Standard Products (CSSPs). These rather clever devices provide a unique combination of hard logic and ultra-low power programmable fabric based on QuickLogic's patented ViaLink technology, which involves the customization of only a single via layer.
The result are high-performance, low-power, low-cost devices that are ideally suited to address the needs and challenges of the mobile market with regard to products such as smart phones and tablet computers. (See also the associated How-To design article: Two keys to success in tablet PC design.)
Furthermore, users don't have to design these devices themselves, because QuickLogic offers a full design service. The customer provides the required specification, and QuickLogic responds with a custom device within only a few weeks or months depending on the complexity.
The reason I'm waffling on about all of this is that the folks at QuickLogic have just introduced a new family of solution platforms – the ArcticLink II CX family. This highly integrated, yet flexible platform family is designed to deliver extremely fast USB sideloading (transfer of files between a PC and a mobile device); it supports the latest flash memory technology; and in includes built-in encryption blocks that ensure a superior user experience for even the most demanding mobile electronics consumer.
Individual platforms in the ArcticLink II CX family include various combinations of a 32-bit RISC microprocessor subsystem including core, RAM, and boot Read Only Memory (ROM). This subsystem manages and monitors the data transfers through the CX platforms.
Additionally, various platforms include multiple SDXC/eMMC host controllers for mobile flash memory, a high-speed USB 2.0 PHY, a high-speed USB hub with two dual-role device controllers (DRD), and a high speed AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) block.
In addition, there are varying amounts of QuickLogic's patented low power, non-volatile programmable fabric for customization. QuickLogic's Customer Solution Architects (CSAs) work directly with OEMs to determine the appropriate platform and Proven System Blocks (PSBs) needed to deliver feature-rich solutions that provide a competitive differentiator in the market.
The ultimate CSSP, deliverable to OEMs, also includes firmware programmed into the platforms' on-board boot ROM, eliminating the need for external devices to boot and configure the CSSP, reducing board space and Bill-Of-Materials costs.
USB 2.0 is the de facto connectivity interface in the consumer market for sharing and exchanging files, as well as battery charging. CSSPs built from the ArcticLink II CX solution platform family can replace virtually all of the discrete components typically used to implement high speed transfer of data from a USB 2.0 interface to nonvolatile flash storage, and digital rights management of protected content. Furthermore, the microprocessor subsystem manages and monitors all data flows through the CX platforms for high performance sideloading applications.
According to Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group, "The number of CPUs in a mobile device continues to grow. Host CPUs in high-end smartphones and tablets control multiple radios, memories, and I/O devices, but must still have enough processing power remaining to handle HD-quality video, 3D gaming and other performance-hungry applications. These requirements drive mobile processor vendors to include several CPU cores within their designs. QuickLogic's ArcticLink II CX family provides a customizable solution that enables OEMs to re-architect their systems to address these needs."
QuickLogic is engaged now with lead OEMs for CSSPs based on ArcticLink II CX platforms, and expects to sample devices during Q1, 2011. Contact QuickLogic at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or visit www.quicklogic.com
for more information.