Does the industry know everything it needs to know about MIPS? Most industry analysts think they do.
And they’re probably right. MIPS processor cores’ architecture and its power-efficient performance are an integral part of the well told MIPS legacy.
Industry observers’ enthusiasm for MIPS tends to be muted, if not non-existent, largely because the world has already decided that MIPS has lost the mobile battle against ARM.
MIPS’s market position might still prove to be different in the nascent wearable device market, or in more established networking and home entertainment segments. But at a time when there is not a single MIPS-based application processor designed for smartphones on the global market, MIPS is a non-player in the mobile world. Realistically, it isn’t even an “underdog.”
For Imagination Technologies, the new owner of MIPS, to change the narrative is hard, and to reverse the momentum is even harder.
But that’s not to say that the company shouldn’t be trying.
Imagination recently put together two sets of comprehensive presentations -- one illustrating how Imagination is enabling “innovation in SoCs across many markets,” and another on “innovation in mobile SoCs.”
Most industry analysts I contacted find no news in just another PowerPoint presentation. Linley Gwennap, principle analyst of The Linley Group, was blunt: “What Imagination really needs is to announce some new MIPS customers -- to show some market momentum.”
It’s hard to argue with Gwennap, but the Imagination presentations offered me a broader view of the company’s strategy and a few new nuggets about MIPS CPUs.
At the risk of repeating what you might already know about MIPS/Imagination, here are a few facts about where MIPS stands, and some clues to the big picture Imagination hopes to paint for its new customers, if there are any. We sum them up in the following eight pages.
Where MIPS is today: