What about Google TV?
MIPS offers a processor core of choice for many consumer electronics
companies, with MIPS cores most widely used in many set-top boxes,
Blu-ray players/recorders and digital TV sets.
While the company is not likely to expand market share any further in
this segment, MIPS is hanging its hat on the emergence of Google TV for
The first Google TV reference design – based on the Android platform
running the Google Chrome web browser – is, however, using not MIPS but
Intel Corp.’s Atom processor CE4100. Further, Sony and Logitech said
last spring that they would be delivering products based on the new
Intel Atom processor and running Google TV later this year.
MIPS, however, is not concerned about this seemingly big Google TV win
for Intel’s Atom. Vij said, “We have seen the same trend played out in
Blu-ray.” The first reference design for Blu-ray was based on Intel’s
CPU, but quickly faced a challenge from a MIPS CPU core that boasted
lower power and lower cost implementation.
Vij noted that “the Internet tsunami is reaching digital TV,” and MIPS is determined to become a key player.
But really, wouldn’t it have been better if MIPS became the first CPU to
get into Google TV and put a MIPS stamp on it? Vij explained in an
interview with EE Times, “Something like that is a result of confluence
of things.” It depends on the funds a company like Intel can offer in
its marketing efforts to promote Google TV, and on Google TV’s advocates
wanting a marquee name like Intel, he explained.
MIPS also offers its own whitepaper on Google TV, entitled “Preparing for Google TV” posted here
The technical paper, however, is far from complete. One reader in the EE
Times message board noted: “Just don't expect to be able to build a
prototype for your pointy-hair boss after reading this.”
But MIPS insists that when Google releases open-source code on Google
TV, the company will be right there to detail its own design.
What have they done right?
At a time when almost every semiconductor company is reporting very good
financial results, MIPS’ record results come as no surprise, since its
revenue depends on the prosperity of its licensees.
While acknowledging that MIPS benefited from a much larger
macro-economic trend on the market, MIPS CEO explained a few things he
thinks his company did right.
“We’ve positioned our products right; we’ve focused on a solution
approach by supporting various stacks that run on top of a platform;
we’ve offered compelling, newly updated roadmaps and re-engaged our
customers,” said Vij.
While some observers attribute MIPS’ success today to the renewed energy
Vij has brought to the company, Vij made clear that “MIPS’
multi-threaded, multi-core architecture and its elegance” is the reason
for winning back customers and gaining new licensees. Unlike ARM, whose
core is based on a single-threaded architecture, "MIPS can offer more
capabilities with fewer cores, resulting in a smaller die size and lower
power consumption," said Vij.