SAN JOSE, Calif.--Taiwan’s Andes Technology will extend support for its processor cores to U.S. semiconductor companies. The move marks a significant acceleration of business plans for the company at a time of consolidation in the processor core sector.
Gartner lists Andes as 48 on its list of intellectual property providers with just $4.5 million in 2011 revenues, up 17 percent from 2010. By contrast, ARM led the sector with revenues of $732 million in 2011 and a 38 percent share.
Andes claims 50 chip designers are using its cores in more than a hundred million devices. “With recent changes in the global IP market, we see a great opportunity to bring [our] customer-centric approach to U.S companies and to help their success too,” said Andes President Frankwell Lin, in a press statement.
"It’s interesting to see a processor IP company come from Asia to the U.S. instead of the other direction,” said Linley Gwennap, president of The Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.), speaking in the press statement.
Rich Wawrzyniak, a senior analyst at Semico Research complemented Andes for embracing the trend toward designing IP subsystems. "Andes has already taken a leadership step in that direction by combining their low power processor cores into subsystems which include other key IP components, software and development tools,” he said.
A year ago, Lin told EE Times Andes cores were in six production chips. He said at the time he hoped 18 chips with Andes cores would be in production by the end of 2012. Last June, Andes said ten million chips per month are now shipping with its chips.
Initially, Andes’ cores appeared in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and GPS controllers from one large customer—likely Mediatek which along with Faraday is an Andes investor. Two other companies used the cores in wireless display controllers and 32-bit microcontrollers.
Andes also updated its product portfolio last year with a version 3.0 of its instruction set architecture, enabling 10 percent more performance and up to 20 percent smaller code size than the prior version. It supports C-language programming and will enable quad-core multiprocessing on cores to be released starting in 2013.
At the high end, Andes’ N1337 core runs Linux is the one of the company’s first in a new N13 core family and among the first to implement the V3 ISA. It uses an eight-stage pipeline, delivers 1.6 MIPS per MHz, is geared for data communications and set-top boxes. The company also rolled out new N968 and N1069 V3 cores and an N8-class core using a V3 variant for microcontrollers.