Posted by henk hamoen on May 11, 2011
Traveling around the world offers an interesting view of the immense diversity of people, cultures, art, music, and so much more. In days gone by you would prepare for the journey by selecting the right clothes, money, passports and other items that would come in useful for your visit. In today’s world, the internet is a great resource to help you decide what to stuff into your backpack. A good place to look is the lonely planet web site.
This is all great if you are traveling to another country, but what if it is your product that is taking off to, say China. Imagine your mobile device with multi-media services on-board that needs to serve the local market in China. There is, needless to say, a much longer period between packing (stuffing your SoC with the right IP and programs) and the moment your product finally arrives in the hands of a consumer than if you were packing to go yourself. You need to be more accurate in your planning when it is your product that is going. Standards for broadcast multimedia services and internet audio & video streaming are still emerging and new versions appear frequently. Fortunately while a tourist cannot download a new shirt, you can download an update for the software on your SoC device and change its programming to support new applications or changes to local standards. This can be done easily if you have embedded microprocessors on your SoC, just make sure you pack the right processor on your chip!
Synopsys announced a new codec on May 11 that supports the Chinese National HD audio standard, an optimized version of the Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA) decoder. This codec can be easily programmed into a DesignWare ARC Sound processor to instantly add support for HD audio in a multimedia product bound for the China market. Of course, you would need to have a DesignWare ARC Sound processor in your SoC to be able to take advantage of this piece of software. If you have packed the right processor your product can travel easily to a new market, if not it could be a bumpy ride.
Traveling around the world makes you aware of the many regional broadcast standards that exist. Prepare your product, like a good traveler, and plan for all of the standards that it is likely to encounter and even some that don’t exist yet. It is easy to do by selecting a flexible embedded processor for your SoC, one that allows you to support the ‘local’ markets even as they change. You have 1.3 billion reasons in China alone to do so.
At the age of 10 Mike begged his father to get him a computer. Never mind that at the time computers were the size of a large office and cost millions of dollars. Yes, Mike is no spring chicken and he didn’t get the computer, although his father did give him an abacus telling him that it would enable him to use the computer that he already had between his ears, which was not appreciated. Whether it was due to the trauma that resulted from using an abacus or just Mike’s love of anything electronic he has spent the last 30 years or so designing, building, and programming computers, microprocessors, and microcontrollers and developing applications that run on them. And his fascination continues with the definition of new processors and architectures in his search for the holy grail of computing: infinite performance at zero power consumption. Statistically speaking he is convinced it is just a matter of time.
Allen started in the ‘semiconductor IP industry’ before it was called the ‘semiconductor IP industry’. Back then, it was about ‘megafunctions’, ‘megablocks’ or MegaMacros™ (as trademarked by the pioneering UK IP company Allen was with… no, not that UK company). The biggest of these ‘mega’ things was an 8051! Today, of course, IP blocks are much larger and much more complex. And, it’s about the software, as well as the hardware. It’s also about working with a set of partners, sometimes called an ecosystem or community. Allen has been doing that for many years and is enjoying working with old and new friends on the ARC processor ecosystem.