On The Move


In Mobile: Be Quick or Be Dead


In the mobile electronic world, the saying “be quick or be dead” is a painful truth.
For architects of mobile systems and SoCs serving mobile applications, the rapidly changing landscape of mobile designs and the challenges faced by design engineers to meet area, power, performance and features become more difficult to overcome. Meeting time to market pressure with the right features AND meeting performance, cost and power budgets is more difficult than ever.

Arteris’ Kurt Shuler posted a very interesting blog providing means to calculate revenue loss attributed to being late to market.
He was showing a diagram highlighting development time and product life span for several categories.
What interests me and the readers of this blog are the consumer electronics and mobile devices design cycle and product life which is shown below. This diagram illustrates the short development cycle (About 1 year) and short life time (quoted 3 years however it is closer to 18 to 24 months for mobile electronics).

[Units shown in Years]

Source Biren Prasad, “Analysis of Pricing Strategies for New Product Introduction.” Volume 5, Number 4 of Pricing Strategy and Practice, pages 132-141, 1997. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=855140.


What does that tell us?
As designers of mobile systems or SoCs serving the mobile market we need to be extra careful and watch out for new trends making sure we don’t mis-judge the situation and therefore miss the train (or market / revenue). The saying be quick or be dead is relevant in this case. Time to market with the right features is critical for success.
What it also tells us is that defensive tactics should be used to mitigate risks that a certain feature or interface takes off and leave us unprepared. We might be right or wrong at a given time but really cannot predict the future.

In the case of mobile systems having a programmable capability on-board that complements the SoC and discrete components can be very useful to mitigate some of the market risks. That’s why I found this latest news about SiliconBlue getting more funding interesting. The key differentiator of ‘mobile’ FPGA is enabling feature expansion and meeting time to market pressures. This is of course assuming the FPGA meets all criteria of performance, cost, size, power and is able to implement the features needed in the application.

What does Synopsys do to help SoC designers meet time to market pressures?
Deliver complete and proven camera and display subsystems.
Here’s an example of camera and display sub-systems that help semiconductor vendors get to market fast. Watch the video here and refer to previous post Got Subsystem? for details.

For those who enjoy some music, here’s a video of “be quick or be dead” by Iron Maiden that gives a different perspective to our story…

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*Edited (added categories) on 7/19/11 10:50AM PST

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