QuickLogic, which reinvented itself as a customer specific standard product company from its earlier incarnation as an anti-fuse FPGA company, has re-invented itself again with a move into standard catalogue products.
Quicklogic CSSPs are quick turnaround ASICs tailored to customers’ particular requirements.
QuickLogic’s catalogue CSSPs are off-the-shelf devices designed to address common sets of customer requirements without requiring any further customisation.
Initial applications include scanners, terminals, tablets, AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) and digital image capture.
QuickLogic’s Eureka moment when it decided to produce standard parts came when it was working on a CSSP bridge chip between Icera’s baseband processor and flash memory.
“We realized that other companies could use this chip and sold it to Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Sierra Wireless and a number of Chinese OEMs,” Andy Pease, CEO of QuickLogic, told me, “we’ve sold millions of units.”
The same thing happened when a TI customer asked QuickLogic to produce a chip which linked any TI Sitara microprocessor to any parallel camera. Again it was realized that this same IC could be sold as a standard product ot many customers.
The Icera IC and the TI IC are the first two products in QuickLogic’s catalogue.
The third catalogue product is an IC which connects a WiFi/Bluetooth chip to any applications processor. This one is still awaiting approval by the original customer.
A fourth catalogue product will be a bridge IC connecting a DSP to a camera.
The business model gives QuickLogic the possibility of infinite expansion as it uses its CSSP knowledge to produce get-out-of-trouble chips for processor companies which suddenly find they need new functionality on the chip but want to avoid the cost of a re-spin. Once QuickLogic produces the get-out-of-trouble chip it can find similar situations into which it can sell the IC as a standard part.
The first two catalogue CSSPs are available today.
QuickLogic’s opportunistic moves to a new business model and new markets are redolent of an earlier Silicon Valley age when start-ups went where the money was, and were not fixated on achieving a particular technological goal at all costs.