mannerisms

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Lattice Dodges Gorillas

Lattice Semiconductor is motoring again pursuing a strategy which avoids confrontation with the two FPGA gorillas.

“We don’t compete with the big boys any more, we’re not in big, power-hungry FPGAs, we aim to be the undisputed leader in low-cost, low-power, small foot-print FPGAs where time to market is crucial,” says Lattice CEO Darin Billerbeck.

“Gordon (Gordon Hands – Lattice’s marketing director) and I sat down and said: ‘If we can develop an FPGA for under 50 cents we’ll sell a billion.” says Billerbeck.

Now Lattice sells the 1000 LUT iCE40 FPGA for under 50 cents. Power starts at 25 microWatts, the package measures 1.4 x 1.48 mm. Lattice hasn’t sold a billion of them yet but Billerbeck says: “My goal is to sell one every ten seconds.”

As well as the smallest FPGA in the industry – iCE40, which runs from 1k to 8k LUTs, Lattice has the FPGA with the lowest cost per I/O (1 cent per I/O) – the MachXO3, and the smallest footprint high-performance FPGA – the ECP5 which has 200 I/Os in a 10mm x 10mm package.

Billerbeck is a CEO who does his own market research. “On my commute to work by train in Oregon I’ve found that if you’re over 40 you have a tablet, if you’re under 30 you have a phone.”

The market research extends to the Billerbeck household. “No laptop has been opened in my house for a year,” says Billerbeck, “my kids do their homework and write essays on the phone.”

So Lattice’s low-cost low-power device portfolio mirrors the mobile-buying demographic which explains why Lattice shipped 30 devices a second throughout 2013 for predominantly mobile applications, why revenues grew 19% last year, why gross margin is over 50% and cash tops $200 million.

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3 Comments

  1. paul craig roberts
    April 11, 2014 15:42

    same press release available here… but with amazing teeth thrown in!
    http://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/lattice-embraces-mobile-demographic-2014-04/

  2. Brane212
    April 11, 2014 08:01

    BTW, look at the typical XO3 announcement. This was from EDN:

    http://edn.com/electronics-blogs/fpga-gurus/4421625/Lattice-MachXO3-aimed-at-MIPI–PCI-Express–Gigabit-Ethernet-bridging-capability

    And now go to http://www.latticesemi.com , click FPGA->MachXO3

    And then try to find ANY of announced featuresin XO3L.

    Good luck

  3. Brane212
    April 11, 2014 07:31

    Great.

    Has he analyzed why MachXO3 is NOWHERE NEAR to what was promised for eternitiy and even announced mere month or two ago ?

    Worse yet, THERE IS NO MachXO3. All they have shown are 3 lowest models that can’t even match full functionality of XO2 predecessors and called them MachXO3L.

    I don’t know who exactly does he plan to sell 1 billion of those things, but I doubt that they will make any long term plans with Lattice, when it changes its strategies literally over weekend.

    And if they decided to go for a few big customers and screw off the rest, why then they feel the need to brag about ?

    They already have their few big deals and even if not, they sure aren’t likely to get to them through adverst and blurbs in magazines.

    MachXO2 was great. It had a few flaws, but it was far ahead anything else in that class.

    I expected to see similar jump as with MachXO — MachXO2 ; healthy 3x jump in density, nice jump in “bang per buck” category etc.

    Instead nice step up, we got two cripples of the FPGA world.

    I’m still waiting for him to say something how MachXO3L’s FLASH aint really FLASH as it can be programmed TWICE.

    Or maybe he planned to sell all 1bn pices in one deal and dissapear before anyone noticed ?

    And WRT to BS about lower cost, look at those few adresses that sell them and see how much do they want for this. XO3L is NOT much, if any cheaper than old XO2.

    BTW, amongst other things they promised cheap WIREBOUND packages.
    That was even to be one of the main points of newcomers.
    Now there are none.

    I don’t know where Lattice is located, but if its Texas, maybe it’s time for crapshooting some beancounters and yappies…

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