Electronic Design

Company Wire

  • Conexant Systems is rounding out its communications portfolio with its purchase of Maker Communications, a manufacturer of programmable high-performance network processors, software solutions, and development tools. The combination will create the industry's broadest portfolio of network processor and physical layer semiconductor products for the Internet infrastructure. The acquisition extends Conexant's network-access product portfolio into high-value, software-intensive, protocol-processing applications.
  • C Level Design Inc. and Easics NV recently entered into a technology partnership and product-development agreement to create a system-level design environment that will include tools, a methodology, and services. This environment, which will be based on the Native ANSI C/C++ languages and System C++ class library, aims to let designers model, synthesize, and simulate hardware and software at a higher level of abstraction than is currently possible.
  • To address the needs of the 3D graphics marketplace, Aristo Technology Inc. has partnered with ATI Technologies Inc. Their main objective is to develop a block-based design methodology capable of increasing productivity as well as accelerating design convergence for graphics chips. Designers using this methodology will ultimately experience faster time-to-market cycles.
  • Mentor Graphics has agreed to transfer its physical library business assets to Virage Logic. This should give Virage a major boost in the extended memories area by providing access to Mentor's technology and people to support it. As a result, designers now can go to one central location to meet all of their memory needs.
  • Avant! recently announced plans to acquire Analogy Inc. at a price of $24 million. This move significantly extends the company's presence in the analog/mixed-signal (A/MS) design arena by adding a host of tools and technology pertaining to mixed-signal simulation, design, and analysis to its already robust A/MS simulation product offerings. For designers, this translates into a more complete and automated A/MS design flow.
  • Eastman Kodak Company and Panasonic Disc Services Corp. have formed a new venture called Matsushita Media Manufacturing LLC of America. This new organization will manufacture and supply optical media products to both parent companies. Each company will contribute financial assets as well as intellectual property and technical expertise. Additionally, Kodak will include its optical disk manufacturing operations in Youghal, Ireland, and Guadalajara, Mexico. The alliance should enable the companies to obtain a larger portion of the world market for DVD and CD-ROM products, while helping them develop new uses for these media.
  • Rainbow Display Inc. and Philips Flat Panel Display Systems have agreed to jointly develop large diagonal (36-in. and greater) flat-panel displays. Rainbow Display will supply its tiling technology, which enables the assembly of small individual AMLCD panels into a single large display with no visible seams. Philips will provide the manufacturing and marketing power needed to commercialize tiled AMLCDs. Because the tiling approach relies heavily on existing display technology and infrastructure, it offers potential advantages in time-to-market and price-versus-performance over other technologies like plasma displays.
  • Qualcomm Inc. announced that Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. has selected its sixth-generation MSM3100 CDMA chipset and system software for its next-generation handsets. Sanyo selected Qualcomm to support IS-95B with data rates up to 86.4 Kbits/s, and with integration that enables a 50% reduction in handset size. The two companies continue to work together on a number of leading-edge handset-development projects, including future global roaming handsets to be supported by cdmaOne operators worldwide.
  • To provide a reliable, total-system solution for cordless telephone vendors, Prominent Communications Inc. and Macronix International Co. Ltd. intend to cooperatively develop digital spread-spectrum wireless communications technologies. The proposed 900-MHz chipset will leverage both companies' strengths, namely Prominent's RF design expertise and the advanced digital baseband technologies developed by Macronix. Under the agreement, both companies will contribute manpower and technology to the chipset's joint development.
  • STMicroelectronics and Ericsson have agreed to develop a range of devices based on the Ericsson Bluetooth core architecture. The first implementation will be based on ST's 0.18-mm process, and it will combine RF with logic and digital processing functions. This agreement is one of a series of Bluetooth-related Ericsson alignments described in a special Bluetooth Developer's Conference report at www.elecdesign.com.
  • Indicative of the spread of fiber, International FiberCom's Infrastructure Development Division has has been awarded a $32 million design-build contract. Awarded by PF.Net, the contract calls for the installation of a fiber-optic network in the southwestern U.S. Engineering services for the estimated 14-month project were expected to begin in December, with network installation commencing this month.
  • Proxim Inc. and Next Level Communications (NLC) will jointly integrate Proxim's HomeRF wireless networking technology into NLC's ultra high-speed residential gateway to distribute wireless toll-quality cordless voice and shared broadband Internet access in and around the home. They plan to offer a seamless, wireless extension to NLC's set-top devices, which deliver a combination of multichannel digital video streams, advanced voice services, and shared broadband Internet communications over VDSL signals. Compaq, IBM, Intel, Motorola, and Proxim have announced specific plans for HomeRF-based products for rollout early this year.
  • CS Verilog and Quality Systems & Software Inc. will integrate their respective ObjectGEODE and DOORS products. This combination addresses real-time development in the telecom, avionics, and automotive markets, providing embedded-software developers with requirements traceability throughout the whole development process. Such integration improves requirements conformity and streamlines information flow. Also, non-experts will be able to easily access design data, while development engineers will get a direct connection to requirements.
  • Combining their strengths in the design and development of power-management devices, Fairchild Semiconductor and Intersil Corp. have formed a strategic partnership to co-develop power ICs tailored for use in laptop and portable computers. The initial power devices resulting from this partnership will be designed to provide core voltage for new-generation CPUs, as well as battery-monitoring functions for laptops, notebooks and portable computers. According to the partners, the new power ICs also will achieve higher levels of integration.
  • Micrel Inc., a supplier of analog and power ICs, has acquired Altos Semiconductor Inc., a developer of temperature-sensing and thermal-management ICs. This acquisition will enable Micrel to expand its power-management product portfolio, as well implement clever thermal-management techniques in future power ICs.
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