Jim Hogan was the EDPS dinner speaker last week at the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club and he held the audience captive for quite a while. Hogan is a well-known EDA venture capitalist. One of the highlights of his talk was a list of the six SoC trends for 2012. These are:
- Power has emerged as the highest priority issue, versus PPA (power, performance, area). Power is the “biggest deal,” said Hogan.
- Hogan expects to see the emergence of “turnkey” SoC design shops caused by the continuing pressure to collapse the value chain and by the desire of system companies to retain more value. (Hogan repeatedly used Apple as his poster child system company.)
- SoC turnkey business models will emerge. By that Hogan means that the old ASIC design flow will jump up an abstraction level or two and the business model will migrate to NRE plus royalties.
- The space between Virtual Platforms and RTL design will become more interesting, fostering turnkey businesses, new SoC integration tools, integration fabrics, etc.
- Programmable fabrics will see increased use in SoC design. Hogan specifically referred to products such as the Xilinx Zynq 7000 EPP and the Altera SoC FPGA.
- Board design, especially for mobile phone handsets, is becoming impossible at present operating frequencies. There are huge electrical problems, spurring new approaches and developments in electromagnetic solvers and Spice simulation.
All of this is driven by consumer market demands for higher quality and more functions.