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Imagination: Total Launch on New IP Ecosystem

By Chen Weizhe
Published: Oct 16,2013

Imagination Technologies, one of GPU IP Licensees, has awarded for no.3 IP licensees globally 6 years in a roll and merged MIPS with a hundred million US dollars. Thus worries occurred in the market on if MIPS technology and products will still develop smoothly and independently.

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Currently, Imagination Technologies not only possess most comprehensive IP products (including graphics processing technology, video and vision processing technology, general processing technology and radio communication processing technology), but own 32 and 64 bit processor technology from MIPS now. In the market of ARM application rules, all users pay close attention on if the above merge is going to break the fortress built up via ARM solution.


CTIMES invited CEO of Imagination Technologies, Sir Hossein Yassaie on a meeting with Chief Editor (Hereinafter referred to as Ou) discuss about the future trend on IP core and the market allocation and planning after merged MIPS. Summary listed as below:


Ou: I believe MIPS merge will be one of the most interested subject from our readers. So, after Imagination merged MIPS, if the first priority will still be growing your own system? If above is correct, please kindly share some specific strategies with us, if not, what is the new direction for Imagination?


Hossein:Hossein: For a very long time, MIPS structure own strong leading position on digital houseware and internet market. In these markets, the stable and long term planning via merge between Imagination and MIPS will actually bring new develop energy for current system.


Besides, we will utilize open operating systems and put more efforts on MIPS marching to mobile market to push for future growth on current system based on the trend of structure neutrality and program portability. Imagination actually already input double resource on MIPS CPU development, including other investments like compiler, debugger, operating system and software.


Except for above actions, we will sustain our own ecosystem to attract customers and important partners. Furthermore, to initiate close interaction and communication with software supplier, wafer foundry industry, EDA supplier and third party supporting team to offer total marketing opportunities to manufacturer, content developers and semiconductor industry for product promotion.


Ou: We have seen a lot of successful merge failed finally for corporation culture difference. Based on that statement, what difference do you see on the culture from MIPS and Imagination?


Hossein: Instead of culture difference, we found out MIPS and Imagination are quite correspondent, especially because they share the same vision to develop excellent CPU processors. Both teams believe the fundamental benefits coming from RISC (Reduced instruction set computing) structure and multithreading technology. We have faith that the combination between two skilled and experienced CPU team, we can surely develop the best CPU products.


Figure I
Figure I

Ou: Synopsys and Cadence grow rapidly on their competitiveness of IP industry, what does that bring Imagination?


Hossein: Actually, Cadence and Synopsys are also important partners of Imagination. We tend to work with EDA (Electronic Design Automation) and other industries to provide well defined tool process and most optimized cell library to all Imagination IP core authorized customers to fulfill their demands on best speed, layout area and power consumption. For the range of IP market is wider than we thought, we believe EDA supplier with IP technology is not our competitor. Instead, a lot of their IP service can be support our products and we sincerely welcome their joint.


Ou: Please kindly share with us the advanced manufacturing processes introduction status and future directions. Also, how about the partnership with Foundry and EDA solution providers?


Hossein: As an IP company, we will provide needed manufacturing technologies including advanced process set up. For example, in the cooperation projects with TSMC (Taiwan semi-conductor company), we utilize out IP core technology combine with 16 nanometer FinFET (Fin Field-effect transistor) techniques provide by TSMC to jointly develop most optimized reference process and silicon wafer built up.


In the cooperation with TSMC and Synopsys recently, we accomplished our promises to support customers to achieve best design results via our IP technology with set up design process, memories and standard cell library. Besides, we will release our next generation design optimization kit (DOK) to assist customers on PPA optimize and shorten the design lead time.


Ou: We all know that GPU manufacturing is Imagination’s basic value. However we heard about NVIDIA will provide GPU on mobile and integration applications while the same time Qualcomm has their own GPU processors since day one. Also we have to take Mali graphic application from ARM into consideration. How do you take those challenges from GPU market?


Hossein: Until now, device with built-in PowerVR graphics processor has shipped over one billion sets. That is the most successful graphic technology existed. The key technology on PowerVR is to apply independent segments, deferred rendering color structure to provide higher performance and better image quality on lower power consumption and silicon layout area.


We do believe that it is a good thing challenge exists, especially when the market owns great business opportunities. We also have faith on our technology strength and the total solution we provided to customers. We will surely sustain our success.


Ou: Generally, the new technology introduced 6 months to one year late to Taiwan. Do you think it will stay the same in the future?


Hossein: We have arranged series of seminars recently in Taiwan inviting professionals from TSMC and MTK on special topics. Impressively all professionals were invited introduced top notch technologies. The strong demand on mobile chips will keep pushing for developments on design and manufacturing in Taiwan. We are working with some Taiwan partners and assume our next generation IP core product will be firstly released.


Ou: Recently, South Korea obviously succeeds on global technology industries and that also affects lots of companies in Taiwan. On your opinion, what is the major competitive advantage of Taiwan technology industries globally?


Hossein: It is obvious that Taiwan owns strong semi-conductor manufacturing strength. TSMC is leading the growth of advanced technologies also while stay neutral on professional wafer silicon foundry. Besides, Taiwan also has its place on memories and panel fields while flexible display probably becomes the key component for next generation devices.


Furthermore, MTK, Mstar and other IC design suppliers showed their advantages in home entertainment, mobile and embedded products. Through the cooperation with international IP companies, Taiwan will be able to share global standard IP products for future developments.


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