Atmel(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) announced today a low-cost re-targeting flow for migrating designs from its low entry-cost AT91CAP ARM(R)-based customizable microcontrollers to its ASICs that minimize unit cost in high volume. This flow, based on automated netlist re-targeting that preserves system functionality, enables customers to benefit from the low development costs and rapid prototype availability of the CAP(TM) and then, once the product has been proved in its application, transition it to a high-volume, unit-cost-optimized ASIC at minimal additional cost and risk.
Atmel provides all its internally-developed IP blocks that are implemented in the CAP fixed architecture or metal programmable block at no charge, and is able to offer competitive prices on third-party IPs because they are supplied to multiple customers. This provides a wide range of pre-qualified functionality, ranging from standard network/connectivity IPs for Ethernet, USB, and CAN, to leading-edge wireless communications and data compression technologies such as UWB and H.264 in the coming months. In addition, the mature process technology that Atmel uses to manufacture its ASICs brings the benefit of low mask costs. Taken together, these factors significantly reduce the cost of development of a high-volume, microcontroller-based system-on-chip that is optimized for a single application.
Michel Le Lan, Atmel's Marketing Director for ASICs, commented, "The current economic crisis is exerting enormous downward pressure on costs. Atmel is responding to this situation by providing a low-entry-cost product, the CAP customizable microcontroller, which enables customers to bring their innovative products to market in spite of the difficult circumstances. They can cost-effectively develop and sell their CAP-based products in medium volumes, and then, as we emerge from the crisis, ramp these products into volume at minimal additional cost and risk. This gives Atmel and its growing community of CAP customers a strategy for the present and a roadmap for the future."