Last month the IP licensing division of DSP Group introduced its first platform offering, XpertTeak. The fully synthesizable XpertTeak platform consists of the dual-MAC TeakDSPCore core, data and program memory, and peripherals like timers, buffered serial ports, and a DMA controller. This platform strikes a middle ground between DSP Group's existing offerings of stand-alone DSP cores and application-specific combinations of DSP cores, software, memory, and peripherals.
In another first for DSP Group, XpertTeak is available both as licensable IP and as a 200 MHz chip. This is an unusual approach, and it may give DSP Group a significant advantage over its competitors. Off-the-shelf chips typically provide a much faster path to market than IP-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs. However, SoCs can provide far lower cost and energy consumption than off-the-shelf chips. Hence, product designers often use off-the-shelf chips for first-generation products and later migrate to a SoC design. In the past, this migration has been difficult for DSP-focused applications. Although several popular general-purpose processor architectures are available both as of-the-shelf chips and as licensable IP, few DSP architectures are available in both forms. Hence, very little software from an initial product using an off-the-shelf DSP processor can be directly reused in a follow-on SoC-based product design. By providing one of the most popular DSP cores in both IP and silicon forms, DSP Group has significantly lowered the barriers to this migration.
XpertTeak joins a growing number of platform IP offerings, including ARM's PrimeXsys wireless platform and Adelante's Galaxic platform. Although these platforms differ in many respects, all three platforms offer similar levels of integration, and all three vendors offer optional application-specific software and hardware libraries. Recent announcements suggest that additional platform offerings lie just over the horizon. For example, ARM, Adelante, and Philips have announced plans to collaborate on development of a common system-on-chip (SoC) platform. Meanwhile, DSP Group's IP division is on track for its third-quarter merger with Parthus, a licensor of application-specific platform IP. Licensable core vendors would be wise to keep an eye on the activities of these two new collaborations.
XpertTeak is available now for license and as a chip. Neither licensing fees nor the price of the chip have been disclosed.