MIPS Technologies, Inc. and Alchemy Microprocessor Design Group (Alchemy), a unit of Cadence Design Systems, Inc., have announced a strategic relationship in which MIPS Technologies is to provide Alchemy a license for its architecture. Under the terms of the MIPS Technologies agreement, Alchemy will provide standard system-on-chip (SOC) products based on the MIPS architecture to OEMs in the digital consumer marketplace, specifically targeting the emerging third-generation (G3) of wireless digital phones.
Cadence and Alchemy have developed a plan to form the group into a private company. Cadence will continue to fund the operations of Alchemy and expects to maintain an equity position in the new company. Currently, Cadence and the Alchemy group are in advanced discussions with venture firms about the investment opportunity.
"We congratulate Alchemy as it embarks on its new venture, and we are delighted the team selected the MIPS architecture," said John Bourgoin, chairman and CEO of MIPS Technologies, Inc. "By teaming Alchemy's systems and chip expertise in low power with the MIPS architecture, high volume, low power embedded markets will benefit."
Rich Witek, former StrongARM and Alpha architect, and Greg Hoeppner, former Director of StrongARM Development, head the Alchemy development team. While at Digital Equipment Corp., the development team was responsible for the StrongARM family of processors, including the 110 CPU and StrongARM 1100 SOC. The team's expertise in low power, low cost system design will enable it to develop a range of high performance solutions for a variety of consumer products.
The agreement with MIPS Technologies will allow Alchemy to use a market-leading industry standard architecture in SOCs targeted at G3 wireless digital phones, Window CE clam-shell and palm-size computers, real-time embedded systems, and Auto PC systems. Working with MIPS Technologies, Alchemy will develop system solutions where higher levels of performance and longer battery life are required.
Alchemy plans to develop high-performance MIPS-based processor cores all at power levels below 0.5 watt and expects the first products to be available next year for select consumer markets. Alchemy will work with MIPS Technologies and other third parties to provide complete hardware and software solutions. Customers will be able to use existing industry-standard software development tools and verification systems that should allow them to rapidly develop SOC solutions. The companies will also work with customers to define application specific and customer-specific uses of these platforms.