Fabless ASIC/SoC firm decloaks

April 17, 2006 – Startup Key ASIC, a Santa Clara, CA-based fabless provider of ASIC and system-on-chip (SoC) design-for-manufacturing services, has officially launched with a menu of SoC platforms for various consumer and communications applications.

The company’s primary technology is a SoC platform incorporating a high-performance ARM-based CPU platform with a CPU core and memory blocks, capable of integrating a variety of mixed-signal IP blocks, including video front-ends for HDTV applications, high-end A/D and D/A solutions for wireless and wired communications, high-quality audio and voice codecs, and peripheral interfaces for quick integration.

Key ASIC lists a variety of target applications for its services, including: portable media players and gaming devices, MP3 Players, cell phones, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, set-top boxes, digital home media servers, multimedia, networking, VoIP, and telephony products. The platform includes silicon-proven interfaces such as USB2.0, IEEE 1394, ETHERNET, PCI, PCI-X, CE-ATA, PCI-Express, and Serial ATA.

Demand for integrating multiple functions into single chips with increasingly small form factors is prompting a renewed wave of design and manufacturing outsourcing for targeted ASICs and SoCs, according to Kah Yee Eg, founder and CEO of Key ASIC, who in a statement positioned the company as “the ‘ODM’ of choice for SoC designs.”

Key ASIC’s foundry partners include Silterra and TSMC, as well as UMC, SMIC, and Chartered. IP partners include Goyatek and CSMS in Taiwan, and Unive in Korea, with Artisan Components and Virage Logic (logic and memory); Innovative Semiconductors, Simple Silicon, and Mixel (analog); and ARM and Virage Logic (CPU). The company’s top execs, including Eg, Alan Aronoff (VP of business development), and sales VP Chan-Woo Nam, have experience from stints at Synopsys, as well as Cadence, NEC, Cirrus Logic, and Adaptec. About 30 design engineers are employed in Silicon Valley and Malaysia, working on designing ASICs and SoCs utilizing RF CMOS, high-voltage, low-power mixed-signal, and digital design.


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