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May 21, 2010

Actel launches mixed-signal FPGA in SA

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Supplier of low-power and mixed-signal field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) Actel Corporation has launched SmartFusion, the world’s first intelligent mixed-signal FPGA, which is available in South Africa from Actel’s local distributor, ASIC Design Services.

The FPGA contains a complete microcontroller subsystem built around a hard ARM Cortex-M3 processor and programmable analog blocks on a flash process. This allows embedded designers the flexibility to easily build the system they want with all the features needed on a single chip.

“SmartFusion is the innovative, intelligent integration of the key components of a system. Owing to Actel’s flash technology, it can now offer the industry’s first and only no-compromise, fully programmable platform for embedded design,” says Actel president and CEO John East.

The combination of three programmable elements, namely logic, a microcontroller sub- system and analog, makes SmartFusion a customisable, easy-to-use system design platform. In the SmartFusion device, all the data transferred from the processor to the FPGA, from the analog to the processor, or between the FPGA and the analog, is on one chip. In addition, Actel’s FlashLock technology provides a high level of intellectual property security.

SmartFusion devices offer a solution to a wide variety of applications, including motor control, system and power management and industrial automation. These applications span the industrial, military, medical, telecommunications, computing and storage markets.

Further, Actel regional manager for Western Europe and Africa Patrizio Piasentin explains that SmartFusion offers a number of benefits, namely protection of intellectual property, time to market, low energy consumption, integration, reliability, long-term life span and hardware and software partitioning.

“The launch of Actel’s SmartFusion represents a step forward in intelligent FPGA design and also demonstrates the rapidly growing momentum behind the ARM Cortex-M3 processor in a wide range of applications,” says microprocessor intellectual property provider ARM processor division marketing vice-president Eric Schorn.

He adds that, in addition to exploiting the Cortex-M3 processor’s industry-leading high-performance and low-power features, SmartFusion licensees are also able to access ARM’s vast ecosystem of more than 600 partners, providing tools, software and middleware suitable for the ARM architecture.

The product can provide growth opportunities to embedded programmers in the South African market and protect engineers’ designs and intellectual property


Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
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