Tensilica Ships 2 Billionth Core

Tensilica Ships 2 Billionth Core
by Paul McLellan on 10-10-2012 at 7:00 am

 It was in June of last year that Tensilica announced that they (or rather their licensees) had shipped one billion cores. Now they have just announced that they have shipped two billion cores. They are shipping at a run-rate of 800 million cores per year, which is 50% higher than June last year. If business continues to grow they will bet at a run-rate of over a billion cores per year sometime next year. They’ll have to put one of those signs outside that McDonalds used to have about how many billion hamburgers they sold, before the numbers go so big that it became impossible to keep up.

Since Tensilica is still a private company they don’t announce their financials, but they did also announce that their product license revenue is bigger than any other DSP licensing company by about 25% (presumably CEVA is #2) and that they are number 2 in product license revenue for all CPU IP licensing companies, behind ARM at #1 of course.

The accelerating growth in the number of cores is driven by designs ramping to volume in smarphones, digital TV, tablets, personal and notebook computers and storage and networking applications. But the real driver is power: dataplane processor units (DPUs) provide better performance/power/area than classic DSPs and scale from function-specific micro-cores up to large general purpose DSPs. Click on the picture to see a subset of the mobile phones that contain Tensilica DPUs.

New design wins are important for future revenue when royalties start to be paid too. Typically a core will be licensed at the start of a project, and it can be a couple of years before the design is complete and the systems start to ship in high volume.

And for anyone visiting Tensilica’s offices, they will move buildings the weekend of 20th October (ten days time). They are only moving to the two-storey building across the road so if you go to the old offices you are almost in the right place!

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