With the top two FPGA companies taking up 89% of the FPGA market, you can be forgiven for thinking there was no one else out there. Xilinx and Altera have done a good job of defending the duopoly but a few companies are gradually winning market share by targeting specific applications and sub-markets. Here is a list of the top 5 FPGA companies by revenue.
Market share: 49% ($2,369.45 million) 12 months ending 2011-01-02
The leader in FPGAs for many years, Xilinx has a good range of FPGAs in terms of cost and performance. In recent years, the popular Spartan series has covered the low-to-mid-end market while the Virtex series has covered the high-end. Recently, Xilinx released the “7″ family of FPGAs which are built on 28-nm process and for the first time introduced the Artex-7 and Kintex-7 series which provide better coverage of the lower and mid-end applications previously covered by the Spartan series. The Kintex-7 recently won the “Highly Commended Prize” Semiconductor of the year award for 2011.
Market share: 40% ($1,954.43 million) 12 months ending 2011-01-02
The Altera FPGAs cover the low, mid and upper end markets with the Cyclone, Arria and Stratix series respectively. The most recent offering from Altera is the Cyclone-V, Arria-V and Stratix-V, all build on 28-nm process technology.
Larger than Xilinx in market value, Altera has made great progress in winning market share in recent years. Many people would say that their software tools are much better than those of Xilinx which has likely been an important factor in their success.
Market share: 6% ($297.77 million) 12 months ending 2011-01-02
Lattice Semiconductor tackles the low-power and low-cost market for FPGAs. They market their products as the “high-value FPGAs” of the industry, providing best performance per cost. With the explosion in portable electronics, this has been a good strategy for Lattice. Lattice claims to have the industry’s lowest power and price SERDES-capable FPGA: LatticeECP3. Obviously they didn’t follow the trend of naming FPGAs after greek mythology or meteorological phenomena (not saying its a bad move!).
Microsemi (was Actel)
Market share: 4% ($207.49 million) 12 months ending 2011-01-02
Microsemi specializes in low-power and mixed-signal FPGAs. Here are some of Microsemi’s claims:
- The industry’s lowest power FPGA: the IGLOO.
- The industry’s only FPGA with hard 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller: the SmartFusion.
Market share: 1% ($26.20 million) 12 months ending 2011-01-02
QuickLogic’s focus is on the mobile devices industry meaning ultra-low power, small form factor packaging, and high design security. Rather than selling “FPGA”, they pitch “customizable semiconductors”. You will not find the word “FPGA” on the front page of their website.
“Our patented ViaLink® interconnect technology enables QuickLogic to deliver the lowest power, most routable FPGA in the industry,” Brian Faith, Quicklogic’s Manager of FPGA products.
I’m interested to hear from FPGA developers who have worked on Lattice, Microsemi and QuickLogic FPGAs. Share your experience with us in the comments below. What are their tools like? How do they compare in performance and price to Xilinx and Altera? Can anyone see them breaking the duopoly?