Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CEO Interview: John East, Actel

With Xilinx and Altera dominating the programmable logic space, you’d think that smaller players like Actel would be an endangered species. You’d be wrong.

Actel shipped its first product twenty years ago, an antifuse-based FPGA. They’ve long been strong in rad-hard mil/aero applications where SRAM-based products don’t hold up (though margins do). While not abandoning antifuse, Actel has moved aggressively into the consumer market with the introduction of its flash-based IGLOO family of FPGAs, which it claims are “the industry’s lowest power programmable solution.” While still hardly a Goliath, right now their sales and stock are doing nicely in a down market, thank you.

Actel’s CEO John East is a true believer about low power, and not just in chips. Along with Mark Thompson at Fairchild and T.J. Rogers at Cypress, East believes that energy conservation on a larger scale—going “green”—is also good business. Portable Design’s Editor-in-Chief John Donovan talked with East at ESC in April and asked him about the logic behind programmable logic as well as green technology.

Actel Corporation, Mountain View, CA (650) 318-4200 [www.actel.com]

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