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Integrated Analog ICs We Wish We Had

We received and are still receiving excellent responses to our recent blog, Analog ICs We Can’t Live Without… & Ones We Wish We Had. This got me thinking more about something I touched on briefly at the end of that blog — something that deserves more discussion.

We are starting to see more specialized analog ICs come into the market. Some are extremely specialized and will find use in niche equipment. These are the devices I've written about before, like the AFEs used in gas analyzers for medical diagnostic equipment in AFE Eval Platforms Merit Closer Look. Such equipment serves a vital need, of course, but annual volumes are not high. I gave some consideration to that issue of annual volumes in another recent blog, Comparing & Contrasting ASSP, AFE, or General Purpose Devices.

Putting thoughts from these blogs together, I'd like to know what functionality you would like to see integrated onto an IC. As before, let your imagination run free — as long as it pertains to the subject at hand. The market for your wish-list device might be automotive, consumer electronics, computer equipment, RF, medical diagnostic, home healthcare… the list goes on.

Depending on what ideas we see here, we may get commentary from industry insiders who can comment on your ideas.

Don't worry about whether there is a market for the device. Never mind concerns about how many might be sold. NRE cost? Not your problem. Just tell us, from your perspective, what functions you'd like to see on an IC. It should get some more good conversations going.

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7 comments on “Integrated Analog ICs We Wish We Had

  1. eafpres
    April 4, 2013

    Hi Brad–I look at a lot of short-range wireless technologies.  If you consider those used in so-called M2M, or smart sensors, or smart home, etc. you invariably have a module with a wireless chipset, and then a microprocessor, sometimes with integrated ADC sometimes not.  Typically these modules then have a handful to a few tens of passives on them.  There are a small number of companies that make integrated wireless+MP+IO in one chip, but I think there is a lot of room for more of those as application volumes go up in automotive, smart home/building, and industrial wireless sensors.

  2. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    >>…there is a lot of room for more of those as application volumes go up in automotive, smart home/building, and industrial wireless sensors.

    I agree completely. That's where I see lots of growth. Home automation, IoT, machine-to-machine – that's got to be the next big thing. More companies will get into over the next few years. Count on it.

    Wireless chipset, microprocessor, maybe the integrated ADC, and power cktry – that would be the likely subsections to integrate.

  3. Vishal Prajapati
    April 5, 2013

    I would like to see the impedance matching part in the output stage of the wireless ICs. It is the most difficult part for me to match the antenna with the output stage. There could be the stand alone IC that is being used only for the matching purpose between two stages. It should be programmable to select the output impedence of one stage and input impedence of the next stage.

  4. Brad Albing
    April 5, 2013

    I know there is work being done and parts available for impedance matching for the antenna.

  5. Vishal Prajapati
    April 6, 2013

    That is good news for me atleast.

  6. Vishal Prajapati
    April 8, 2013

    I know it is tough job but not impossible. There are Analog RF section integrated along with digital parts in the same IC. So, programmable matching should also be possible by some mean.

  7. Brad Albing
    April 8, 2013

    For the higher power transmitter, you'd pro'ly need relay switching. That is of course the antithesis of integrated analog RF functionality.

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