Mentor Graphics Corporation with HQ in Wilsonville just outside of Portland, Oregon, deals primarily in electronic design automation for consumer electronics products. It announced recently that it has delivered an Android Development System for the semiconductor company Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated’s OMAP35x processors based on ARM® Cortex A8 technology. Mentor Graphics is a member of the TI Developer Network, a community of companies that offer products and services based on TI analog and digital technology. Companies working on OMAP35x processor-based designs can leverage the Mentor Graphics version of the Android application framework for Android-based applications. Android of course is Google’s open source mobile platform that has a virtual cult following. Mentor says that its android solution opens the door for OMAP35x developers designing medical, communication, industrial, instrumentation, home Security and digital Video applications.
Mentor has always been a traditional EDA company belonging to the coveted top 3 (Synopsys/Mentor/Cadence) EDA vendors providing sophisticated design tool methodologies from Register Transfer level (RTL) to DFM (Design for Manufacturability) for cutting edge semiconductor companies designing IC’s that go into a variety of applications in the consumer electronics segments. Confronted with a flagging economy that showed mercy to none least of all EDA companies struggling to find customers among another ailing sector-the semiconductors, what was Mentor to do? Things took a whole different turn, when in one brilliant Machiavellian move, Mentor announced that it had acquired Embedded Solutions in April of this year. The acquisition gave it access to what is virtually sacred in today’s market: Embedded Linux and Android platforms. Gartner says Android will soon become the second-most popular mobile platform. Really? Looking at all the Smartphone makers and gadget companies thronging to it like it’s going out of style, one would think that it is already number one!
So that is when Mentor decided to rebrand itself from a traditional EDA player to a mobile platform (Embedded software) provider by smartly leveraging on Google Android’s bandwagon. Now the question is, has the Semiconductor downturn affected the EDA companies so badly that they are forced to rebrand themselves with Open Source platforms? If that is the case I feel Mentor is doing a great job paving the way with an innovative marketing strategy, positioning itself with cutting edge Mobile platforms and entering into joint Ventures with traditional Semiconductor companies like TI that cater to Mobile handheld devices. Not to mention Oregon has always been partial to open source. “We are taking Android beyond the mobile” seems to be their new motto.