When dsps were introduced commercially in the early 1980s, they were regarded by many as the 'best thing since sliced bread'. And, as the devices grew in popularity, their target markets broadened as did their complexity.

But, lately, you got the feeling that the dsp – as a standalone device – was not as important as it once was. That's not to say that dsp as a technology has waned – far from it. Confirmation of this has come from dsp market expert Will Strauss, who says standalone parts now represent just 11% of dsp market revenues. The other 89% of the market comes from dsp functionality implemented in asics, fpgas and so on. That's technology for you; it keeps moving on. It reminds me of desktop publishing (DTP). When the concept was first introduced – coincidentally in the early 1980s – it came in the form of a system. But you don't find DTP systems anymore; DTP is just an application on your pc. How long will it be before you don't see dsp chips any longer?