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Second wave forms

As programmable analogue devices enter a more mature stage in their evolution, they could breath new life into analogue design. By Philip Ling.

The great thing about the electronics industry is its unpredictability and its ability to adapt to unforeseen change through flexibility in strategy and technology.

When programmable analogue technology was introduced, it was received warmly – mostly because it held the promise of simplifying the arduous task of designing analogue circuits, and partly because it was almost expected. After all, programmable logic devices had been around for years, so why couldn't the same be done for analogue? Unexpectedly, engineers didn't take to the technology quite so readily – it seemed there was some inertia to overcome.

It became apparent that getting analogue designers to use programmable technology and digital designers turning their hands to analogue circuits was going to be a little more complicated than anticipated. Something had to change. The strategy had to reflect the technology's capabilities, and while some were prepared to do that – others weren't.

Eventually, after much culling, there stood amongst the debris three protagonists who refused to lie down: Zetex; Anadigm; and Lattice.

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Graham Pitcher

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