Today the worldwide market for programmable
logic devices is about $3.5 billion, according the market researcher
Gartner/Dataquest. The market for fixed logic devices is about $12 billion.
However, in recent years, sales of PLDs have outpaced those of fixed logic
devices built with older gate array technology. And, high performance FPGAs are
now beginning to take market share from fixed logic devices made with the more
advanced standard cell technology.
According to the Semiconductor Industry
Association, programmable logic is now one of the fastest growing segments of
the semiconductor business, and for the last few years, sales for PLDs have
increased at a greater pace than sales for the overall semiconductor industry.
Says EDN Magazine, a leading electronics design
trade publication: "Programmable-logic devices are the fastest growing
segment of the logic-device family for two fundamental reasons. Their
ever-increasing logic gate count per device 'gathers up' functions that might
otherwise spread over a number of discrete-logic and memory chips, improving
end-system size, power consumption, performance, reliability, and cost. Equally
important is the fact that in a matter of seconds or minutes you can configure
and, in many cases, reconfigure these devices at your workstation or in the
system-assembly line. This capability provides powerful flexibility to react to
last-minute design changes, to prototype ideas before implementation, and to
meet time-to-market deadlines driven by both customer need and competitive
pressures." (EDN, "Annual PLD Directory," August 17, 2000.)