SigmaTel

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SigmaTel (SGTL delisted from NASDAQ after 2008 acquisition by Freescale Semiconductor) was a System On a Chip SOC electronics and software company headquartered in Austin, TX, that designed AV media player/recorder SOCs, reference circuit boards, SOC Software Development Kits, media player software apps, and controller chips for multifunction peripherals. SigmaTel was Austin's largest IPO as of 2003 when it became publicly traded on NASDAQ.

History[edit]

In 2004, SigmaTel SoCs were found in over 70% of all flash memory based MP3 devices sold in the global market. However, SigmaTel lost its last iPod socket in 2006 when it was not found in the next-generation iPod Shuffle. PortalPlayer was the largest competitor, but were bought by Nvidia after PortalPlayer's chips lost their socket in the iPod. SigmaTel was voted "Best Place to Work in Austin 2005" by the Austin Chronicle.[citation needed]

In July 2005, SigmaTel acquired the rights to different software technologies sold by Digital Networks North America (a subsidiary of D&M Holdings, and owner of Rio Audio).

SigmaTel sold its PC audio business in mid-2006 to Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) for approximately USD $80 million.[1]

After having the right to physically destroy Actions Semiconductor products at the U.S. border for intellectual property infringement, SigmaTel settled all patent litigation and in 2007 entered into a cross-licensing agreement with the Zhuhai, China-based Actions Semiconductor Co. Ltd. Both companies also agreed not to pursue possible third-party IP infringements or new legal action against each other and their respective customers for three years. Consequently, all of Actions' current and future products may be imported into the U.S. market without restrictions.[2]

SigmaTel also won a spot in Samsung televisions. Sales the SGTV5800[by whom?] TV audio solution, which can be used in analog, digital and hybrid televisions, have been ramping up. SigmaTel later introduced SGTV5900, which is anticipated to supplant the SGTV5800.

In mid-2007 SigmaTel introduced portable QVGA 320×240 portable video decoder, and support for higher resolutions using WMV and MPEG4 followed.

Some SigmaTel microcontrollers, like STDC982G, are used in printers manufactured by Samsung and sold under the Xerox brand. Kodak all-in-one printers also use SigmaTel IC's.

SigmaTel's equity traded as low as $100 million below book value. Its peak share price was $45 and its day one IPO max share price was around $18. After the SGTL IPO in 2003, Austin's other biggest IPO was the later spinoff of Freescale Semiconductor by Motorola Corporation. Over 150 models of MP3/WMA players used SigmaTel SDK3.1 and the STMP35xx SOC with its MS DRM10 capabilities.

On February 4, 2008, Freescale Semiconductor announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SigmaTel for $110 million.[3][4] The agreement closed in the second quarter of 2008 and all SGTL shares were purchased by Freescale for $3 each.

Freescale continued developing and selling the STMP3 portable AV SoC product line, which are ARM9-based STMP37xx and STMP36xx AV SoCs, and the DSP56k-based STMP35xx portable AV SoC. Product info was on Freescale's ARM-based controller site. Freescale's i.MX2 ARM9 and i.MX3 ARM11-based multimedia SoC product line (especially analog SoC features) have been integrated with the STMP3xxx product line, resulting in a stronger portable multimedia product portfolio.

On February 25, 2009, Freescale laid off 70% of the former SigmaTel team as part of a company-wide reduction in force. No new products under the Sigmatel design teams will be created. A 'skeleton crew' was chosen to stay and support existing OEM customers that are using the existing chips until the chips enter their 'End Of Life' phase. Freescale integrated analog IP from SigmaTel into its competing product lines and continues to pursue component and Real Time OS device driver-based support for OEM's rather than the complete hardware and software turnkey system design approach of the successful SigmaTel startup that powered hundreds of millions of portable media players enjoyed by many users.

Products[edit]

SigmaTel offered a line of audio codec chips that were integrated into many desktops, notebooks, and other audio playback devices, notably MP3 players. Other products included microcontrollers for digital appliances, portable video controllers and TV audio products. The line of audio chips included portable STMP35xx, STMP36xx, and STMP37xx SoCs.

Audio encoding and recording to flash memory in MP3 and WAV formats are supported from microphone, SigmaTel FM IC (STFM1000) digital audio source, or line-in. Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layouts and reference schematics were provided to OEM and Original Development Manufacturing (ODM) customers, driving easy manufacturing. Turnkey portable media player custom RTOS, framework, and app software was a large component of the company's success. SigmaTel provided SoC software to equipment manufacturers of portable audio and video player chips.

SigmaTel's audio chips have been found in Dell laptops, several Dell desktops, the Sony Vaio notebook, and numerous other audio playback devices.

STMP35xx is an audio System-on-a-Chip (SoC) that requires no external RAM, voltage converters, battery chargers, headphone capacitors, analog-to-digital converters, digital-to-analog converters, or amplifiers. Over 150 portable audio product models are based on that STMP35xx SDK3 and over 150 million such portable audio player SOCs were sold from 2002-2006.

The first-generation iPod Shuffle used the SigmaTel STMP35xx and its product quality Software Development Kit v2.6.[5] Other products using that SigmaTel SoC and software include the Dell Ditty, Creative MuVo, Philips, and many others. Audio quality for the chip was rated as best in industry. SDK3.1x added Microsoft DRM10 support, enabling interoperability with services such as Rhapsody, Napster, and Yahoo! Music Engine.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IDT to Acquire PC and Notebook Audio Product Lines from SigmaTel" (Press release). IDT. 2006-07-25. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  2. ^ Actions and SigmaTel Settle All Patent Litigation and Enter into Cross-License Agreement: Financial News – Yahoo! 20 June 2007
  3. ^ Freescale Enters Into Definitive Agreement to Acquire SigmaTel – Freescale Press Release
  4. ^ "Freescale Enters Into Definitive Agreement to Acquire SigmaTel" (Press release). Freescale. 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  5. ^ "STMP35xx" (PDF). Product Data Sheet. SigmaTel. 2003-09-17. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]