CEVA won a Major Licensing Agreement for its 5G IP

Photo above: Demonstration of CEVA PentaG 5G Platform IP, implemented on FPGA board

The licensor of signal processing platforms and artificial intelligence processors, CEVA from Herzliya, Israel, is entering the 5G with a “Significant new licensing agreement”. Gideon Wertheizer, Chief Executive Officer of CEVA, said this week following the company announced its Fourth Quarter Financial Results, the during the quarter, “we had one agreement with a company targeting the 5G market which was one of the largest agreements in the company’s history.”

Techtime has learned that the agreement is related to a dedicated processing platform for 5G base stations. Rumors indicates that the customer may be Ericsson or a big newcomer to the 5G market. Ceva is  already playing in this market: In March, 2018 it had announced that it is supporting Nokia in the development of its ReefShark baseband System-on-Chips (SoCs), set to be deployed for 4.9G and 5G wireless infrastructure.

Taking AI into 5G

Under the agreement, CEVA has adapted its widely-deployed CEVA-XC architecture framework to address the massive increase in signal processing complexity in multi-RAT (Radio Access Technology) network architectures. A month earlier, CEVA had introduced its new PentaG platform: A comprehensive 5G intellectual property (IP) platform for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB). PentaG supports the full gamut of 5G eMBB use cases, including standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA), mmWave and sub-6 GHz.

It consists of Enhanced CEVA-XC4500 DSP with 5G ISA Extensions, 5G AI Processor to increases downlink data throughput by 20%, a fully-programmable co-processor incorporating 64-MAC units, designed to handle advanced channel estimation measurements, a Cluster of CEVA-X2 DSPs and Polar and LDPC accelerators are tuned to 5G NR eMBB channel requirements.

Artificial Intelligence is playing an important role in CEVA’s 5G strategy. The company said that its AI processor is using machine learning techniques to achieve optimal modem throughput. In January, 2019 it announced the opening of a new research and development facility in Bristol, United Kingdom, to strengthen its development of new digital signal processing and AI products.

Sales Down but Expectations rise

During the fourth quarter, CEVA completed 13 license agreements: Seven of the agreements were for CEVA DSP and AI platforms, and six were for CEVA connectivity IPs. Customers’ target markets for the licenses include 5G baseband processing, cellular IoT connectivity, advanced consumer and surveillance cameras, automotive connectivity, smart speakers, Bluetooth earbuds, Wi-Fi routers and other IoT devices.

Total revenue for 2018 was $77.9 million, a decrease of 11% compared to $87.5 million reported for 2017. Licensing and related revenue for 2018 was $40.4 million a decrease of 6% compared to $42.9 million in 2017. Royalty revenue for 2018 was $37.4 million –  a decrease of 16%, as compared to $44.6 million reported for 2017.

Gideon Wertheizer: “As we enter 2019, we expect the elevated inventories in handsets to add to the usual seasonal weakness in our near-term royalties. With that said, we do expect continued expansion at our non-handset and base station customers, along with a recovery in handsets in the later part of the year.”

CEVA Announced a New Hybrid DSP/Controller Architecture

CEVA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEVA), announced CEVA-BX, a new all-purpose, hybrid DSP/Controller architecture to address new algorithms of digital signal processing in voice, video, communication, sensing and digital signal control applications.

CEVA-BX is a new breed of DSP architecture, combining the inherent low power requirements of DSP kernels with high-level programming and compact code size requirements of a large control code base. Using an 11-stage pipeline and 5-way VLIW micro-architecture, it offers parallel processing with dual scalar compute engines, load/store and program control that reaches a speed of 2 GHz at TSMC 7nm process node.

The CEVA-BX Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) incorporates support for Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) widely used in neural network inference, noise reduction and echo cancellation, as well as half, single and double precision floating point units for high accuracy sensor fusion and positioning algorithms.

Mike Demler, Senior Analyst at The Linley Group commented: “Consumer, automotive, industrial and healthcare devices are increasingly integrating multiple sensors, such as cameras, microphones, environmental and motion detectors. Processing these heavy-duty signal-processing workloads in edge devices requires an efficient combination of control and DSP capabilities. The CEVA-BX eliminates the need for separate CPUs and DSP coprocessors, employing a hybrid architecture that delivers excellent all-round performance for smart devices.”

CEVA-BX employs key architecture principles of advanced micro-processor architectures such as a large orthogonal general purpose register set for maximum C compiler efficiency, innovative Branch Target Buffer (BTB) for minimizing branch overhead, hardware loop buffer for reduced power consumption of code loops, fully cached memory subsystem, and native support for all standard C types.

Its CoreMark/MHz score of 4.5 reflects the superior control capabilities of the architecture. CEVA-BX customers are able to add proprietary ISA into the architecture using the CEVA-Xtend, to accelerate proprietary algorithms and take advantage of CEVA’s automatic Queue and Buffer management mechanisms to integrate co-processors and create a cluster of CEVA-BX cores.

Moshe Sheier, vice president of marketing at CEVA, said that CEVA-BX architecture, “revolutionizes the ‘all-purpose DSP’ concept by offering a high performance hybrid architecture that is a single compute island for all DSP and control workloads that are commonplace in intelligent connected devices. Using a high level programming model and parallel processing it addresses the main performance shortfalls and programming difficulties of older special purpose DSPs and controllers.”

The CEVA-BX is initially offered in two configurations – the CEVA-BX1 with single 32X32-bit MAC and quad 16X16-bit MACs and the CEVA-BX2 with quad 32X32-bit MACs and octal 16X16-bit MACs, that are also capable of supporting 16×8-bit and 8×8-bit MAC operations. The CEVA-BX2 addresses intensive workloads such as 5G PHY control, multi-microphone beamforming and neural networks for speech recognition, with up to 16 GMACs per second. The CEVA-BX1 serves low to mid-range DSP workloads, such as cellular IoT, protocol stacks, and always-on sensor fusion, with up to 8 GMACs per second. Security is addressed using dedicated trusted execution modes to comply with the stringent safety standards.

CEVA-BX family is accompanied by a comprehensive software development tool chain, including an advanced LLVM compiler, Eclipse based debugger, DSP and neural network compute libraries, neural network frameworks support such as Android NN API, ARM NN, and Tensorflow Lite, and choice of industry leading Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS).

For more information:www.ceva-dsp.com/app/multipurpose-dsp-controller/.

Availability
The CEVA-BX cores are available now to lead customers and by end of Q1/2019 for general licensing.

CEVA expects revenues from Apple starting Q3

Photo above: Intel XMM 7360 LTE Advanced modem

By Yohai Schwiger, Techtime

CEVA from Herzliya, Israel, is expected to report meaningful incomes from future iPhones following Apple decision to switch suppliers and give orders to Intel instead of Qualcomm.  A recent report from COWEN, indicates that with Qualcomm excluded entirely from the 2018 iPhone in lieu of CEVA-based Intel modems, CEVA is poised to increase both its unit share and royalies coming from  Apple.

COWEN: “We believe it should drive a powerful mix shift beginning in late 3Q18 when the phone begins shipping. Management indicated that Intel will be using a new DSP core for the iPhone modems manufactured at Intel’s foundry, which we estimate could bring 30-40% initial ASP bump for CEVA – in addition to the 50% unit share increase. By our math, this could present a $10M+ incremental revenue opportunity over the next four quarters for CEVA.

CEVA is a leading licensor of signal processing platforms (DSP) and a primary player in artificial intelligence (AI) processors. The analysts Matthew Ramsay, Joshua Buchalter and Ethan Potasnick believe that 4.9G/5G basestation chip royalties represent the largest near-term incremental revenue opportunity for CEVA.

“We continue to see a $20M+ incremental evenue opportunity from just Nokia and ZTE by 2020. In fact, CEVA recently announced an agreement with a 3rd 5G basestation customer and remains in discussion with a fourth (likely Samsung and Ericsson since Huawei does its own DSPs).”