Last week we took a trip to Silicon Valley for a briefing on Imagination Technologies' roadmap, including new PowerVR GPUs and the future of MIPS. "There should always be Pepsi wherever there is Coke," it was said, and Imagination wants to be Pepsi.
CEO Sir Hossein Yassaie In striking contrast to its presence in popular consumer knowledge, Imagination Technologies is one of the few companies that can legitimately bill itself as "global, everywhere, and in everything." Having shipped 535 million units last fiscal year, the company's technology is now present in more than 5 billion products.
In many respects, last week's "Imagination on the Move" press event at Stanford University was equal parts a celebration of the company’s role in the global tech industry and a showcase of its plan to gear up for the next phase of growth by providing software and silicon IP to suit any conceivable device.
Given the event's location, it's fitting that Imagination's strategy focuses heavily on restoring MIPS to its former glory with the intention of bringing balance to the CPU market. Of course, we were also shown a new generation of the company's PowerVR GPUs and VPUs, Ensigma communication processors, and evidence of the continued partnership with TSMC. Should it realize its goal, Imagination is hoping that a focus on heterogeneous processing will result in combined sales of 1 billion units in fiscal year 2016 and a 25 percent share of the CPU IP market within the next five years.
Even if we put aside the ambitiousness of Imagination's sales projections, it is very much an open question as to whether MIPS will be able to effectively compete against ARM-based processors, which currently account for over 90 percent of the mobile device market, to effectively become the de-facto choice for the entire product category.