Software unifies electronic product development

An Altium product story
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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team May 16, 2005

Altium has unified its recently released DXP 2004-based products under the Altium Designer name.

Altium has unified its recently released DXP 2004-based products under the Altium Designer name.

The latest 2004 versions of Altium's Protel, Nexar, CircuitStudio and CAMtastic products all are based on the company's DXP 2004 technology integration platform.

What's more, each of these products is a subset of an overall DXP 2004-based design system that provides a complete and diverse set of capabilities for electronic product development.

To coincide with the release of Service Pack 3 for DXP 2004, Altium has introduced the name Altium Designer to represent this complete DXP-based design system.

The capabilities of Protel, Nexar, CircuitStudio and CAMtastic remain unchanged, but these brands now represent licensing options of Altium Designer.

Altium has introduced Altium Designer to better reflect the unified nature of its overall DXP-based design system, which provides a single, integrated application that encompasses all the capabilities necessary for electronic product development.

It also allows Altium to better communicate the breadth of technologies integrated on its DXP platform - board-level system design and verification, FPGA-level system design and verification, embedded software development, CAM engineering, and design data, document and library management.

Altium Designer also provides a focus for the company's industry leadership in facilitating the use of programmable logic to host the entire "embedded intelligence" of design and move away from the hard-wiring of processors and peripherals.

Nick Martin, founder and CEO, Altium explains: "The development of electronic products is a juggling act that balances the drive to embed more and more intelligence into a design with the time needed to create, implement and test the application".

"The history of electronics charts a continuous movement towards designing at higher levels of abstraction in order to efficiently contend with increasing levels of complexity".

"Microprocessors and digital design paradigms allowed portions of the design problem to be moved into a highly fluid and easily updateable realm - software".

"This enabled some complexity to be dealt with in a 'soft' environment that was flexible and easily changeable throughout the design process".

Martin continues: "Today the availability at relatively low cost of high-capacity, high-performance programmable devices such as FPGAs is shifting the balance again and allowing previously fixed design elements such as the processor and its peripheral components and logic blocks to be moved into a 'soft' domain".

"To harness this 'soft' future and take advantage of the benefits that it offers, a unified approach to electronic product development is required".

"This is the approach we've taken with our product development and is represented by Altium Designer".

Electronic product development involves combining off-the-shelf components to form a hardware platform, and adding "intelligence" to this platform in the form of software and soft-wired circuitry hosted in programmable devices such as FPGAs.

Altium Designer provides a single, unified application that incorporates all the technologies and capabilities necessary for complete electronic product development.

Altium Designer integrates board- and FPGA-level system design, embedded software development for FPGA-based processors, and PCB layout, editing and manufacturing within a single design environment.

This, combined with modern design data management capabilities, makes Altium Designer the complete solution for electronic product development - a solution that caters for both today's and tomorrow's development needs.

Altium's current DXP 2004-based products - Protel 2004, Nexar 2004, CircuitStudio 2004 and CAMtastic 2004 - are all licensing options of Altium Designer, and offer a subset of capabilities targeted towards specific members of design teams.

Altium's current Unified Nexar-Protel licence gives access to the full capabilities of the Altium Designer system.

Because all these licence options reflect different capability sets of a single system - Altium Designer - companies can deploy a mix of licences to suit their design team needs, with the complete assurance that all team members are operating within a single, integrated environment.

All team members, regardless of whether they have a CircuitStudio, Protel, Nexar, CAMtastic or Unified Nexar-Protel licence option, share a common environment, work within common projects and access common design editors and capabilities.

The CircuitStudio licensing option, priced at Eur 1995, is targeted at front-end design engineers.

CAMtastic, priced at Eur 2995, provides specialised capabilities for CAM needs.

The Protel licensing option at Eur 9995 is targeted at board-level system design.

Nexar, also priced at Eur 9995, focuses on FPGA-level system design and integrating soft processors within programmable devices.

The Unified Nexar-Protel licensing option gives access to the full range of Altium Designer capabilities and is priced at Eur 11,995.

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