While Xilinx got close to TSMC for its 28nm FPGA chips, another cost-smart FPGA vendor Lattice finds UMC an interesting foundry partner for its 28nm chips. UMC used to have big orders from Xilinx in the 65nm and 45nm nodes. UMC has trailed behind TSMC in moving to 28nm, and so lost few customers. But now with its 28nm fabs getting ready it has found another big customer; Lattice Semiconductor. Since Xilinx and Altera are already TSMC customers, it is difficult for Lattice to bargain for better price with TSMC and UMC is looking for a big break in 28nm, so both finds a matching customer.
Lattice Semiconductor stated in its release it will continue the work, already underway with UMC, on non-volatile products based on advanced technology nodes and then quickly expand their efforts to include other Lattice product lines.
"As Lattice has pursued increasingly price- and power-sensitive markets, from communications infrastructure to consumer mobile devices, we have recognized that having a scalable non-volatile technology is a key success factor," said Darin G. Billerbeck, Lattice Semiconductor President and CEO. "Our acquisition of SiliconBlue in December 2011 provided that technology, and today's announcement with UMC gives us a foundry partner that is committed to deliver innovative products quickly using that technology. Lattice is already actively engaged with UMC, and we plan to release 40nm non-volatile products manufactured by UMC by the end of 2012; we are also targeting future generations of our key product lines at the 28nm node."
Dr. Shih-Wei Sun, CEO of UMC, said, "We are pleased to expand our relationship with Lattice Semiconductor to bring their upcoming 40nm and 28nm products to market. UMC's 28nm HLP process is engineered to meet performance targets while maintaining low power and cost efficiency, which will enable Lattice to gain competitive advantages in the low power FPGA market. Furthermore, our ongoing capacity expansion and recent groundbreaking of Phases 5&6 at 300mm Fab 12A will serve Lattice's long-term advanced manufacturing requirements. We look forward to a productive and fruitful partnership."