Altera rides again as Intel spin-off eyes $55B+ FPGA opportunity

Intel has a new name for its FPGA spin-off company, and it’s a familiar one. Intel is re-branding the firm as Altera, which was the name of the outfit Intel acquired back in 2015 to establish itself as a leader in the FPGA market.

The announcement, made this week by Altera CEO Sandra Rivera, comes after Intel late last year announced plans to spin off its Programmble Solutions Group in an effort to better position the business to chase market opportunities for both high-performance and low-power programmable chips. 

This week’s announcement also comes two years after AMD completed its acquisition of FPGA market leader Xilinx in February 2022. As that business under AMD has continued to expand its FPGA product lines, other FPGA firms like Lattice Semiconductor have started to target low-power applications for FPGAs in fields like automation, robotics, IoT, and computer vision.

Rivera and Altera COO Shannon Poulin said Altera also plans to expand its FPGA product lines and highlight its AI-focused software capabilities as the company chases a “$55 billion-plus market opportunity.” Among future plans, Altera is developing Agilex 3, what it described as a low-cost, low-power line of FPGAs to support low-complexity functions for cloud, communications and intelligent edge applications.

Altera also gave updates on other products, saying its Agilex 5 AI-infused FPGA fabric geared toward embedded and edge applications is now broadly available, while the Agilex 9, for radar and military-aerospace applications that require high-bandwidth mixed-signal FPGAs, is now in volume production, and the Agilex 7 F-series and I-series devices for high-bandwidth compute applications like data center, networking and defense, have been released to production. 

“As customers deal with increasingly complex technological challenges and work to differentiate themselves from their competitors and accelerate time to value, we have an opportunity to reinvigorate the FPGA market,” Rivera said. “We’re leading with a bold, agile and customer-obsessed approach to deliver programmable solutions and accessible AI across a broad range of applications in the  comms, cloud, data center, embedded, industrial, automotive and mil-aero market segments.”