By executing certain pre-assigned, essential tasks without additional programming, ASSPs can markedly reduce the amount of product design investment required, accelerate the end product’s time-to-market, and help contain costs.
A crucial differentiator between some ASSPs is their construction. ASSPs used in consumer products – cell phones, toys, TV remotes, etc. – are normally built on silicon substrates and are able to withstand allotted levels of physical mishap in environments and at temperatures that support human life. However, ASSPs for devices used in unusually harsh environments – from satellites, spacecraft, and guidance systems to nuclear reactors, robotic explorers, geologic activity sensors, and more – often must be radiation hardened (RadHard) to assure high reliability and prevent damage or performance degradation due to radiation, shock and extreme temperatures. These and other high performance ASSPs may also be built using advanced materials on a crystalline substrate to enhance resilience.
The ASSP category includes analog, digital, and mixed-signal circuits, including Programmable Read-Only Memory (PROM), Static Random-Access Memory (SRAM), Chalcogenide Random Access Memory (C-RAM), Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), and more. Many ASSPs are first designed as a custom IC for use by one company – an ASIC. After the original purpose is fulfilled, that semiconductor may be made available for widespread sale as an ASSP, benefitting other product designers during and after development stages, while amortizing the original development costs over a larger and more broad range of products and companies.
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