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"The semiconductor industry has been under pressure now for sometime, but one of the fastest growing businesses within semiconductors has been in programmable logic devices (PLDs)," notes wireless sector specialist Nikhil Hutheesing.
In The Forbes Wireless Stock Watch, he explains, "One of the top companies in this business is San Jose, California-based Altera (NASDAQ: ALTR). Here's his bullish review.
"These PLDs are chips that allow software developers to use inexpensive software tools to quickly develop, simulate, and test their designs. Then, a design can be quickly programmed into the chip and immediately tested in a live circuit.
"Unlike other chips, PLDs are based on re-writable memory technology. That means that if a designer wants to change the design on the chip, the device can be easily reprogrammed.
"Once the design is final, customers can go into immediate production by simply programming as many PLDs as they need with the final software design file. The result is that a final design can be completed much faster and less expensively than that of a custom, fixed logic device.
"While Altera also manufacturers other kinds of chips, it's the PLD business that could really boost the company's business. Eventually, Altera plans to replace the ASIC business entirely with PLDs.