Taipei – Alcor Micro Corporation (8054) was recently awarded U.S. Patent approval by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office again for its configurable firmware update technology for USB-interface product applications. This is marked as the company's third consecutive patent award the firmware update technology has received, proceeded by the patents awarded by the Taiwan and Japan Patent and Trademark Offices. The patent covers methods of utilizing microprocessor and input/output control ports as the infrastructure, coupled with the firmware update technology and several value-added IPs to develop a series of related products. In applications, you don't need to change the firmware design despite any changes in product applications. This 'Configursble Controller' Firmware is a major feature for USB Peripheral & storage mfg's. It is recommended to store the industry standard connection interfaces such as USBprotocols in masked ROM, and save the individualized and customized firmware in the external memory. Once the device is activated from ROM, the related firmware is loaded automatically to internal RAM space as required by the product application.
Different from the traditional technology, Alcor Micro Firmware Update Technology revises and updates the firmware data in the external memory on a real-time basis, considerably reducing the time and costs involved in the firmware re-design process as required in product update or modification. The update technology also contributes to setting up a more flexible parts inventory management and operation system for manufacturers. Alcor Micro has developed a wide range of products based on the USB-interface firmware update technology. All of these products have entered the mass production phase and have been delivered to customers successfully.The AU698X USB flash disk controller series is one of the major products using this technology. Typically, storage device designers have to overcome problems caused by different mfg's, types and specifications in flash memory. Whenever the flash memory manufacturers make any update or change in specifications, it typically can take about two months running the firmware update process. This is not only time-consuming but the cost will also be increased by remaking the mask. The profit loss may occur by stocking the flash memory whose selling price continues to fluctate in cost during the stocking period. Alcor Micro's storage device configurable firmware update technology uses a user friendly mass-production software configuration tool and is able to automatically detect the type, style & configuration of flash memory in use. Alcor's Patented technology in the controller then loads the corresponding configuration modules into flash memory. In other cases, the technology is able to adjust the firmware flexibly in response to the quality difference in the flash memory procured, achieving the optimal performance of the flash memory in terms of quality and capacity. This mass-production tool supports all of the flash memory specifications on the market and it only takes several minutes to update the firmware. Moreover, it allows you to dynamically discuss the compatible issue online with your clients and make necessary firmware modifications, reducing the time-to-market for storage device vendors as well as realizing a more flexible operation for inventory management.
The AU315X MP3 Controller series are another realization of the technology. The terminal vendor can tailor the customized human-machine MP3 interface according to the individual need and update the firmware on the spot. As the flash memory dominates a lion's share of the total cost of MP3 device, AU315X uses this patent technology which allows clients to dynamically modify the firmware online, avoiding the possible profit loss caused by the drawback in the flash memory quality.
With the increased inventory cost and price fluctuations in flash memory prices, vendors are faced with a significant impact upon the profits. Therefore, setting up an effective inventory management system has become an important issue for storage device and controller IC vendors. Alcor Micro's complete line of storage device controllers, utilizing the firmware update technology, allows maximum flexibility for supply chain control by setting up a more effective and flexible inventory management system. Alcor's Configurable technology supports virtual all the flash memory specifications on the market and can effectively helps direct the storage device vendors move finished products to the market rapidly. This high-performance and cost-effective technology is the most effective solution found on the market.