Spansion CEO: "Quality happens at the system level"

October 29, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Past February, Spansion introduced the HyperBus, a data bus custom made for its Flash devices and its Traveo microcontrollers. While just about any embedded system potentially can benefit from such a fast data highway, Spansion seems to succeed with this system particularly in automotive environments. In the meantime the chipmaker started to populate the ecosystem around the Hyperbus. EE Times Europe asked Spansion CEO John Kispert about its strategy with this ecosystem.

EE Times Europe: Spansion has recently introduced fast memory products for its HyperBus. How would you describe the strategy to establish the Hyperbus infrastructure across the industry?

John Kispert: There are two ways you can go. First, establish a second source. Second, drive it as a standard. The adoption (of our architecture) is growing weekly. We can go either way, but I don't want to make that movement right now, we'll make this decision over the next couple of months.

EETE: Which factors currently drive the development of automotive electronics, especially in dashboard applications?

Kispert: There is definitively an increasing demand for customised devices, a race of interoperability in which you can use all these devices. Homing on Flash and MCU capabilities, cost and quality we can operate with all these interfaces. There is also a number of voice and gesture recognition projects going on. Important is customisability. Quality is our focus; the unit lifetime now up to 20 years. Since the entry barriers in this market are very high we are in a unique position.

EETE: There are rumours that Spansion had massive quality problems in a project with a major German OEM. Do you comment on this?

Kispert: I am not aware of such problems. Our quality goal is a fault rate of 5 ppm worldwide, and we are very focused on this goal. Key for quality in the auto business is also design services and support. But you can't play in any of these categories if you don't reach the 5 ppm goal.

To be a player in the automotive industry, you need to offer three things: Predictable quality at 5 ppm or better; the ability to support the customer with a worldwide organisation; and an ecosystem that supports these quality and predictability goals.

EETE: What is Spansion doing to assure automotive-grade quality?

Kispert: We have a continuous quality assurance programs in place. Our number one goal