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Round-up 2010: Best of semiconductors

December 31, 2010 2 comments

Right then, folks! This is my last post for 2010, on my favorite topic – semiconductors. If 2009 was one of the worst, if not, the worst year ever for semiconductors, 2010 seems to be the best year for this industry, what with the analyst community forecasting that the global semicon industry will surpass the $300 billion mark for the first time in its history!

Well, here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly, if available for otherwise what has been an excellent year, which is in its last hours, for semiconductors. Presenting a list of posts on semiconductors that mattered in 2010.

Top semiconductor and EDA trends to watch out for in 2010!

Delivering 10X design improvements: Dr. Walden C. Rhines, Mentor Graphics @ VLSID 2010

Future research directions in EDA: Dr. Prith Banerjee @ VLSID 2010 — This was quite an entertaining presentation!

Global semicon industry on rapid recovery curve: Dr. Wally Rhines

Indian semicon industry: Time for paradigm shift! — When will that shift actually happen?

Qualcomm, AMD head top 25 fabless IC suppliers for 2009; Taiwan firms finish strong!

TSMC leads 2009 foundry rankings; GlobalFoundries top challenger!

ISA Vision Summit 2010: Saankhya Labs, Cosmic Circuits are Indian start-ups to watch at Technovation 2010!

ISA Vision Summit 2010: Karnataka Semicon Policy 2010 unveiled; great opportunity for India to show we mean business! — So far, the Karnataka semicon policy has flattered to deceive! I’m not surprised, though!

Dongbu HiTek comes India calling! Raises hopes for foundry services!!

Indian electronics and semiconductor industries: Time to answer tough questions and find solutions — Reminds me of the popular song from U2 titled — “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”!

What should the Indian semicon/electronics industry do now? — Seriously, easy to say, difficult to manage (ESDM)! ;)  Read more…

Top 10 electronics and telecom industry trends for 2011

December 30, 2010 7 comments

Here are the top 10 trends in electronics and telecom for the year 2011.

Each one of the trends have been taken from the existing posts, and they seem to be going full blast ahead in 2011. First, the top trends  in electronics.

1. More tablets and portable electronics devices should make an appearance.
2. 3D TV without glasses should be talk of the town. 3D TV should enter the family in 2011.
3. Penetration rate of LED TV to accelerate.
4. Further improvements in digital TV connectivity —  Silicon Image’s ViaPort technology needs to be watched.
5. Fully IP-connected digital TV platform — Inview and Trident Microsystems announced Neelix.
6. Plethora of new DisplayLink certified devices hit the market.
7. E-readers will grow, but at the risk of getting commoditized.
8. There will be more of SSDs.

Now, to the top trends in telecom for 2011.  Again, these are likely to make the top news in the coming year. Presenting the top telecom industry trends for 20111.

1. There will be much more of the connected devices.
2. Naturally, there will be more mobile phone applications!
3. Bluetooth will emerge as a wireless standard for smart energy.
4. There will be much more traction for TD-LTE! So, where does it leave WiMAX?
5. Femtocells — well, see more of it in the coming year.
6. Now, look out for in-car Wi-Fi.

Happy new year to my friends and well wishers.  ;)

Round-up 2010: Best of solar photovoltaics

December 30, 2010 2 comments

Solar photovoltaics (PV) constantly reminds me of the early days of the telecom industry. Perhaps, the similarity lies in practically anyone and everyone wants to enter the solar/PV industry as well, just like it happened in telecom — before the industry consolidation started to happen.

In India, a lot more talk has happened since the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) was unveiled. With 2010 now drawing to an end, here’s presenting the top posts for solar PV from the year that is about to leave all of us!

Want to enter solar off-grid business? Build your own solar LED lanterns and emergency lights! — This was a smashing superhit! So many folks have accessed this post and quite a few commented! Definitely, my no. 1 post for the year and among my top 10 posts for 2010!

Union budget 2010: Solar, UIDs all the way!

NI DAQ workshop: Sun tracker suitable for Indian (and global) solar/PV industry

India to miss NSM target? No, it’s likely a mistake (in reporting)! – The faux pas of the year! ;)

SEMI India benchmarks India’s NSM on global FIT best practices — Goes on to show why SEMI continues to be a top notch industry association!

RoseStreet Labs develops breakthrough multiband solar cell technology! — I enjoyed writing this post a lot!

Solar PV heats up in India — NVVN signs MoU with 16 developers; new guidelines for solar projects — First clear signs that India is indeed hot, as a solar market.

Unique solution required for grid-tie inverters in India!

Solarcon India 2010: Timely implementation of phase 1 critical to success of JN-NSM

Need to develop indigenous manufacturing capacity in solar: Deepak Gupta

Is there a case for polysilicon manufacturing in India?

India has bright future in solar PV, other RE: Stan Meyers, SEMI

Pressing need to address solar project financing in India: D. Majumdar, IREDA

TÜV Rheinland opens South Asia’s largest PV testing lab in Bangalore

Need to look at smart grid standards from an Indian context: Venkat Rajaraman, Su-Kam

Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy! — This should be interesting, as and when it happens!

Top 15 producers of c-Si and thin film solar PV modules, and outlook 2011

There’s more to come in the new year, now that NVVN has released a list of projects under the JN-NSM. I am more keen to see how JN-NSM takes off in the new year, and am sure, so are you!

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy, joyous and prosperous 2011! :)

Round-up 2010: Best of electronics, telecom and technology

December 28, 2010 5 comments

Year 2010 has been a good year for the global electronics industry, rather, the technology industry, coming right after a couple of years of recession. Well, it is time to look back on 2010 and see the good, bad and ugly sides, if any, of electronics, telecom and technology.

Presenting my list of top posts for 2010 from these three segments.

ELECTRONICS

Electronics for energy efficient powertrain

Photonics rocks in India @ APW 2010, Cochin!

Plastic Logic’s QUE proReader looks to mean business!

Growing Indian power electronics market provides host of opportunities

Philips focuses on how interoperability, content sharing drive CE devices!

Apple never ceases to amaze!

Is this a war of tablets, or Apple OS vs. Google Android?

India needs to become major hardware player!

Roundup of day 2 @ Electronica India 2010

Strategic roadmap for electronics enabling energy efficient usage: Venkat Rajaraman, Su-Kam

NI stresses on innovation, launches LabVIEW 2010!

What’s Farnell (element14) up to? And, semicon equipment bubble burst? Whoa!!

Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy!

View 3D TV, without glasses, today!

Indian medical electronics equipment industry to grow at 17 percent CAGR over next five years: ISA

Top 10 electronics industry trends for 2011

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

LTE will see larger deployments, higher volumes than WiMAX!

LTE should benefit from WiMAX beachhead!

Context-aware traffic mediation software could help telcos manage data tsunami: Openwave

Mobile WiMAX deployment and migration/upgrade strategies

Upgrade to WiMAX 2 uncertain as TD-LTE gains in momentum!

Tejas celebrates 10 years with new products for 3G/BWA backhaul

Focus on gyroscopes for mobile phone apps: Yole

Bluetooth low energy should contribute to WSN via remote monitoring

INSIDE Contactless unveils SecuRead NFC solution for mobile handset market

How are femtocells enhancing CDMA networks?

Top 10 telecom industry trends for 2011

TECHNOLOGY

Symantec’s Internet threat security report on India has few surprises!

Epic — first ever web browser for India, from India!

Norton cybercrime report: Time to take back your Internet from cybercriminals!

NComputing bets big on desktop virtualization

Brocade launches VDX switches for virtualized, cloud-optimized data centers

It isn’t an easy job tracking so many different segments! :) I will try and do better than this next year!

Best wishes for a very, very happy and prosperous 2011! :)

More ‘fabless IC billionaires’ in 2010, says IC Insights! Is India listening?

December 22, 2010 5 comments

Brilliant! There’s no other word to describe the first part of this headline!

As per IC Insights’ forecast of 2010 billion-dollar fabless IC suppliers, excerpted from a ranking of top 50 fabless IC suppliers in its ‘ 2011 edition of The McClean Report’, as many as 13 fabless IC suppliers are tipped to cross the $1-billion mark in sales in 2010! As per IC Insights, this is a significant step up — from 10 companies in 2009 and eight in 2008.

Leading fabless IC suppliers. Source: IC Insight, USA.

Leading fabless IC suppliers. Source: IC Insight, USA.

Just sit back and admire this table. There are nine firms from the US — Qualcomm, Broadcom, AMD, Marvell, Nvidia, Xilinx, Altera, LSI and Avago, three from Taiwan — MediaTek, Novatek and MStar, while ST-Ericsson is Europe’s lone representation in this stellar list.

In this august club of IC billionaires, no surprises, but Qualcomm retains the top place for the third consecutive year. Broadcom moves up a place. AMD should become the world’s third largest player.

Broadcom at 53 percent, Marvell at 34 percent, Xilinx at 39 percent, Altera at 63 percent, Avago and Novatek at 40 percent each are top performers. However, MStar of Taiwan steals the show with an estimated 75 percent growth in 2010.

Qualcomm, Nvidia and LSI have performed well, especially  the last two – coming pff a difficult 2009. Taiwan’s MediaTek has seen the biggest slip — down to 3 percent in 2010 from 22 percent in 2009.

There is no representation from Japan in the fabless IC billionaires club. IC Insights has indicated that the fabless/foundry hasn’t caught on in Japan and is unlikely to do so in the near future. However, Taiwan and China based firms should sooner or later find their way into this club.

I will now come to India! Read more…

Top 15 producers of c-Si and thin film solar PV modules, and outlook 2011

December 21, 2010 8 comments

Fig. 1: Top 15 global crystalline module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 1: Top 15 global crystalline module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

I am extremely grateful to Stefan de Haan, senior analyst, Photovoltaics, iSuppli Corp., for sharing with me the top 15 global producers of c-Si and thin film solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, respectively during Q3 2010.

First, the top 15 global crystalline module producers (see Fig. 1) — who are the standout performers and why?

He said: “It is still the Chinese integrated suppliers, above all Trina and Yingli. They benefit from a highly competitive cost structure. However, this need not be the most successful business model in future. With increasing cell and module efficiencies, and an increasing need for full automization, European and Japanese companies may gain ground again.”

Now, on to the top 15 global thin film module producers (see Fig. 2)– who are the standout performers here!

Fig. 2: Top 15 global thin film module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 2: Top 15 global thin film module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

de Haan added: “Still, it is First Solar, the company with lowest production cost in the industry and the biggest module producer. CIGS is upcoming, in particular. Solar Frontier also has to be watched.”

Global PV installations to grow significantly in 2011
It is said that global PV installation will likely witness moderate growth in 2011, and that, concerns of oversupply remain. de Haan agrees only partly.

He said: “Global PV installations will again grow significantly in 2011 (2010: 16 GW and 2011:  22.2 GW). Oversupply will not be dramatic in 2011, but in 2012 and 2013.”

Further, if the pressure from decreasing solar cell price continues to increase, will solar cell makers be forced to reduce prices of wafers and poly-Si to reflect costs? According to Stefan de Haan, prices will drop across the entire solar value chain in 2011! Read more…

Need to develop robust Indian semicon industry, led by local companies!

December 17, 2010 1 comment

I came across an article titled “Global Semiconductor Companies Turn to India for Growth” published on India Knowledge@Wharton. Isn’t this reason why global semiconductor companies enter a specific market in the first place — to grow their own markets and regions? So, why should it be different with India?

India is very well known globally for its talent, chip design capabilities (especially in the Indian arms of the global semicon firms) and as the world’s embedded bastion!

This particular article is brilliantly written, and kudos the author. The clinching paragraph is tucked away at the end, starting with: “None of the global players, however, is currently looking at setting up a semiconductor fabrication plant, or “fab,” in India.”

What’s happened up until now in the Indian semicon industry? If one were to look at the Special Incentive Package Scheme (SIPS), which was introduced back in Sept. 2007 by the government of India, it was geared toward encouraging investments for setting up semicon fabs, and other micro and nanotechnology manufacturing industries in India!

It also defined the “ecosystem units” as units, other than a fab unit, for manufacture of semiconductors, displays including LCDs, OLEDs, PDPs, any other emerging displays; storage devices; solar cells; photovoltaics; other advanced micro and nanotechnology products; and assembly and test of all the above products.

A Karnataka Semicon Policy was announced in early Feb. 2010, during the India Semiconductor Association’s ( ISA) Vision Summit.

Next, the government of India’s thrust on solar/PV, via the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM), has at least ensured the country’s solar/PV future.

What has happened since all of these policies? Really, nothing much, at least from the perspective of the Indian semicon industry. If it has, at least, I am unaware, and my apologies for this ignorance.

Of course, solar/PV seems to be going from strength to strength! Recently, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN) put out the list of selected solar projects under the JN-NSM Phase 1, Batch 1. But that’s another story!

On this very blog, there are several posts that speak of India’s ability or inability to build a fab. At first, folks said that semicon fabs were on their way in India, and that the story isn’t disappearing. However, somewhere along the line, that particular vision took a beating and fabs simply disappeared from the Indian semicon radar! Read more…

Top 20 global semicon suppliers of 2010!

December 16, 2010 1 comment

I’ve just received this report from iSuppli, which says that the global semiconductor revenue expands by record margin in 2010 — to $304 billion in 2010, up from $229.5 billion in 2009. This represents growth of 32.5 percent for the year! Fantastic!!

This growth is said to be courtesy of a boom in DRAM and NAND sales benefiting memory suppliers. One hopes the semicon industry turns in an equally better performance in 2011. That’d be just great!

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you iSuppli’s preliminary ranking of the Top 20 semiconductor suppliers in 2010.

Top 20 semiconductor suppliers of 2010: Source: iSuppli, USA.

Top 20 semiconductor suppliers of 2010: Source: iSuppli, USA.

As per iSuppli, Marvell is likely to achieve organic revenue growth of more than 43 percent and jump five places to the No. 18 spot in 2010.

Qualcomm and AMD, and Sony have experienced revenue growth notably less than the overall market. Therefore, they will likely slip three to four positions in the rankings in 2010.

After a number of years of dramatically outperforming the market, Taiwan’s MediaTek fell back to earth in 2010, as it will barely achieve revenue growth at 1.2 percent, the only company among the Top 20 to not achieve a double-digit increase. The company is likely to slip to No. 19 in the rankings, down from No. 16 place in 2009.

Only one company is at risk of dropping out of the list of 20. iSuppli projects that nVidia will retain its ranking at No. 20. However, ROHM Semiconductor is competing for the final slot among the Top 20 and the final outcome should be very close.

I hope to get into a conversation with iSuppli regarding the top 20 semicon suppliers.

Mentor’s Wally Rhines on global EDA industry challenges – II


Dr. Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics.

Dr. Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics.

This is the concluding part of my discussion with Dr. Walden (Wally) C. Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics.

EDA’s role in modeling and photomask correction
I asked Dr. Rhines about the future of EDA’s role in modeling and photomask correction. He said that in just a decade, resolution enhancement has grown from zero to over $200 million in annual revenue for the EDA industry.

“Almost all of this revenue is concentrated in two EDA companies. The value of this EDA software is clearly recognized by manufacturers. Mentor has many partnerships with manufacturers and a joint development program targeting 20nm resolution enhancement with IBM.”

Handling 22nm and sub-22nm levels
Next, with new process technology nodes becoming quite the talk of the desgin community, what does EDA now need to do at 22nm and sub 22nm levels.

Dr. Rhines said: “We have been working with our customers on this for quite some time now and are in fact well down this path. We think that most of the problems have been solved, or are solvable. Obviously, most of the issues here revolve around the lithography and manufacturability, but the EDA industry has been leading this since optical proximity correction became a key technology for the fabs quite some time ago.”

Density area savings
In an earlier discussion, the issue of how compelling would integration density area savings remain by going to new nodes had come up. I have to repeat this question, as it still seems to remain an issue.

So, how long will the integration density area savings you get by going to new nodes remain compelling?

“Hard to say!” noted Dr. Rhines. “We can see a path to 15nm with the traditional 193nm immersion lithography, and we usually surprise ourselves in our ability to go farther than we think we can. However, even if density slows down, this is but one way to achieve the continuous performance improvements that we’ve seen over the years in silicon.

“3D silicon, for instance, holds the promise of allowing us to continue to grow performance without necessarily doing it by just continuing the process shrink. Logic and memory have been on a predictable “learning curve” since the vacuum tube and I don’t expect that learning curve to deviate anytime in the foreseeable future.” Read more…

Mentor’s Wally Rhines on global EDA industry challenges – I


Dr.  Wally Rhines, CEO and chairman, Mentor Graphics.

Dr. Wally Rhines, CEO and chairman, Mentor Graphics.

It has always been such a pleasure meeting Dr.  Walden (Wally) C. Rhines, CEO and chairman, Mentor Graphics Corp. During his recent visit to India, I managed to enter into a discussion with him regarding various issues facing the global EDA industry.

Part one of the discussion looks at the industry, as well as EDA related issues such as predictability, verification and IP integration, how can Mentor help start-ups address EDA challenges, and going about software-to-silicon verification. May I also take this opportunity to thank my good friend, Mentor’s Veeresh Shetty.

I began by asking Dr. Wally Rhines about the fortunes of the global EDA industry and what’s it going to be like in 2011?

He said: “The EDA industry typically follows the recovery in semiconductor industry R&D spending by six to 12 months. Mentor’s strong results in Q3 (with 60 percent growth in bookings) suggest that the recovery has already started. In our third quarter conference call, we indicated to our investors that 2011 looks like a good year as well.”  Read more…

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