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Round-up 2013: Best of semiconductors, electronics and solar

December 31, 2013 Comments off

Virtex UltraScale device.

Virtex UltraScale device.

Friends, here’s a review of 2013! There have been the usual hits and misses, globally, while in India, the electronics and semiconductor industries really need to do a lot more! Enjoy, and here’s wishing everyone a Very Happy and Prosperous 2014! Be safe and stay safe!!

DEC. 2013
What does it take to create Silicon Valley!

How’s global semicon industry performing in sub-20nm era?

Xilinx announces 20nm All Programmable UltraSCALE portfolio

Dr. Wally Rhines: Watch out for 14/16nm technologies in 2014!

Outlook 2014: Xilinx bets big on 28nm

NOV. 2013
Indian electronics scenario still dull: Leaptech

Connecting intelligence today for connected world: ARM

India poses huge opportunity for DLP: TI

SEMICON Europa 2013: Where does Europe stand in 450mm path?

OCT. 2013
Apple’s done it again, wth iPad Air!

IEF 2013: New markets and opportunities in sub-20nm era!

SEPT. 2013
ST intros STM32F4 series high-performance Cortex-M4 MCUs

Great, India’s having fabs! But, is the tech choice right?

G450C

G450C

Now, India to have two semicon fabs!

Higher levels of abstraction growth area for EDA

AUG. 2013
Moore’s Law could come to an end within next decade: POET

What’s happening with 450mm: G450C update and status

300mm is the new 200mm!

JULY 2013
Xilinx tapes-out first UltraScale ASIC-class programmable architecture

JUNE 2013
EC’s goal: Reach 20 percent share in chip manufacturing by 2020!
Read more…

Freescale’s Rich Beyer on semicon and industry trends

September 4, 2009 Comments off

Here’s the synopsis of the keynote address by Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor at FTF India 2009, at the Hotel Leela Palace Bangalore, on September 02, 2009.
This year we have 64 hours of technical training classes apart from extensive selection of Freescale and third-party demos in our Technology Lab. Since we met last year, the industry has experienced the greatest economic challenges in generations that had an unprecedented global impact, and no region has been immune from its effects.
India, Asia’s third largest economy, seems to have been less affected by the global economic slowdown, primarily because India’s economy is driven largely by domestic demand and is not as dependent on exports. Interest rate cuts and a fiscal stimulus equivalent to 7 percent of India’s GDP helped the economy grow by almost 6 percent in the first quarter of this year, making it the world’s fastest growing economy after China.
From a global perspective, the markets are stabilizing, and we hope that the worst is over. However, in order to compete effectively, businesses will need to become more efficient and more agile, at least for the next few years.
One of the core purposes of this FTF is to demonstrate our efforts and progress in providing you with the best possible solutions to help develop products and systems that enable your companies to win.
In Networking, multicore processors are essential to delivering the industry-leading levels of integration, performance and energy-efficiency required for next-generation communications systems. However, testing and optimizing application software for systems based on embedded multicore processors can be a time-consuming task. To help solve this challenge, Freescale has introduced our VortiQa software, a production-ready, application-level software specifically for our multicore solutions to dramatically reduce the time needed by you, our customers, for your development tasks.
To enable rapid prototyping for our microcontrollers, we have introduced the Freescale Tower System, a modular development platform with reconfigurable hardware that enables developers to mix and match MCU and peripheral boards to save both money and months of development time through rapid prototyping and tool re-use. To streamline embedded designs with our acceleration, pressure or proximity sensors, Freescale has introduced the Sensor Toolbox. This is a unified set of development software, customizable plug-and-play boards and complimentary sensor algorithms to help you get the most out of your sensor-related designs.
For the past several years, we have concentrated on three major trends that we feel represent the engines of our future growth i.e. Net Effect, Health and Safety and Going Green.
India is the world’s fastest growing mobile market, and 3G high-speed transmissions of voice, video and data is seen as the next growth driver for telecom firms in India. In Health and Safety, Freescale is helping enable monitoring solutions like glucometers and insulin pumps.  Our embedded processing technologies deliver best-in-class performance with low-power consumption and integrated RF connectivity that help diabetes patients avoid acute complications like hypoglycemia and kidney failure. Real-time cardiac monitoring solutions are allowing patients with heart disease to live a life without constant fear. Our high-performance 32-bit embedded processors, digital signal processors and digital signal controllers help provide accurate and secure portable heart monitoring solutions for those suffering from hypertension, arrhythmias and cardiac failure. In Wellness and fitness applications from pedometers to treadmills and digital bicycles are beginning to incorporate functions like calorie counters and heart rate monitors. Freescale’s microcontroller portfolio delivers one of the best price-performance ratios available for these applications.
Safety is also an extremely important trend in the world today and is the utmost requirement in the automotive market. Safety features introduced years ago like anti-lock braking, air bags and tire pressure monitoring systems are being integrated with completely new capabilities like active safety equipment that can actually help prevent accidents before they happen. Advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and radar for object detection will add embedded intelligence to the vehicle for a higher level of safety, efficiency and convenience. We will begin to see vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure wireless communications. Embedded intelligence in the vehicle will be able to recognize traffic signs – to maintain the proper speed limit or alert the driver about approaching stop signs. And sensors will be able to detect pedestrians around the vehicle and monitor that the driver is alert and aware.
Our third growth trend is Going Green. Energy is embedded in virtually every aspect of our lives energy efficient devise will make an enormous difference. The prospect of rising oil prices and global warming has intensified the demand for more fuel efficient vehicles while at the same time meeting ever-tightening standards on emissions. In the consumer market, many countries around the world are instituting new standards to eliminate “vampire electronics”, those devices that consume a huge amount of energy even as they spend time in standby mode. The industrial sector accounts for about 37-percent of the global energy consumption. Through the use of high-efficiency motors, improved process control, automation, information processing, and robotics, we can help save the energy output equal to hundreds of coal-fired power plants.
So, those are the global trends that we feel will drive our markets today and for the foreseeable future. Now I would like to talk about the growth opportunities we see here in India and provide some insights into what Freescale is doing to address these.
Let’s start with the Automotive industry.
India’s automotive industry has reached a pivotal moment. The rise of ultra-low cost four-wheel vehicles is expected to grow the domestic market by more than one million units by 2013.  By 2012, India is expected to account for 20 percent of the increase in global car sales, surpassing the markets in Italy and Spain. At that point, India could become the leader in small-car growth. For India to become a major player in the global automotive market, a key challenge will be to engineer cars that meet stringent international emissions and safety standards. Freescale is uniquely positioned and strongly committed to helping develop the capabilities of the India automotive industry. We have partnered with the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers to help drive standards for component software and interconnectivity. As emerging automotive markets like India continue to gain momentum, vehicles will need cost-optimized solutions that incorporate more advanced chassis and safety systems, like airbags, tire pressure monitoring systems, and electronic stability control. Freescale offers a full range of system solutions that can scale to higher performance as needed.
Next, I want to talk about the growth of India’s networking infrastructure. Over the last few years, India’s telecommunications landscape has seen rapid growth. The 3G wireless spectrum will allow the transmission of voice, data and video at high speeds to mobile devices. Freescale is playing a key role in delivering the performance improvements and the cost reductions required to bring these next-generation networks to life.
We are the global leader in embedded communications processors.  The ever-increasing amounts of digital data are continuing to push the need for high-speed data processing. And along with this need for speed are the increasing expectations of reliability, security and the overall quality of service.
As an industry, we have been talking about 3G technology, but 3G is just now coming into widespread adoption, and with the latest innovations in Long-Term-Evolution, or LTE, we are seeing even more broadband capability becoming available.
Freescale has played a leadership role in this infrastructure growth with our RF, communications processor and DSP technology.
Our QorIQ multicore communications platforms are providing new levels of performance and low-power consumption. These products are all based on our e500 Power Architecture cores and are designed for 45-nanometer technology. Earlier this year we began sampling our first dual-core QorIQ communications processor. Given the positive feedback, we are accelerating the introduction of our eight-core QorIQ processor. This device is being combined with our new six-core DSP to provide a comprehensive solution for wireless infrastructure equipment for advanced 3G and 4G systems.
Together our Starcore DSPs and QorIQ-based microprocessors in 45 nanometer technology can help reduce the bill-of-material costs in a 10 MHz LTE base station by as much as 60 percent, while simultaneously reducing power consumption by 50 percent.
More than a century after the invention of the light bulb, today’s energy grid is little different from the one envisioned by Thomas Edison one-hundred-twenty-seven years ago.
The smart grid will play a critical role in the development of India’s economy in the future.
India is home to more than one-point-one billion people, making it the world’s second largest population. And by 2025, India’s urban population is expected to increase by 50 percent.
The Indian government is investing heavily in new power plants, and this includes renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. However to take advantage of these new sources, there will need to be a new delivery system, or smart grid, that can handle a generation mix with a high percentage of renewable energy sources.
Smart electric meters will be one of the first steps toward establishing two-way communication between the home and the utility companies. Freescale is an industry leader in smart meter technology. We offer low-power and low-cost solutions for single-phase and three-phase meter measurement. Our product portfolio includes microcontrollers with LCD drivers, and digital signal controllers for power modem functions, integrated ZigBee solutions for wireless communication, and accelerometers for antitamper security.
Once smart meters are deployed, building automation networks will help create an energy gateway to connect to home thermostats, smart appliances and other energy-intensive devices. Countries around the world are beginning to implement smart grid technologies to increase energy efficiency and incorporate renewable energy sources that will reduce our global carbon footprint.
There is a new category of handheld devices that deliver connectivity and convenience for an integrated multimedia experience. These include e-book digital readers that are transforming paper-bound media into connected infotainment devices, and they include the new smartbook Internet devices that are filling the gap between traditional notebook computing and smartphone communications.
These devices are driven by the common market characteristics of affordability, portability, Internet connectivity and all-day battery life. Freescale is delivering a common solution based on our i.MX multimedia application processors.
I am excited about the opportunities for growth in India, and I am constantly impressed by the innovation and ingenuity demonstrated by India’s talented engineers.
We are grateful to have the opportunity to share our product directions and tell you about the new and innovative solutions that we are bringing to the marketplace.
Let’s go make the world a smarter place.
Here’s the synopsis of the keynote address by Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor at FTF India 2009, at the Hotel Leela Palace Bangalore, on September 2, 2009.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor

This year we have 64 hours of technical training classes apart from extensive selection of Freescale and third-party demos in our Technology Lab.

Since we met last year, the industry has experienced the greatest economic challenges in generations that had an unprecedented global impact, and no region has been immune from its effects.

India, Asia’s third largest economy, seems to have been less affected by the global economic slowdown, primarily because India’s economy is driven largely by domestic demand and is not as dependent on exports. Interest rate cuts and a fiscal stimulus equivalent to 7 percent of India’s GDP helped the economy grow by almost 6 percent in the first quarter of this year, making it the world’s fastest growing economy after China.

From a global perspective, the markets are stabilizing, and we hope that the worst is over. However, in order to compete effectively, businesses will need to become more efficient and more agile, at least for the next few years.

One of the core purposes of this FTF is to demonstrate our efforts and progress in providing you with the best possible solutions to help develop products and systems that enable your companies to win.

On networking
In networking, multicore processors are essential to delivering the industry-leading levels of integration, performance and energy-efficiency required for next-generation communications systems.

However, testing and optimizing application software for systems based on embedded multicore processors can be a time-consuming task. To help solve this challenge, Freescale has introduced our VortiQa software, a production-ready, application-level software specifically for our multicore solutions to dramatically reduce the time needed by you, our customers, for your development tasks.

To enable rapid prototyping for our microcontrollers, we have introduced the Freescale Tower System, a modular development platform with reconfigurable hardware that enables developers to mix and match MCU and peripheral boards to save both money and months of development time through rapid prototyping and tool re-use. Read more…

Obama strikes right chords for science and technology!

January 20, 2009 Comments off

Finally, the USA has Barack Obama as its 44th president! There are bound to be lots of expectations from the new president of the United States.

Very interestingly, and aptly, Obama referred to science and technology in his inaugural speech. Surely, it is not a place for any US president to detail his policy, but from what everyone heard, the new President struck the right chords.

Savor some of these extracts from his inaugural speech:

“The state of the economy calls for action—bold and swift—and we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.”

“We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.”

“We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”

Wonderful! The US President clearly hinted at the role science will play during his tenure. Also, his suggestion of ‘harnessing the sun and the winds’ points to the growing importance of renewable energy, hybrid cars, and of course, solar photovoltaics.

I’ve indicated in an earlier blog post that Obama’s, “New Energy for America Plan” could have a significant impact on the US solar industry.

The plan’s provisions include:
• A federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires 10 percent of electricity consumed in the US to come from renewable sources by 2012.
• A $150 billion investment over 10 years in research, technologydemonstration and commercial deployment of clean energy technology.
• Extension of production tax credits for five years to encourage renewable energy production.
• A cap-and-trade system of carbon credits to provide an incentive for businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The focus on healthcare could see more attention on medical electronics — just my guess — and use it to provide affordable healthcare services.

I’d be very interested to see even more activity on hybrid cars. Closer to home we have had two great prototypes of hybrid/fuel-efficient cars last year — the Chimera, said to be India’s first plug-in hybrid car, and the Garuda.

As I am about to unwind for the day, I received a press release from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), USA, where the CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro congratulated Barack Obama on becoming the 44th President of the United States of America, saying: “On behalf of its 2,200 consumer technology member companies, CEA congratulates President Obama, our first digital president, on his inauguration.”

Indeed, Obama is the USA’s and the world’s first digital president! I’d go on to add that he’s the world’s first Web 2.0 president! For instance, the amount of activity on Facebook has been overwhelming. Oh, in case you happen to visit the White House web site, it’s brand new! The site says: “WhiteHouse.gov will be a central part of President Obama’s pledge to make his the most transparent and accountable administration in American history.”

Solar and wind solutions, micro fuel cells as energy alternatives

April 25, 2007 Comments off

Precisely! That’s the way the future of energy would likely be, should the industry manage to pull it off. These folks are really working hard to develop alternative energy sources to power a whole lot of equipment and devices.

The other day, we were discussing energy, when the subject of fuel cells cropped up. With electronics items and other equipment constantly undergoing design changes, thereby putting even more demand on battery power. Several alternative energy solutions are constantly being developed.

In fact, Motorola reports to have successfully conducted a year-long wind- and solar-powered cell site at its Swindon R&D facility in the UK. The trial concluded that an optimized solar and wind solution can generate enough power to drive a mid-sized base station (BTS) plus ancillaries. The next step would be a commercial customer trial using a six-carrier BTS cell site, being implemented in the first half of 2007.

I believe, nearly all mobile phone manufacturers, including Motorola, are also developing solar-powered handsets.

Coming back to power, the existing battery chemistries are constantly challenged to maintain performance levels or maybe, extend beyong the existing levels. While solar and wind solutions are among the options, fuel cells and even micro fuel cells are also in the fray.

Now, Frost & Sullivan’s report titled World Micro Fuel Cell Market for Industrial Portable Devices, finds that the market is likely to produce 75 million units by 2013, demonstrating a high market growth rate due to a ramp-up in commercialization. The micro fuel cell market for industrial portable devices has gained a boost with the significant growth of the heavy-duty device markets.

The report says that fuel cells for such devices should be able to operate safely for long periods under inclement weather and dusty conditions. They must be resistant to high shock and vibration, while surviving drops on hard surfaces as well.

The market is addressing the fuel cell standard concern by forming groups within prominent international standards organizations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies.

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