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Round-up 2012: Best of electronics, semiconductors and solar

December 31, 2012 2 comments

Friends, here is the round-up of 2012, where the best of electronics, semiconductors and solar PV are presented. Best wishes for a very happy and prosperous new year! 🙂

Also, a word on the horrendous Delhi rape that has shaken up India. I am ashamed to be a man and a part of India’s society. My family and I are extremely sorry that the brave girl is no more! May her soul rest in peace. May God deliver justice, and quickly!

DECEMBER 2012
Opportunities in turbulent PV equipment market

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

Next wave of design challenges, and future growth of EDA: Dr. Wally Rhines

Global medical image sensors market to grow 64 percent by 2017

Status of power semiconductor devices industry

NOVEMBER 2012
Global solar PV industry to remain under pressure in 2013!

Dr. Wally Rhines on global semiconductor industry outlook 2013

Focus on monolithic 3D-ICs paradigm shift for semicon industry

Xilinx announces 20nm portfolio strategy

Elliptic intros world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology!

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Analog Devices

IMEC’s 450mm R&D initiative for nanoelectronics ecosystem

OCTOBER 2012
III-V high mobility semiconductors for advanced CMOS apps

Yet another electronics policy for India?

IEF 2012: Turning recession into opportunity!

Global semicon sales to drop 1.7 percent in 2012?

Virtual prototyping ready for masses

MEMS to be $21 billion market by 2017: Yole

TSMC on 450mm transition: Lithography key!

SEPTEMBER 2012
Cadence Allegro 16.6 accelerates timing closure

Dr. Wally Rhines on global EDA industry

Solarcon India 2012: Solar industry in third wave!

AUGUST 2012
Apple wins big vs. Samsung in patent war!

Can being fabless and M-SIPS take India to top?

JULY 2012
Is Europe ready for 450mm fabs?

APRIL 2012
Xilinx intros Vivado Design Suite

MARCH 2012
Cadence releases latest Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow

WLCSP market and industrial trends

FEBRUARY 2012
Top 10 semiconductor growth drivers: Intersil

Ingredients for successful fabless Indian semiconductor industry: Dr. Wally Rhines

Tariffs will slow growth in domestic demand for PV systems: The Brattle Group

Wireless leads in global semicon spends!

JANUARY 2012
India to allow imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells? Or, is it beaten?

LG intros Optimus Sol E730 smartphone in India


LG has introduced the Optimus Sol E730 smartphone in India. Packed with loads of features the phone runs on the Android OS, v2.3.4 (Gingerbread), and uses a Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor. It supports GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, as well as HSDPA 900/2100 MHz. Measuring a sleek 122.5×62.5×9.8mm, it weighs about 110g. The ultra AMOLED capacitive touchscreen supports 256K colors. The panel is 480 x 800 pixels and 3.8 inches (~246 ppi pixel density).

LG Optimus Sol E730.

LG Optimus Sol E730.

Some other significant features include: Corning Gorilla Glass protection, card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB memory included, with internal memory worth 1 GB storage, 2 GB ROM and 512 MB RAM. For data, it uses GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32-48 kbps amd EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps. Speed offered by the LG Optimus Sol E730 include HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2.9 Mbps. For WLAN users, there is support for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, etc.

The phone comes with a 5MP camera, which however, pales, (as would many other released and to be launched mobile smartphones) when compared to the recently announced Nokia 808 PureView that has 41MP sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology.

Some of the camera features in the LG Optimus Sol E730 include geo-tagging and face detection. Again, videos can be made using the 720p@30fps capability, which otherwise dwarfs against the Nokia 808 PureView’s full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world’s first use of Nokia Rich Recording.

Well, this phone too does not have a stylus! Actually, all or most of the Android OS based smartphones are coming without the stylus, and one wonders why! The phone uses a standard Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery, with stand-by time of up to 100 hours and talk time up to 4 hours.

As for the applications or apps, they are all standard now on smartphones! Even the LG Optimus Sol E730 is packed with loads! Besides the regular ones — such as Alarm/Clock, Browser, Camera, Contacts, E-mail, Facebook, FM Radio, GMail, Google Search, Maps, Messaging, Music, News and Weather, there are some new ones as well. For instance, SmartShare alllows you to play and share content from any wireless device via this mobile phone. It requires Wi-Fi settings to operate.

The LG Optimus Sol was priced at Rs. 19,000 at the time of release.

Wireless leads in global semicon spends!

February 1, 2012 2 comments

Interesting, but not surprising! Wireless is now leading in the global semiconductor spends!! I was having a chat with a Frost & Sullivan executive this morning, and he mentioned telecom. Of course, that’s the key driver!!

According to IHS iSuppli, wireless has now displaced computers as the top semiconductor spending area for OEMs in 2011. And, this trend may continue in 2012, going by early indications. Noteworthy in the wireless march has been the tremendous success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

As per IHS iSuppli, the global spending by the world’s top OEMs on microchips for wireless products was $58.6 billion in 2011, up 14.5 percent from $51.2 billion in 2010. This has led to wireless leading computers as the world’s largest OEM semiconductor spending segment in 2011. Notably, tablets and mobile handsets have led the way!

With many more companies developing smartphones and tablets, this trend does not appear to buck any time soon. It is further expected that the wireless segment will continue to generate the highest growth over the next two years. Smartphones are definitely a part of this, as are tablets.

Back in late 2000, at the ITU World Telecom in Hong Kong, the first mobile phones with Internet browsing were being touted. As were 3G and Bluetooth! Those were the days when ‘WAP is CRAP’ made more headlines and bore the brunt of many ‘telecom jokes’. Why, in early 2002, I even wrote an article for Electronics Business Manufacturing Asia (EBN Asia), on Bluetooth,  which was still trying to find its bearings. I can’t locate that article anymore, but some of the comments in that article are worth remembering. One comment was whether Bluetooth and WiFi could co-exist!

One magazine had said, “The future of Bluetooth wireless technology is becoming decidedly mixed as proponents and analysts continue to question not only how soon the short-range technology will take off, but also whether the technology is fundamentally sound.”

Thankfully, all of those days are behind us! Today, Bluetooth is firmly entrentched, as is WiFi. And, on the mobile phone!!

In 2003, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) unveiled a new ‘five-minute ready’ program created to challenge and guide Bluetooth product developers and manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region to deliver devices that give consumers a “five-minute out-of-the-box experience.” I had met up with Anders Edlund, marketing director for Bluetooth SIG in Singapore, and had a clear understanding of the technology. Today, I believe, the Bluetooth SIG is advancing standardization of active 3D glasses using Bluetooth!

Trends to watch @ CES!


CES 2012 is just around the corner! Let us look at some trends.

First, according to Ovum,  the ultrabook is shaping up to be a CES 2012 show stopper. It is expected that 20-40 devices will be introduced. There will be more of mobile connecrted devices, which are likely to be more app friendly, have brighter screens and offer intuitive user interfaces. TV manufacturers are expected to  demonstrate capabilities of “smart” TVs.

According to Accenture, another big story is likely to be the TV market. The market is challenged by the fact that consumers are planning to buy fewer TVs next year, according to Accenture’s new survey of 10,000 consumers in 10 countries.

Consumers are also watching TV on TV screens less often, and say they are especially disinclined to buy TV sets until prices decline. The battle is on for consumers eyeballs and attention among the multitude of screens such as desktop and laptop PCs, smartphones and tablets. There will be a push to find more innovative ways to make TV content on TV screens more compelling involving cloud and online services.

Accenture also believes ultrabooks will be a big story at CES 2012. This is a promising product category because these are highly powerful yet thin and portable computers. Tablets and smartphone markets are continuing to grow, but the ultrabook market poses a threat to both.

Among the biggies, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd launched the Samsung AdHub advertising platform for Samsung Smart TV platform. Through the newly-announced AdHub service, brands can deliver 3D, video and interactive advertisements into the living room via Samsung’s market-leading Smart TVs. China’s Haier will display connected televisions as well as key new design features and introduce the expanded line of audio solutions.

Elsewhere, dbx-tv announced Total Cal, an audio measurement and calibration tool that custom-optimizes sound quality from TVs, regardless of speaker size or price point.

VoiceBox Technologies Inc. has entered into a strategic agreement with Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) USA, Inc. to develop innovative in-car voice products and capabilities. Quantenna Communications will showcase 802.11n MIMO technology optimized for service providers and 802.11ac chipset for retail applications. Alereon Inc. is demonstrating high-speed wireless connectivity from Android-based smartphones and tablets to integrated wireless monitors/docks as well as HDTVs.

The Mobile500 Alliance has unveiled a breakthrough end-to-end solution that will enable its member broadcasters to build new revenue streams through Mobile DTV (MDTV). The goal is to make the solution available to Alliance member companies after beta launch and evaluation in Seattle, USA.

Two Bosch Group companies, Bosch Sensortec and Akustica, will be jointly showcasing their consumer MEMS products. While, Qualcomm Innovation Center Inc. (QuIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, is expected to launch the Snapdragon GameCommand application to the Android market on January 10, 2012, the opening day of the CES.

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) hosts an OMAP4470 processor-based tablet running on a pre-release version of Windows 8 at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, demonstrating how the latest OMAP 4 platform distinctly supports Microsoft’s new computing experience, Windows 8, that reimagines Windows. And, Sensible Vision, the leading supplier of face authentication software, will demonstrate its face recognition app for iOS and Android mobile devices at the CES 2012 Wall of Apps. FastAccess Anywhere securely replaces passwords with a face to quickly and conveniently log in to apps and web sites on mobile devices.

Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. (TAEC), will be demonstrating the latest additions to its lineup of flash memory offerings – the TransMemory-EX series of USB flash memory products. The new drives are compliant with the new USB 3.0 standards – known as Super Speed USB. Initial storage capacities include a 32GB model and a 64GB model.

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. and The Shanghai Nutshell Electronic Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of Shanda Networking Co. Ltd, China’s largest interactive digital content provider, announced the first e-reader featuring mirasol display technology, the Bambook Sunflower, to be commercially available in China in the coming weeks.

The latest figures from GfK Digital World, in partnership with Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), reveal global spending on consumer technology devices will surpass $1 trillion in 2012 for the first time, increasing by 5 percent over 2011’s figure of $993 billion.

These are just a few of the multiple trends one can expect at this year’s CES!

Round-up 2011: Best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom

December 30, 2011 1 comment

Here’s the best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom for the year 2011. Enjoy! 😉

ELECTRONICS
M/H can truly deliver ‘real TV’ experience!

Cisco’s borderless networks architecture help enterprises overcome security challenges

Symantec releases latest Intelligence Report!

Norton cybercrime report 2011: Exposing the true scale!

Cloud deployment trends in APAC: IDC

Very fitting finale to Harry Potter!

XConnect’s VIE set to make video calls as easy as voice calls!

Vision technology can add valuable capabilities to electronic products: Jeff Bier, EVA

Tablets likely to transform ICT industry landscape: Computex 2011

Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) is born!

Kotura leads the way in silicon photonics!

Aftermath of Japanese earthquake: Implications for global electronics industry!

Disruptions to global electronics supply chain following Japan’s quake!

Japanese quake and tsunami — too devastating to watch on TV!

What’s with attack toolkits and malicious websites?

SOLAR/PV
Global solar PV industry likely to be 22 GW in 2012!

HCPV on way to utility market!

Solar PV industry recommended to stay optimistic; US govt. supports India’s clean energy initiative!

Solarcon India 2011 begins with record exhibitors

PV inverter — innovations and market trends

Solar installations: How long will boom last?

Lessons to learn from Solyndra debacle!

Solar power becoming increasingly affordable: Dr. Charlie Gay

What’s happening with Indian solar/PV industry?

TELECOM
LogMeIn resolving IT challenges due to enterprise mobility!

Microsoft launches developer program for Windows Phone

Lava Mobiles launches classy S12 smartphone!

Steve Jobs: Master of the game!

Telesphere Videoconnect: Videoconferencing in the cloud!

Ether 1.3.1 phone adaptive antenna solution integrates with smartphones!

Wavion offers gamer changer in Wi-Fi offloading

Celebrating the World IPv6 Day!

Ether 1.3.1 phone adaptive antenna solution integrates with smartphones!

July 14, 2011 Comments off

San Diego, USA based Ethertronics Inc., enabling innovative antenna and RF solutions to deliver the best connected experience, has launched Ether 1.3.1, a phone adaptive antenna solution. Ready for integration with smartphones or other classes of phones, the Ether 1.3.1 can realize design benefits such as 50 percent reduction in antenna volume, yet maintain compliant performance.

Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ethertronics.

Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ethertronics.

According to Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ether 1.3.1 allows an antenna system to dynamically tune itself for optimum performance.  Phone form factors are constantly changing throughout the design cycle.

“Current solutions, using passive antennas, require the antenna to be re-tuned with each change to the phone form factor, lengthening the time to market. Ether 1.3.1’s advanced active circuitry is able to adapt to changes in the form factor, reducing the need for lengthy antenna redesigns.”

In addition, Ether 1.3.1 can be designed to take up less volume than other antennas (up to a 50-percent reduction), providing more space for other components, and yet, still remain specification compliant.

Is this solution only suitable for smartphones then? Desclos said that Ether 1.3.1 is not limited to just smartphones.  It can be integrated into all tiers of devices such as feature phones and tablets supporting 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile device designs. Ether 1.3.1 is said to be ready for commercial deployment. Several design references have been accomplished to date. Products from OEMs will be announced in the future.

It is said that Ether 1.3.1 allows more freedom in antenna structure design. Elaborating, Desclos said: “Ether 1.3.1 allows more freedom in antenna structure design in a few core areas: size, placement and ability to meet performance specifications. Through the use of active impedance matching techniques, smaller volume antennas can be achieved.”

This is especially important as phone form factors shrink, while more components are added to phones for increased functionality (cameras, GPS, etc.). Ether 1.3.1 can additionally be used to achieve compliance as the antenna system can be dynamically tuned for known challenge areas in specification compliance.

Finally, how can the Ether 1.3.1 solution be tuned for tougher challenges by toning down the antenna size?

Typically, when the antenna’s size is decreased, performance suffers since there is less volume area to cover the required bandwidth. The beauty of active impedance matching is that the technique allows for the antenna volume to be reduced by as much as 50 percent and still maintain compliant performance. As a result, active impedance matching allows for a wide range of designs, since the technique is applicable to a broad range of form factors.

Infineon’s wireless strategy focuses on low cost solutions and smartphones

July 2, 2010 Comments off

Fairly recently, thanks to the great efforts of Infineon’s Abhinav Alok, I was able to meet up with Dr Matthias Ludwig, Head – Wireless for APAC and Infineon Korea and Peter Schaefer, VP & GM, Head – Microcontrollers, Infineon.

However, post the meeting, to my horror, I misplaced my notes and only managed to locate them last week. My apologies to Infineon for being late with this blog post.

I was able to discuss Infineon’s wireless strategy with Dr Ludwig and also managed a peek at Infineon’s range of microcontrollers during my discussion with Peter Schaefer. First, let’s have a look at the company’s wireless strategy.

Dr Matthias Ludwig said: “We are good in RF and baseband. There are about 1.5 billion RF transceivers out there globally, from Infineon.” He added that one third of the market falls in the low cost mobile phone segment.

Infineon’s wireless strategy is two fold — low cost solutions and the smartphone platform — where the company is focusing on the modem and the RF side, respectively. Infineon’s Android based smartphone platform uses an ARM 11 baseband. “Customers can come up with their own application processor,” Dr Ludwig said. “Our strategy gives us a lot of flexibility.”

He mentioned that Infineon receives a lot of requests from customers for smartphones at $100 solutions. “We believe that we can manage our single core Android platform in the $100 segment.”

Thanks to Dr Ludwig, I had a first hand experience of some of the smartphones that Infineon is currently working on. Actually, think about it! A $100 dollar (and even sub $100) smartphone may be just the thing Indians would love to have.

As for Infineon’s India strategy — part of the focus is on low cost. “We know that there is tough competition out there,” noted Dr. Ludwig. One other aspect that Infineon is focusing on is: how to develop and build an ecosystem in the country.

Of course, Infineon is also looking beyond the Indian market when it is developing solutions. In that respect, Dr Ludwig added that one of Infineon’s focus is to find the sweet spots that are not only of interest to India. “There is a certain drive to have low end products. Safety and reliability of the products are also important,” he concluded.

I will add a separate post on the conversation with Peter Schaefer, VP & GM, Head Microcontrollers, Infineon.

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