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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…

India poses huge opportunity for DLP: TI

November 14, 2013 Comments off

Kent Novak

Kent Novak

Texas Instruments has been a leader in DLP or digital light processing, a type of projector technology that uses a digital micromirror device. Kent Novak, senior VP, DLP Products, Texas Instruments (TI) mentioned that DLP became the no. 1 supplier of MEMS technology in 2004.

The DLP pico projectors business started in 2009. Now, pico is going into gaming systems, etc. In 2011, it went into the cinema industry. In India, out of 10,000 screens, close to 7,000 are now digital. In 2012, new DLP development kit was launched allowing developers to embed the DLP chip into non-traditional applications in new markets. In 2013, TI started working on DLP automotive chips.

He said: “DLP is an array of millions of digital micromirrors. We ship around 45 million devices. We see India as a growth opportunity for cimemas. In DLP front projection business, we have 60 percent share in India. Only 5 percent of Indian classrooms have projectors, making room for growth.”

In low power pico projection, TI has 95 percent market share in India for standalone pico projection. A phone with pico projection was launched in India with iBall at 35 lumen.

DLP technology is available in India in:
Industrial: Machine vision can improve quality control in the Indian manufacturing sector.
Medical: Intelligent illumination systems for cost effective blood analysis.
Safety: Cost effective, accurate chemical analysis of food and industrial.
Automotive: Infotainment and safety solution being qualified.

DLP in automotive displays has several applications, such as wide field of view head up display (HUD) – app available by 2016, free shape interactive active console – app available by 2017, and smart headlights. Some other features include:

* High image quality: consistent contrast, brightness over lamp.
* Full, deep, accurate cover over lifetime.
* Easily enlarges larger display areas.
* High power efficiency.
* DLP technology automatically reduces reflection.

New market opportunities
There are said to be several new opportunities for DLP. These are in:

Industrial: Machine vision, spectroscopy, interactive display, 3D printing, intelligent lighting, digital light exposure.
Infotainment: Mobile phones, tablets, camcorders, laptops, mobile projection, ultra slim TVs.
Gaming: Dual console gaming, interactive gaming, near eye display.
Digital signage: Interactive surface, storefront interactive, retail engagement.
Automotive: Head up display, interactive display, intelligent lighting.
Medical: Spectroscopy, 3D printing, intelligent lighting.

TI has DLP LightCrafter family of evaluation modules. It enables faster development cycles for end equipment requiring smalll form factor, lower cost and intelligent, high-speed pattern display. The DLP LightCrafter 4500 features the 0.45 WXGA chipset. The DLP chip can enable new and innovative intelligent display apps. If your solution uses, programs or senses light, DLP could be a fit.
DLP catalog offers programmable, ultra-high speed pattern. “DLP is light source agnostic. We use whatever’s most efficient for brightness,” he added.

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!

What’s happening with global semicon industry?

August 13, 2011 1 comment

1H11/1H10 top 20 semiconductor sales leaders. Source: IC Insight, USA.

1H11/1H10 top 20 semiconductor sales leaders. Source: IC Insights, USA.

IC Insights recently released the 1H-11 top 20 semicon sales leaders. No surprises here, with Intel, Samsung, TSMC, TI and Toshiba as the top five leaders in that order. In all, 10 of the top 20 suppliers outperformed the total global semiconductor industry 1H11/1H10 growth rate of 4 percent.

The fabless companies — notably, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and so on, have registered positive growths. However, if you really look carefully, a lot of the companies thereafter have registered negative growth for the period 1H-11 over 1H-10.

What’s surprising to notice is the fact that at least seven companies — Renesas, Hynix, Micron, AMD, Infineon, Elpida and NXP have registered negative growth! This, during a period when the semiconductor industry was said to be on the rebound?  Whatever the reasons, they are all in the red!

Now, we are not spent from discussing an industry turnaround, which is perhaps there!  Also, the forecast for 2H-11 isn’t something to go overboard. IC Insights expects the 2H11/1H11 semiconductor market to grow only 6 percent, that is, a full-year 2011 semiconductor industry growth rate of 5 percent.

Closer to home, as usual, there are no Indian firms in the global top 20 list. As things stand, they may not even make it to the list, at least, for quite a while. One hopes that this situation somehow changes. Wonder, how did the India Semiconductor Association (ISA)-Frost & Sullivan study come up with a figure of 28.3 percent growth in 2010! Perhaps, I am mistaken in my calculations somewhere!!

Congrats TSMC, for raising R&D spend! But, what about Indian firms?

January 18, 2011 Comments off

Source: IC Insights, USA.

Source: IC Insights, USA.

Congratulations to TSMC  for making it to the top 10 R&D spenders during 2010! If you look at the IC Insights’ table (see here), you’d understand what I am referring to!

First, the table itself. It has no major surprises, barring TSMC, which again is not really a surprise. As IC Insights itself says, “The industry is increasingly dependent on the success (and hopefully not, failure) of the foundries to continue advancing their IC manufacturing capabilities.”

TSMC has jumped up from 19th to the 10th place in the latest R&D spend. IC Insights expects that TSMC’s R&D spending in 2011 will grow another 20 percent, putting its budget over $1.1 billion for the year.

Otherwise, the top 9 in the list consist of Intel, Samsung, ST, Renesas, Broadcom, Toshiba, Qualcomm, TI and AMD — all big, strong players. However, TSMC, is the only foundry in that list, at the 10th spot.

Now, all of this makes great reading! Everyone connected with the global semiconductor industry is very well aware of TSMC’s strengths and capabilities.

The more TSMC grows in stature, the more will its capabilities grow. A lot of firms have already exited the manufacturing industry, leaving that to the likes of TSMC and others, and some more are due soon.

However, I am thoroughly disappointed by some folks who touch upon India missing out on the R&D story.  More of that in a bit!

First. where is the R&D strength of India? There are firms, based outside the country, managed by Indians, who seem to look down on the country. I even received an email from a gentleman, which says: ‘Without semiconductors, India cannot gain technological advantage. Semiconductor should be funded by the defense budget.” I am appalled!

Well, we are trying, aren’t we? There are names that come to the mind — Procsys, Ittiam, SoftJin, eInfochips, MindTree, and so on! Yes, I know they aren’t exactly world beaters. But hey, they are all doing their own thing reasonably well!

TI on green power and MCUs


Here’s the second part of the TI roundtable, held recently.

Green power and TI

Ramprasad Ananthaswamy, director, Power Management Products, Texas Instruments India, discussed the various aspects of green power. The notion of energy and power management has become central to every country’s foreign policy, including India. The current demand is 2.1 billion units, and rising, while only 1.85 billion units are currently available.

The power IC landscape is rapidly evolving – new technologies are being developed. Even well established mega-markets are changing process technologies that are used – driven, for example, by the integration of added sensor functionality.

Ananthaswamy highlighted TI’s role in green power. TI, along with leading energy harvesting vendors, are creating a complete ecosystem allowing designers to not only envision but also create a battery-less world. Also, TI’s LED lighting portfolio and worldwide technical support network are helping LED designers achieve their goals faster.

Think MCUs

Shailesh Thakurdesai, business development manager – Microcontrollers, touched upon the role of MCUs. For instance, are you aware that an average person touches approximately 300 microcontrollers in a day? Almost every electronic device that an average person touches through the course of the day features an MCU. MCUs are everywhere — in applications like personal healthcare and fitness, security, automotive safety & infotainment and consumer electronics.

From energy harvesting to aiding cutting-edge medical applications to bringing healthcare into homes, MCUs have helped to make a difference in the way people use electronics. In the energy segment, MCUs are used in:

* Street/ commercial LED lighting, home lighting etc.
* UPS, battery chargers and inverters.
* Energy harvesting, renewable energy generation, solar micro inverters etc.
* Metering – energy, water, gas.
* MCUs help arm modern-day electronics with longer battery life, portability and functionality.

In healthcare, it can be used for applications like personal healthcare and fitness equipment, portable healthcare devices like digital thermometers, handheld ultrasound, blood pressure meters, etc. It is also used in consumer electronics like mobile phones, computers, TVs, toys, etc. Read more…

Industry reactions on National Solar Mission (NSM)

November 25, 2009 6 comments

Observations by India’s semiconductor and solar industry on the National Solar Mission (NSM).

Dr. Biswadip (Bobby) Mitra, president and managing director, Texas Instruments India, Bangalore.Dr. Biswadip (Bobby) Mitra, president and managing director, Texas Instruments India, Bangalore.
India is blessed with sunlight for most part of the year and is in a unique position to create multiple opportunities in the solar energy arena.

We have a dedicated Ministry of Renewable Energy (MNRE) and its financial arm IREDA to channelize the potential of solar energy. We also have abundant talent spanning across solar thermal, electronic systems and semiconductors.

India can therefore play a pivotal role in taking this fledgling industry to a significant position. The commitment of the Indian leadership to promote green technologies is commendable and Texas Instruments will support any endeavor towards expanding and enhancing this ecosystem.

Semiconductors and electronics can add high value in developing the solar energy infrastructure. Texas Instruments believes this is a step in the right direction that would spur many new innovations and we seek to participate actively in this exciting journey.

Ms Shilpa Urhekar, Head-Production, GreenBrilliance Energy Pvt Ltd, Baroda.
The NSM does not talk money apart from mentioning that funding for the ambitious targets would be from budgetary support and multilateral mechanism under the UN system.

The policy has suggested a renewable purchase obligation (RPO) on states that could start with 0.25 percent of their power off take in Phase I by 2013 and going up to 3 percent by 2022. This, I think, is going to be the main driver for the growth of grid solar power.

State utilities will have to purchase this power from the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), the designated nodal agency by the Ministry of Power (MoP), for entering into a power purchase agreement (PPA), of 25 years.

The idea of introducing power trading instrument of REC is also an ambitious plan. The mechanism which will be devised for its implementation remains to be seen though.

The good news is that, with this booster to the mainstream industry, there would be huge employment generation.

I will add more comments, as I receive those!

 

 

 

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