Electronics trends for 2019

Electronics technology and market trends for 2019:

Markets: The Future of the Semiconductor Industry is Bright. Demand is rising for AI and automotive, flat for mobile phones, with trade uncertainty looming over everything. Foundries see growth and new issues in 2019. WSTS industry forecast projects annual global market growth of 2.6 percent in 2019.

Politics: Superpower politics may start to unravel semiconductor industry. China – USA market war is going on or starting. Trade Disputes Increase Market Uncertainty. The need to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of semiconductors is perplexing and frequently confusing. For example GoPro says it will move production of US-bound cameras out of China by summer 2019 due to fear of future tariffs, as US-China trade war escalates.

More-Than-Moore Markets: Software developers have come to expect ever-growing compute and memory resources, but the CPU no longer can deliver the kinds of performance benefits that scaling used to provide. CPUs no longer deliver the same kind of of performance improvements as in the past, raising questions across the industry about what comes next. The growth in processing power delivered by a single CPU core began stalling out at the beginning of the decade. The escalating costs of following Moore’s Law have shifted the semiconductor industry’s focus to More-than-Moore (MtM) technologies, where analog/mixed-signal, RF, MEMS, image sensing, power or other technologies may be integrated with CMOS in a variety of planar, 2.5D and 3D architecturesNew Metrology and Inspection Technologies Needed for More-than-Moore Markets. Maximum flexibility is no longer the reliable path to product success. With scaling no longer happening for many companies, competitiveness now comes from better design, better performance and lower power.

Memory: DRAM fastest growing market in four of past six years, demonstrating very cyclical market. For the last two years, DRAMs have been sold more than any other semiconductors and market has been strongly growing. DRAM growth ends in 2019. New memory technologies like GDDR6 and HBM2 impacts system design. By 2018, embedded memory has become pervasive in a system-on-chip (SoC) and the area devoted to memory has risen to 72% and Semico Research predicts that this will rise to 79% by 2021.

AI: AI/ML/DL is now cropping up everywhere, and that trend shows no sign of abatement. AI and machine learning were considered distant future technologies until a few years ago, but now AI is suddenly pushed into the mainstream. ML support is showing up at all levels. The almost ubiquitous rollout of AI and its offshoots—machine learning, deep learning, neural nets of all types—will require significantly more processing power as the amount of data that needs to be processed continues to grow by orders of magnitude. What isn’t clear yet is how that will affect semiconductor manufacturing or how quickly that might happen. Your Next SoC Will Probably Include AI Acceleration. China has never had a real chip industry, but in making specialized AI chips, though, it’s got a head start. Today, selling custom chips for artificial intelligence is still a small business – the current market at $2.5 billion which is one half of one percent of the estimated value of the 2018 global semiconductor market). It could be worth $20 billion in 2021.

Heterogeneous processing: It used to be that the only processing device was an x86. Now almost all data centers have added both FPGA and GPU processors in various configurationsThis heterogeneous approach is particularly apparent in AI/ML designs. This means that processors are no longer the one-size-fits-all answer for processing which means faster rate of innovation. Addition of multiple processing elements and memories is causing design challenges. System-on-chip (SoC) solutions continue to get more complex as more specialized hardware is added to optimize the SoC for new applications. Designers today are faced by a “whole system” problem: a problem of systemic complexity. Making Sure A Heterogeneous Design Will Work is hard. While existing tools still work well enough, no one has yet figured out the most efficient way to use them in a variety of new applications. A growing push toward more heterogeneity and customization in chip design is creating havoc across the global supply chain.

Prototyping: Faster innovation is what every engineering team is striving for. The speed of progress, however, can be hindered by how fast you can iterate through a prototyping cycle. Electronics prototyping is constrained by PCB manufacturing which is often opaque, slow and error prone.

Equipment: After a period of record growth, the semiconductor equipment industry is facing a slowdown in 2019, in addition to several technical challenges that still need to be resolved. Both DRAM and NAND vendors are expected to push out their equipment orders. On the positive side, foundry vendors continue to ramp up their 7nm processes, propelling equipment orders in the logic space. Still, the demand for leading-edge and mature tools can’t make up for the downturn in memory. Total fab equipment spending in 2019 is projected to drop 8 percent.

Advanced nodes: Intel plans to ship products based on 10nm in the second half of 2019. TSMC and Samsung are ramping up 7nm, which is equivalent to Intel’s 10nm. 7 nm is important node. It’s becoming harder to prepare a wafer at advanced nodes. There are considerable challenges of planarizing a thin film on a wafer for etch and optical control at 7nm and beyond. Intel is working on 7nm and 5nm.

MEMS: Small but mighty, micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) were the driving force behind many of the most surprising devices at this year’s CES. MEMS are tiny machines made of components between 1 and 100 micrometers in size Event-driven MEMS sensors consume no power while standing by. A triggering mechanical or thermal event closes a contact within the sensor to activate its circuitry and telemetry. Compared to traditional RF relays, RF MEMS switch technology can provide a relay replacement solution that is smaller, faster, more reliable, and use less power than conventional electromechanical relays.

Packaging: Although IC packaging industry braces for slower growth in 2019, advanced packaging remains a bright spot. Intel has demonstrated a new Foveros 3D ‘stacked’ packaging technology for face-to-face stacking of logic. Foveros extends the 3D packaging concept to include high-performance logic such as CPU, graphics, and AI processors.

Printed electronics: Printing electronics using conductive ink rather than lithography is starting to move out of the research phase, with chipmakers now looking at how to commercialize this technology across a broad range of sensor applications.

Sensors: New sensors could vastly extend the reach of electronics, creating new markets and new opportunities within existing markets. The sensors market be segmented on the basis of technology, named as CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor), MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System), NEMS (Nano Electromechanical System) and others. It is expected to increase due to increasing adoption of sensors in automotive sector, escalating use of sensors in industrial products, strong demand for sensors in smart home and building applications, growing adoption of sensors in healthcare equipments, etc. Yet the market faces some challenges such as declining personal computers (PCs) shipments.

EDA: Digital circuit design is largely automated today, but most analog components still are designed manually. Analog electronics design is needed very much today, especially in IoT applications where same chips need to have both analogue and digital functionality. As analog design grows increasingly complex and error-prone, design teams and tool vendors are focusing on how to automate as much of the design of analog circuits as possible. We need new ways to find defects in multi-technology devices.

Power consumption: Today, information and communication technologies globally consume 8% of electricity and doubles every year. New low power technologies are needed in both hardware and software.

2019 Will Be the Year of Open Source from software and even hardware. It seems that it is the time for RISC-V to rise to the challenge. It is possible that there is a bright future for RISC-V, as the biggest concern isn’t even choosing “the core” as designers today are faced by a “whole system” problem. Open hardware/software platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are inresingly important in many applications.

Regulations: More restrictive regulations like those from EU’s REACH are pushing companies to produce products free from halogens and phthalate.

Compliance: The IEC 62368-1 standard represents an important transition for designers of ICT and audio-visual equipment because it is set to supersede the outgoing IEC 60950-1 and IEC 60065 electrical safety standards. It applies to to the end systems and also to components such as power supplies. The implementation date is by the December 2020.

155 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    TSMC gaining foundry steam from China IC design houses
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190322PD203.html

    TSMC has seen a significant pickup in foundry demand for AI, IoT and 5G chips from China’s IC design sector and global tech firms seeking to develop chips on their own, according to industry sources.

    The sources said that the ratio of China customers seeking TSMC’s foundry support at 7nm node and under has been rising steadily as the Chinese government is offering handsome incentives to encourage domestic players to upgrade chip design, R&D and fabrication capabilities, with TSMC deemed their only choice that can help them work out innovative chip solutions with advanced fabrication and packaging technologies.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EUV Arrives, But More Issues Ahead
    https://semiengineering.com/euv-finally-arrives-now-what/

    Improvement still needed for uptime, defectivity, line edge roughness and process flows.

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Making Chip Packaging Simpler
    https://semiengineering.com/making-chip-packaging-simpler/

    The promise of advanced packaging is being able to integrate heterogeneous chips, but a lot of work is needed to make that happen.

    Packaging is emerging as one of the most critical elements in semiconductor design, but it’s also proving difficult to master both technically and economically.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Single Vs. Multi-Patterning EUV
    Why this choice isn’t as obvious as it might look.
    https://semiengineering.com/single-vs-multi-patterning-euv/

    Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography finally is moving into production, but foundry customers now must decide whether to implement their designs using EUV-based single patterning at 7nm, or whether to wait and instead deploy EUV multiple patterning at 5nm.

    Each patterning scheme has unique challenges, making that decision more difficult than it might appear. Targeted for 7nm, single patterning creates patterns on devices with tight pitches using a single EUV lithographic exposure, but with today’s resists this is a relatively slow operation. It also can cause unwanted random or stochastic defects in patterns, which affect yield. In addition, companies working at the most advanced nodes are scrutinizing where to invest their development resources because 5nm processes already are well underway.

    At 5nm, double patterning will be required on the critical layers even with EUV.

    While chipmakers have extended traditional 193nm lithography and multi-patterning to 10/7nm, it’s too difficult and expensive to push beyond that node for the most complex features without using EUV. 7nm is the crossover point, and there is still debate about which approach to use.

    So far, both Samsung and TSMC are ramping EUV at 7nm. Intel also is developing EUV at its version of 7nm, which is roughly equal to Samsung’s and TSMC’s 5nm. Still, the technology is still considered relatively immature and unproven. For this and other reasons, one foundry customer, Apple, will adopt EUV at “5nm next year, not 7nm this year,” said Sebastian Hou, an analyst at CLSA. “At the end of the day, it comes down to economics. Even if EUV is technically ready but yield/performance are not there, customers have less incentive to migrate.”

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EUV Arrives, But More Issues Ahead
    https://semiengineering.com/euv-finally-arrives-now-what/

    Improvement still needed for uptime, defectivity, line edge roughness and process flows.

    EUV has arrived. After decades of development and billions of dollars of investment, EUV lithography is taking center stage at the world’s leading fabs.

    More than 20 years after ASML’s extreme ultraviolet lithography research program began, and nearly a decade after its first pre-production exposure tools, the company expects to deliver 30 EUV exposure systems in 2019. That is nearly double the installed base for this technology, and it moves the needle forward for device scaling.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SMIC Rift: Rare Peek into China IC Industry
    6 Trends Brewing in China’s Semiconductor Industry
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1334475

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Recovery to take place in non-memory IC market starting 2Q19, says TSMC chairman
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190325PD210.html%20

    The overall semiconductor market had a slow start in 2019, due mainly to sluggish smartphone sales. Nevertheless, the availability of forthcoming 5G devices is definitely a positive sign for semiconductors, Liu said.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Power Efficiency Takes Center Stage at APEC
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/power/power-efficiency-takes-center-stage-apec?NL=ED-003&Issue=ED-003_20190327_ED-003_258&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=24419&utm_medium=email&elq2=70067eb9fada48b2bb45e11790e913e8

    When it comes to reducing the size and increasing the efficiency of power components, products introduced at this year’s Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) last week demonstrate that there are many ways to skin the cat.

    Power Integrations, known for its energy-efficient power conversion products, announced its latest chipset for TV and monitor display power supplies. Under pressure to meet the new Energy Star specification taking effect in July of this year, manufacturers are looking for solutions and this chipset, which Power Integrations says boosts overall power efficiency, may fill the bill. It replaces the ACDC and DCDC converters with a single-stage, flyback technology.

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  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    U.S. Companies Continue to Represent Largest Share of Fabless IC Sales
    http://www.icinsights.com/news/bulletins/US-Companies-Continue-To-Represent-Largest-Share-Of-Fabless-IC-Sales/

    Since 2010, the largest fabless IC marketshare increase has come from the Chinese suppliers, which held a 13% share last year as compared to only 5% in 2010. In 2018, four of the top five fastest growing fabless IC companies (with greater than $200 million in sales) were Chinese companies (BitMain, ISSI, Allwinner, and HiSilicon). However, when excluding the internal transfers of HiSilicon (over 90% of its sales go to its parent company Huawei), ZTE, and Datang, the Chinese share of the fabless company IC sales drops by about half to 7%.

    European companies held only 2% of the fabless IC company marketshare in 2018 as compared to 4% in 2010. This loss of share was partly due to the acquisition of U.K.-based CSR, the second-largest European fabless IC supplier, by U.S.-based Qualcomm in 1Q15 and the purchase of Germany-based Lantiq, the third-largest European fabless IC supplier, by U.S.-based Intel in 2Q15. These acquisitions left U.K.-based Dialog ($1.44 billion in sales in 2018) and Norway-based Nordic ($271 million in sales in 2018) as the only Europe-headquartered fabless IC suppliers in the top 50-company ranking last year.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Advanced packaging to generate nearly US$3 billion in revenues in 2019, says TSMC chairman
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190326PD206.html%20

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ST Bets Future on Silicon Carbide
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334505

    STMicroelectronics is betting big on silicon carbide (SiC) as a critical part of its strategy and revenues, as it outlined at its Catania, Italy, plant last week. In all the company’s recent quarterly and annual results briefings, CEO Jean-Marc Chery has consistently stated his intent to capture 30% of the SiC market, projected to be a $3.7 billion market by 2025.

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  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    http://www.etn.fi/index.php/13-news/9290-virtuaaliantenni-nopeuttaa-rf-suunnittelua

    NI on lisännyt AWR-suunnittelutyökaluihinsa kirjaston, josta löytyy laaja valikoima Fractus Antennasin virtuaalisia antennimalleja.

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    China’s Share of Fabless Market Continues to Grow
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334515

    Fabless chip companies based in China accounted for 13% of the world’s $109.4 billion in 2018 IC sales, up from just 5% in 2010, according to market research firm IC Insights. In addition, the firm found that four of the fastest growing fabless chip vendors in 2018 were Chinese — BitMain, ISSI, Allwinner and HiSilicon.

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Use a Reverse-Wired LED for Cooling…Seriously
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/analog/use-reverse-wired-led-cooling-seriously?NL=ED-003&Issue=ED-003_20190401_ED-003_438&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=24510&utm_medium=email&elq2=b143e7b8817f4d4d94da3e5cc9b419a4

    This is not an April Fool’s joke. Based on established physics principles, researchers demonstrated that a reverse-biased IR LED can absorb heat from an object located just nanometers across from it.

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why 12-inch fabs are better for power components: Q&A with Bing Xue, AOS SVP of global sales
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190321PD206.html

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chiplet Effort Plays First Proposals
    Open source initiative outlines interfaces and issues
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334493&_mc=RSS_EET_EDT

    A group claiming members from 53 companies held its first workshop on creating an open standard for chiplets for accelerators. They aim to enable a low-cost alternative to SoCs at a time when the pace of advancing semiconductors is slowing.

    The Open Domain-Specific Architecture (ODSA) group is working under the umbrella of the Open Compute Project, founded by Facebook, that recently announced its first open-source silicon project. It faces steep technical and business hurdles getting market traction, and it’s not yet clear whether it will get the broad participation its ambitions require.

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    On Semiconductor Bets $1 Billion in Communications Chip Deal
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/analog/semiconductor-bets-1-billion-communications-chip-deal?NL=ED-003&Issue=ED-003_20190329_ED-003_323&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2_b&utm_rid=CPG05000002750211&utm_campaign=24478&utm_medium=email&elq2=f9d46f07e08a432d8e6d1b799462ab6c

    On Semiconductor, one of the bigger players in analog and power semiconductors, said it would pay more than $1 billion to buy Quantenna Communications, which sells WiFi chips and software used in routers and other electronic devices.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DRAM Market to Shrink Substantially in 2019, IHS Markit Reveals
    https://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/dram-market-shrink-substantially-2019-ihs-markit-reveals

    Recent concerns over market conditions, coupled with a sharp downturn in average selling prices, will lead the DRAM market to reach just $77 billion in 2019 – a 22 percent year-over-year decline. Falling prices and weak demand will likely continue through the third quarter (Q3) of 2019, according to IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO).

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  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Toshiba – New adapter for unidirectional optical modules
    https://www.electropages.com/2019/04/toshiba-adapter-unidirectional-optical-modules/?utm_campaign=2019-04-02-Electropages&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=article&utm_content=Toshiba+-+New+adapter+for+unidirectional+optical+modules

    The new TOCA1300 enables a fibre optic transmitting module (such as the company’s TOTX1350(F)) to be connected directly to a compatible fibre optic receiving module, thereby enabling the transmission of data across short distances.

    In systems where a longer isolation distance is demanded than is feasible with a photocoupler then the device provides a simple, easy-to-use solution.

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Global Semiconductor Sales Decrease 7.3 Percent Month-to-Month in February
    https://www.semiconductors.org/global-semiconductor-sales-decrease-7-3-percent-month-to-month-in-february/

    “Global semiconductor sales fell across the board in February, with all major product categories experiencing drops on a year-to-year and month-to-month basis,” said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO. “Sales were also down across all major regional markets, as the global industry continues to endure a period of slowing sales following record revenues over the last three years.”

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cadence Eyes System Analysis Market
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334517

    Cadence Design Systems is moving beyond semiconductor EDA and expanding into the system analysis market, initially with an electromagnetic field solver but with plans to add other tools with the capability to analyze complete systems.

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chip Firms Expect IoT to Be Key Revenue Driver
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334516

    The internet of things (IoT) is long past the stage of marketing hype and has been driving meaningful sales for semiconductor firms for more than two years. Now, it’s being seen as the key market for chip sales.

    Leaders of semiconductor firms throughout the world ranked IoT as the most important application for driving revenue this year, according to a survey conducted by consulting firm KPMG.

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    COG packaging demand picking up
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190402PD210.html

    COG (chip-on-glass) packaging demand has picked up recently as some Taiwan-based suppliers of TDDI (touch and display driver integrated) chips adopt the method to replace COF (chip-on-film) packaging, according to industry sources.

    COF packaging demand for bezel-less and borderless smartphone displays has started rising from the Android camp recently, the sources said. Backend houses have already seen their COF packaging lines run at full capacity utilization.

    Reply
  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Opinion: There are two key reasons to be optimistic about chip stocks
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/there-are-two-key-reasons-to-be-optimistic-about-chip-stocks-2019-04-02

    Beyond concerns about global growth and trade disputes, the semiconductor industry looks positive, powered by the Internet of Things, says Janus Henderson’s Denny Fish

    The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index has been on something of a rollercoaster ride for the past six months.

    The benchmark for chipmakers SOX, +2.27% plunged 22% between Oct. 3 and Dec. 24 amid rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and on concern that slowing growth in the world’s second-biggest economy could crimp global demand for semiconductor components. Then, in the year through March 21, the index rebounded 25%, outpacing the 14% rise in the S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.21% over the same period, as investors wondered if their fears might be overdone.

    Reply
  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Analog Devices – Isolators with transformer driver for EV, industrial, test and medical applications (LTM2810)
    https://www.electropages.com/2019/03/analog-devices-isolators-transformer-driver-ev-industrial-test-medical-applications/?utm_campaign=2019-04-03-Analog-Devices&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=article&utm_content=Analog+Devices+-+Isolators+with+transformer+driver+for+EV%2C+industrial%2C+test+

    Analog Devices/Linear Technology LTM2810 µModule Isolators with Transformer Driver are complete galvanic digital isolators with SPI, I2C, and master mode only compatible variants. These isolators do not need external components. The µModule isolators are powered on each side by 3V to 5.5V supplies. Separate logic supply pins enable simple interfacing with different logic levels from 1.62V to 5.5V, independent of the main supply. The isolators combine an integrated transformer driver on the logic side and an LDO on the isolated side to regulate the rectified transformer output.

    Reply
  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Big Shift In Multi-Core Design
    https://semiengineering.com/big-shift-in-multi-core-design/

    System-wide concerns in AI and automotive are forcing hardware and software teams to work together, but gaps still remain.

    Reply
  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chiplets – Taking SoC Design Where No Monolithic IC Has Gone Before
    https://semiengineering.com/chiplets-taking-soc-design-where-no-monolithic-ic-has-gone-before/

    Why changes in the ecosystem are making this a cost-effective solution for different end markets.

    The chiplet movement is a reaction to the rapidly changing IC landscape and the current IC fabrication realities. Engineers are increasingly realizing that it makes little sense to integrate every IP block in a system on one piece of silicon if the fit is poor. There are many advantages with monolithic silicon integration, but those advantages are rapidly being outweighed by the economics of building advanced technology ICs

    Reply
  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LPDDR5 Aims to Boost Input/Output By Half
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334513

    The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association is giving the latest LPDDR standard a significant jump in I/O rate compared to the first iteration of its predecessor.

    It recently published JESD209-5, the Low Power Double Data Rate 5 (LPDDR5) standard for low power memory devices. JEDEC JC-42.6 Subcommittee Chair Hung Vuong said LPDDR5 will operate at an input/output (I/O) rate of 6400 MT/s, 50 per cent higher than that of the first version of LPDDR4, which came in at 3200 MT/s when it was published in 2014. He said the doubling of memory throughput will significantly boost speed and efficiency for a variety of applications, including mobile computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, and ultra-thin notebooks.

    The redesign of the LPDDR5 architecture means a move to a 16-banks, programmable, multi-clocking architecture. It also introduces two new command-based operations to improve system power consumption by reducing data transmission — Data-Copy and Write-X commands.

    Reply
  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sam Kim / Bloomberg:
    Samsung says it expects Q1 operating income of $5.5B, down 60% YoY, its worst drop in more than four years, as chip prices fall and smartphone sales slow

    Samsung Profit Drops Most in Four Years as Chip Prices Slump
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-04/samsung-profit-drops-most-in-four-years-as-chip-prices-slump

    Samsung Electronics Co. reported its worst operating-profit drop in more than four years, buffeted by falling memory-chip prices and slowing smartphone sales.

    Operating income fell 60 percent to about 6.2 trillion won ($5.5 billion) in the three months ended March

    Reply
  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The 7nm Pileup
    Why are so many companies rushing to do 7nm designs?
    https://semiengineering.com/the-7nm-pileup/

    First of all, 7nm appears to be the next 28nm. It’s a major node, and it intersects with a number of broad trends that are happening across the industry, all of which involve AI in one way or another. The big question now is how many of them will survive long enough to move to 5nm or 3nm.

    Not all of these companies will survive, of course, but the discontinuities here are significant. By using a combination of new high-throughput heterogeneous architectures, 7nm transistor density, and advanced packaging connectivity to high-speed DRAM, performance can be increased by at least two orders of magnitude, and possibly much more. Moore’s Law provides the density, but the big performance and power improvements are well outside of what shrinking features provides.

    There are other forces driving this node, as well. Automotive companies are on a 4- to 5-year development cycle, which may seem slow until you consider they used to have a 7- to 10-year cycle. There is a lot of detail to digest in automotive design, and a system developed today—particularly the AI brain in an autonomous vehicle—will be extremely dated in 5 years if it’s developed at 40nm. If people hang onto vehicles for an average of 10 to 12 years, that will be like trying to run complex algorithms today using a Pentium 90.

    What will sell cars in the future won’t be the rumble of the engine under the hood. It will be the electronics in and around the car. A 7nm design at least will carry carmakers into the early part of the next decade, if not beyond.

    Reply
  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Advanced Packaging: Game Changer for Semiconductor Revolution
    https://www.3dincites.com/2019/04/advanced-packaging-game-changer-for-semiconductor-revolution/

    Advanced packaging has entered its most successful era boosted by a need for better integration, the end of Moore’s law and, beyond that, the megatrends, transportation, 5G, consumer, memory & computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC).

    The market today is dominated by large integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), such as Intel and Samsung, top four global outsourced semiconductor assembly and test service (OSAT) providers, and a foundry with packaging house – TSMC, which jointly accounted for 62% of the total advanced packaging revenue. These leaders are working on numerous innovative advanced packaging platforms such as flip-chip BGA, fan-out (FO) packaging, 3D through silicon vias (TSVs) and more… to answer to the market needs. Each platform has a lot of momentum but has different potential and different characteristics.

    Reply
  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The 7nm Pileup
    Why are so many companies rushing to do 7nm designs?
    https://semiengineering.com/the-7nm-pileup/

    The number of 7nm designs is exploding. Cadence alone reports 80 new 7nm chips under design. So why now, and what does this all mean?

    First of all, 7nm appears to be the next 28nm. It’s a major node, and it intersects with a number of broad trends that are happening across the industry, all of which involve AI in one way or another.

    Reply
  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    3D NAND Metrology Challenges Growing
    https://semiengineering.com/3d-nand-metrology-challenges-growing/

    Rising costs and gaps in equipment emerge as technology scales; new tools under development.

    3D NAND vendors face several challenges to scale their devices to the next level, but one manufacturing technology stands out as much more difficult at each turn—metrology.

    Metrology, the art of measuring and characterizing structures, is used to pinpoint problems and ensure yields for all chip types. In the case of 3D NAND, the metrology tools are becoming more expensive at each iteration and the gaps are growing.

    Reply
  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    TSMC and OIP ecosystem partners deliver complete design infrastructure for 5nm process
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190408PR201.html

    TSMC has announced delivery of the complete version of its 5nm design infrastructure within the Open Innovation Platform (OIP). This full release enables 5nm systems-on-chip (SoC) designs in next-generation advanced mobile and high-performance computing (HPC) applications, targeting high-growth 5G and artificial intelligence markets.

    TSMC’s comprehensive 5nm design infrastructure includes the full versions of the 5nm design rule manual (DRM), SPICE model, process design kits (PDKs) and silicon-validated foundation and interface IP, and also supports a full range of certified EDA tools and design flows. Backed by the resources of the largest design ecosystem in the industry, TSMC’s OIP, customers have already started intensive design engagements, paving the way for product tape-outs, pilot activities and early sampling.

    Reply
  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Gap is in Opportunity, Not Skills
    https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1334549

    Electronics companies often bemoan a lack of engineering skills they need, but it seems if the industry put more effort into creating opportunities for engineers to learn, the skills would be there.

    There’s a common mantra in many industries about the “skills gap” and not being able to find the right skills to fill specialist vacancies. But that’s just not true. The youngsters with skills are out there – they just have an opportunity gap, which it’s up to industry to address.

    Reply
  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Reuters:
    ASML, which makes semiconductor manufacturing equipment, allegedly suffered software theft at its US subsidiary by former employees linked to Chinese government

    ASML says it suffered intellectual property theft, rejects ‘Chinese’ label
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asml-china-spying/asml-says-it-suffered-intellectual-property-theft-rejects-chinese-label-idUSKCN1RN0DK

    Dutch ASML said on Thursday it had been the victim of corporate espionage in 2015 involving employees from countries including China but said it had not been the target of any “national conspiracy”.

    Reply
  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    This Solid-State Lithium Ion Battery Is Tailor-Made for Medical Devices
    UK-based Ilika has created a new miniature solid-state lithium ion battery can power innovative medtech devices.
    https://www.designnews.com/electronics-test/solid-state-lithium-ion-battery-tailor-made-medical-devices/160434395260613?ADTRK=UBM&elq_mid=8200&elq_cid=876648

    Reply
  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IEC 62368‑1 CERTIFIED POWER ADAPTERS
    Keep Your Design Ahead of the Latest Regulations
    https://www.cui.com/iec-62368-1?utm_source=design%20news&utm_medium=paid%20advertising&utm_campaign=62368-1%20adapters&utm_content=newsletter%2C%20125×125%2C%20april&ADTRK=CUIInc&elq_mid=8200&elq_cid=876648

    CUI’s wall plug and desktop adapters are compliant with IEC 62368-1 safety standards to help keep the user in-line with US and EU regulations. The IEC 62368-1 standard has important implications for designers of ICT and audio-visual equipment who must ensure their end system, as well as the components supporting it, is compliant by the December 2020 implementation date.

    Reply
  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Countdown: How Close is China to 40% Chip Self-Sufficiency?
    https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334555

    China is making progress becoming less reliant on foreign supply of semiconductors, according to Chinese IC industry executives, but the country’s efforts still require setting specific intermediate goals and prioritizing those goals.

    Reply
  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    TSMC reportedly to enter 7nm EUV production in 2Q19
    https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20190415VL202.html

    Reply
  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finding The Source Of EUV Stochastic Effects
    https://semiengineering.com/finding-the-source-of-euv-stochastic-effects/

    Resolving problems in advanced lithography could push this technology much more into the mainstream, but that won’t be easy.

    Reply
  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    More Memory And Processor Tradeoffs
    https://semiengineering.com/more-memory-and-processor-tradeoffs/

    Why power, performance and area are becoming increasingly difficult to balance.

    Reply

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