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September 2010

Blu-ray Beat HD-DVD. Now Can it Beat DVD?

Phoenix, Arizona September 28, 2010 - The recession of 2008 and 2009 impacted the entire semiconductor industry, including a relatively new market for chips: Blu-ray Players. A fledgling technology that had just defeated the HD-DVD format in 2008, Blu-ray had a difficult time gaining traction in its early years due to limited Blu-ray disc content and a high ASP compared to DVD Players. Recently, Blu-ray's luck has started to turn around. Blu-ray discs are selling better than ever, internet movie downloads are starting to flatten, and over 290 million DTVs are expected to sell in 2014.

Inventories Too High?

2010 will go down in the history books as one of the greatest recoveries the semiconductor industry has experienced. Contributing to this recovery was the fact that the industry underinvested prior to the downturn. In addition, the fears and uncertainty surrounding the length and depth of the recession and its impact on electronics sales resulted in an overreaction by the supply chain which stripped inventories to near zero. As it turned out, electronics is one of the segments that has fared the best during this recession. As a result the supply chain has been in a catch-up mode for the past year.

Housing continues to languish with foreclosures, falling prices and restricted banks loans. The automotive industry has made some nice recoveries yet is still well below production levels from just a few years ago. The new consumer is different. They are younger and two things are apparent. One, cars are not the highest priority for these consumers. Two, buying a house is also not high on the priority list. What is a priority is the ability to have access to social networking, games, videos, pictures and music. These priorities drive consumers to upgrade their smart phone, iPod, tablet/iPad and notebook. These products are priced such that they do not require credit and are considered a necessity in today's world.

What You Need to Know NOW About the High Density DRAM Module Market

Phoenix, Arizona September 21, 2010 - In 2008, the DRAM industry faced a supply glut. ASPs for DRAM chips fell precipitously and as a consequence, DIMM module revenues and profits fell as well. DRAM manufacturers slashed capacity output late in 2008 in order to tighten chip supply. Near the midpoint of 2010, demand began to recover as the overall global economy stabilized after all of the financial fallout. What resulted was a return to profitability for DIMM module OEMs and third-party module vendors.

Save the Date: Xilinx President and CEO Moshe Gavrielov to Speak at Semico Summit 2011

Phoenix, Arizona September 23, 2010 - Semico Research Corp. is proud to announce that Moshe Gavrielov will speak at the Summit 2011. The Summit will be held May 1-3, 2011 at the stunning InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Mr. Gavrielov is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Xilinx, Inc.

Intel Developers Forum 2010 in Review

IDF ended last week and the message as always is that Intel has the technology for the future today.  The company continues to deliver ever increasing performance and features at lower price and that it delivers on its promises on time. Intel is also trying to expand its reach beyond the traditional computing market.  Computing is still the cash cow for the company, so it still garners a lot of attention.  But Intel needs to broaden its markets in order to continue growing.  The company showed off technology that covers the gamut from high end computing (data centers and cloud computing) to mass market consumer (smart phones, TV, etc.) and even embedded control. In his keynote speech to kick off the event, Intel CEO Paul Otellini presented the “three pillars of computing” for Intel.

The latest news from IDF about Tablet PCs and Netbooks

September 14, 2010

Right now I am sitting in a technical session, “How to Build an Intel Atom Processor Based Tablet PC or Innovative Netbook”.  Looking around the Intel Developer’s Forum it is clear that netbooks are still a strong and viable market for Intel.  I just wrote a Semico Spin challenging the view that tablet PCs will eat up the market for netbooks.

At IDF Intel is actively marketing solutions for both netbooks and tablet PCs.  There are demos from OEMs for both featuring Intel Atom of course. Many Atom tablet PCs will ship in 4Q 2010.  This technical session clearly shows that internally there is little difference between the two products.

The differences come down to touch screen, keyboard, and OS.  One can also say that the applications that end users want to run will be different.  When the subject of tablet PC vs netbook first came up my immediate response was that over time the form factors would evolve and likely merge to form a hybrid design.  At that point I would likely dovetail the two separate lines in my forecast into one and call it “ultra-portable.”

Will Tablet PCs Eat Up The Market?

It has been reported lately that tablet PCs, namely Apple iPads, are having a significant impact on notebooks and netbooks.  Are the tablet PCs cannibalizing netbooks and low-cost notebooks?

It should be noted that what is cited is consumer sales in the US.  Let us keep in mind that the US represents less than half of the world wide PC market and that consumer is about half of the US market.  Late last year it was anticipated that PC sales would be driven mainly by corporate sales in 2010.  Many companies had delayed PC upgrades in 2009 due to economic conditions.

We heard the same thing about netbooks cannibalizing notebooks when they first emerged.  Netbooks did cannibalize some of the low end of the notebook market, but it also established a new market segment which added new users to the total computing market.
Semico’s forecast for netbooks from a year ago already showed that netbook growth would slow down in 2010 (even before the iPad emerged) just because it would become mainstream very quickly.

Total iPad shipments are 3.27 million at the end of 2Q 2010.  Assuming additional growth each quarter and the introduction of competitors in 4Q 2010, the tablet PC is expected to reach 12 million units in 2010, Semico's forecast.  Netbooks will reach 38.5 million, so tablet PCs will be less than 1/3 the size of netbooks.  Notebooks are projected to hit 175 million in 2010.

The Changing ASIC Design Landscape

Phoenix, Arizona September 14, 2010 - The ASIC Design Start landscape has changed a lot in the last four years. Increasing design costs, rising design complexity, lengthening design cycle times, and the recent global economic meltdown have all had an impact, especially on the System-on-a-Chip (SoC) market. Semico Research Corp has published its analysis of these issues in a new report titled ASIC Design Starts: Recovery in the Markets.

Segway Inventor Dean Kamen to Keynote at Semico Summit 2011

Dean Kamen
Inventor, Founder of DEKA and FIRST

Phoenix, Arizona September 7, 2010 - Semico Research Corp. is proud to announce that Dean Kamen will deliver the Summit 2011 kick-off Keynote speech. The Summit will be held May 1-3, 2011 at the stunning InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Mr. Kamen is an inventor and physicist, dedicated to developing technologies that help people lead better lives. He holds more than 440 US and foreign patents, many for innovative medical devices.

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