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June 2011

Wafer Demand Outpaces Semiconductor Unit Growth in 2011

Source: Semico Research, June 2011

Phoenix, Arizona June 28, 2011 - Semiconductor unit sales remain strong and are expected to reach 718 billion in 2011, an 8.6% growth over 2010. Unit sales are driving wafer demand at both advanced and mature fabs. Total silicon demand is expected to grow by 10% in 2011.

Signs Point to a Short Slowdown - IPI Ticking UP!

Phoenix, Arizona June 21, 2011 - The Semico IPI has been steadily declining since May of 2010. This indicates that the second half of 2011 and at least early 2012 will be a weak semiconductor market. Excess buildout in tablets, PCs and smart phones are leading our inventory concerns. Prices in some semiconductor categories have declined over the last two months, hurting revenue, although we have continued to see unit demand remaining healthy.

Wafer Demand Summary and Assumptions 2Q11

The Wafer Demand Summary and Assumptions is a quarterly publication. It includes an excel spreadsheet with annual wafer demand by product by technology from 2002-2015. Product categories include DRAM, SRAM, NAND, NOR, Other Non-volatile, MPU, MCU, DSP, Computing Micro Logic, Communications, Other Micro Logic, Programmable Logic, Standard Cell, Gate Array, Analog, Discrete, Optoelectronics, Digital Bipolar. In addition, there is a five-page summary write-up providing the major assumptions behind the forecast and changes from the previous quarter.

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Impressions of DAC 2011

I attended the 48th Design Automation Conference in San Diego this past week and I came away from the conference with several main thoughts:

  • EDA tool vendors continue to enhance their products by listening to their customers and acting on those inputs.
  • There is mounting evidence that the discussion centered around the trend towards IP Subsystems is real and has substance behind it.
  • The Automotive Networking workshop on Sunday featured a lively discussion around what networking bus would come after Ethernet.
  • There seems to be growing dissatisfaction around the limited amount of data showing silicon and software design costs for SoCs.

At this DAC conference several IP vendors and EDA tool vendors were discussing the term ‘IP Subsystem’ in their booths and in presentations and panel discussions given throughout the time I was there.

Some of the notable vendors discussing the concept were: Sonics, Synopsys, Cadence, Atrenta, ChipStart, and eSilicon to name a few.

DAC 2011: How to Respond to the ITRS SoC Design Cost Slide

Phoenix, Arizona June 14, 2011 - If there was one thing to take away from the Design Automation Conference in San Diego last week, it's that there is a growing dissatisfaction around the limited amount of data showing silicon and software design costs for SoCs.

In particular, many are questioning the validity of the data in a 'famous' ITRS SoC design cost slide. While the data is accurate, several people mentioned to me that it is based on the inputs of only one company and only depicts the design costs from a single design!

A Tiny but Mighty MEMS Infrared Temperature Sensor

Did you ever use your a laptop on your lap and get an unpleasantly warm sensation, even a burning, sensation, on the top of your legs?  Manufacturers of portable electronic devices would like to have a way of monitoring case temperature to insure that you don’t experience that sensation on your legs; or an unpleasantly warm hand if you’re using a handheld device.  But, until now, the only way to do that was to measure the temperature of the warmest component in the device and use that temperature to approximate the case temperature.  Now, TI has made it possible to measure case temperature directly using a very small, inexpensive MEMS infrared sensor.

TI part number TMP006 is a MEMS infrared digital temperature sensor in a 1.6-mm x 1.6-mm package; approximately 1/16” x 1/16.  That is certainly remarkable!

In this small package, the TMP006 integrates an on-chip MEMS thermopile sensor, signal conditioning, a 16-bit ADC (analog-to-digital-converter), a local temperature sensor, and voltage references.  This provides a complete digital solution for contactless temperature measurement.  The TMP006 uses only 240 uA quiescent current and 1 uA in shutdown mode.  It supports a temperature range of -40 degrees to +125 degrees C (Celsius) with an accuracy of +/- 0.5 degree C (typical) on the local sensor and accuracy of +/- 1 degrees C (typical) for the passive IR sensor.   It includes I2C/SMBus digital interface.

More Than Trees Growing in Luther Forest

Last week Semico visited the GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fab 8 construction site and was impressed for several reasons. Not only is the infrastructure significant but the people and surrounding community have welcomed GLOBALFOUDNRIES, embraced the project as well as the invasion of businesses and people that go along with the project. This made our visit extremely pleasant and trouble-free.

The GLOBALFOUNDRIES fab is a multi-billion dollar facility that is on schedule and on budget! That’s noteworthy when we consider this is the first major project for the Luther Forest Technology Campus and a major portion of the infrastructure construction took place during the Upstate New York winter.

Converging Markets: What Happens to the Portable Multimedia Player?

Phoenix, Arizona June 7, 2011 - The Portable Multimedia Player (PMP) is a relatively new market, first introduced in 1998 as the next generation Walkman. PMPs rose to popularity after Apple released the iPod and hooked it up to the iTunes store. It was a simple way to finally bring your entire music and/or video library with you on the go.

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