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July 2011

ComicCon 2011: Lots of Excitement, but not much 3D

Frequent readers of the Semico Spin know that I am a fan of ComicCon and attend it in San Diego, CA during my family vacation.  This is the eighth year in a row we attended.  As I say every year, there were more nerds than you can shake a light saber at.

For those unfamiliar with ComicCon ( it is the largest convention for comic books in the world.  However, it covers a great deal more.  Science fiction and fantasy TV and movies are heavily represented.  These are usually tied in with comics and animation.  There is also a strong tie in with video games.  For the fourth straight year ComicCon was sold out for all four days with attendance of 125,000 each day.  It is the largest convention throughout the year for the city of San Diego.

The show began 43 years ago as a small convention for Sci-Fi fans focused on comics and literature.  It has ballooned into a huge media event attracting TV and movie producers to promote their work.  These productions usually have a tie in with comics and Sci-Fi, but Comic-Con has expanded to pull in other pop culture media.

Content is King!  Without enough material there is little incentive to buy the hardware.  What consumers want to see and how they want to interact with it drives the development of the electronics.  It is not surprising that many attendees are technically savvy early adopters.

A Solution to the 450mm Equipment Problem

Another SEMICON West has come and gone.  This was a good year.  Although there are signs that things have slowed a bit, the general outlook was positive.  In addition to the need for more semiconductor capacity due to continued growth in tablets, cell phones and a host of other electronic applications, the increased complexity of advanced processes has created a positive outlook for equipment vendors.  More complexity has translated into more layers, more process steps, and more new equipment.  There continues to be significant interest in TSV, EUV, used equipment productivity and MEMS.  And finally, this year the discussion around 450mm wafers took a new turn.  It was not “if” it would happen but when and how.

Secondary Equipment Vendors Expecting Another Good Year

Phoenix, Arizona July 20, 2011 - The secondary equipment market grew 77% in 2010 to $6 billion. Based on interviews, briefings and informal discussions at SEMICON West, it appears the size of the market will grow even bigger in 2011.

Omedeto, Renesas! Congratulations!

On the heels of a highly spirited SEMICON West covering all the challenges of TSV, 450mm and EUV, it's great to hear how this industry can rally around a cause and accomplish what appears to be an impossible task. I’m referring to the monumental effort that was required to get the Renesas Naka facilities back up and running.
In the many briefings at SEMICON West, a few companies mentioned the contributions they made this year to the human relief effort in Japan’s recovery following the earthquake and tsunami. This week Renesas provided more information on the resumption of their fab operation and sent out messages of thanks to employees, customers, suppliers and competitors for all their support.

Renesas has 10 fabs in Japan, with one site suffering major work stoppage from the earthquake. The Naka site located in Ibaraki Prefecture accommodated a 200mm and 300mm fab, a wafer bump facility and two test facilities. Even though the site is 100 miles away from Fukushima, the hardest hit area, the Renesas Naka site suffered significant damage and had to be shut down. A week after the tragic earthquake, site inspections had to be completed with flashlights because there wasn’t any power to the facilities.

MAP Model Executive Brief: xDSL Modems

The Executive Briefs cycle through 33 markets per year. Our analysts look to the segments that account for >80% of semiconductors, meaning our list of markets is fluid; we’re constantly adding new high growth markets to the list.

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MAP Model Executive Brief: Cable Modems

The Executive Briefs cycle through 33 markets per year. Our analysts look to the segments that account for >80% of semiconductors, meaning our list of markets is fluid; we’re constantly adding new high growth markets to the list.

Table of Contents: 

Freescale Technology Forum 2011 in Review

The Freescale Technology Forum was held in San Antonio, TX recently, June 20 to 23, 2011.  Freescale is a leading chip vendor focused on embedded control.  Once again the event drew a large number of attendees, about 2,000.  This is roughly the same as last year, quite impressive considering the current economic conditions.  The exhibit area was packed with numerous and wide variety of companies offering products and services tied to Freescale products.  This shows the diversity and scope of the third-party ecosystem that supports Freescale.

The theme of FTF 2011 presented by President and CEO, Rich Beyer, was connected intelligence and the “internet of things."  He pointed out that connectivity emphasizes efficiency and integration.  The data traffic continues to grow at a rapid rate. Throughout FTF presented solutions for various markets such as mobile communications and consumer products, networking and telecommunications, wireless infrastructure, automotive, smart grid, industrial control and health applications.  Embedded control is at the center of this surrounded and supported by connectivity, sensors, power and software solutions.


The following are some of the notable products presented at FTF 2011.

Semico's Joanne Itow to Speak at SEMICON West

Phoenix, Arizona July 8, 2011 - While logic and memory manufacturers continue to look at scaling challenges, manufacturers of analog, RF, discrete, and other non-CMOS devices are innovating on process, productivity, and automation to keep existing fabs running at maximum throughput and cost efficiency. Joanne Itow, managing director of Semico, will be the opening speaker at SEMICON West's More than Moore & Productivity session on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011.

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