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April 2012

We Break Down Wafer Demand So You Don't Have To

Phoenix, Arizona April 25, 2012 - Wafer demand grows at a compound annual growth rate of about 8-9%, but you could be making a big mistake if you think capital investment in fab capacity will be successful by sticking with an 8-10% investment rate every year.

MEMS Displays to grow 62% by 2016

Phoenix, Arizona April 19, 2012 - The market for optical based MEMS is poised for exponential growth. In addition to MEMS devices for projection, MEMS for direct view displays have emerged. The total market was under $1 billion in 2011, but by 2016 it will reach $10.4 billion.

Forecasting Wafer Demand: Technology Migration, Bottlenecks and Confetti

If you cover a long enough time period, the small ups and downs of a graphed line can look very smooth.  Semico’s semiconductor wafer demand data goes back to 1991.  When graphed from 1991 to 2016, wafer growth appears to have a very steady upward trend with only a few minor interruptions.  Wafer demand grows at a compound annual growth rate of about 8-9%.  When graphed against semiconductor units it looks very tame.  Looking at Figure 1 you may say to yourself, “The forecasting business can’t be that difficult.”  What’s so difficult about forecasting wafer demand?  Looking at the first graph, one might conclude that capital investment in fab capacity should be very successful if a company stuck with an 8-10% investment rate every year.

Figure 1: Semiconductor Unit Sales and Wafer Demand

Source: Semico Research Corp. & SIA

Reality sinks in when we look at the percent change in wafer demand since 1991.  (See Figure 2)  Wafer demand growth is anything but stable.  There is almost a 50-point spread between the peak growth year to the worst year of decline.  Even if we throw out the worst year (-23% decline in 2001) and the best year (25% growth in 1995) the change in wafer demand growth rates range from -2.7% up to 24.9%.

Figure 2: Percent Change in Wafer Demand

ADI Blackfin DSP Roadmap to Machine Vision

Recently Analog Devices, inc. released the latest additions to its Blackfin family of DSPs.  The BF60x family is a high performance dual core design targeting high end embedded applications.  Two members, BF608 and BF609, integrate hardware processing for machine vision.  This recent product launch introduces ADI’s Pipelined Vision Processor (PVP).

ADI’s PVP is a new dedicated vision accelerator.  The company touts this feature for sophisticated, multi-function analytics.  It can perform up to 25 billion math operations per second.  The BF608/9 is well suited for many embedded vision applications.  The PVP along with the dual 1GHz Blackfin DSP cores offers customers a flexible architecture for them to develop specialized algorithms.  The target applications are ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System), industrial machine vision, and security & surveillance.

ADI’s PVP has several functional blocks.  It provides acceleration in such key areas as object detection, object tracking, and object identification.  The PVP architecture is able to run up to five vision algorithms simultaneously.  This enables vision systems to monitor and process data from several sources and off load work from a main processor.  This is particularly important in automotive applications where so many things are going on and driver safety is critical.

Semico Spin

Mike Noonen and Steve Roddy to Speak at Semico IP Conference

Phoenix, Arizona April 11, 2012 - Semico is proud to announce the addition of Mike Noonen and Steve Roddy to its speaker lineup for the IP Ecosystem conference to be held May 16, 2012. They will participate on the panel titled, Will IP Subsystems Help Reduce Complexity...At What Cost? Other companies represented include ARM, Cadence Sonics, Synopsys, Mentor Graphics, Atrenta, Memoir Systems, Analog Bits, Tabula, and TSMC.

Are Gaming Consoles Still Relevant?

The digital home has been coming for decades. Ma Bell knew; 30 plus years ago, its vision of the future was "data and pictures at your fingertips." Star Trek knew; iPads were a standard accessory over 20 years ago in the show. And now reality is finally catching up.

This means big changes are needed in the console arena if they're going to be able to survive this new frontier. Our televisions are now smart and possibly 3D. Our Blu-ray players are smart and affordable. Our smartphones and tablets stream movies wirelessly to our TVs, and smartphones have become our gaming platform of choice.

During previous console releases, selling points have included:

  1. Better graphics
  2. Inexpensive Blu-ray player
  3. Streaming HD content
  4. Innovative games, etc.

But these selling techniques won't work anymore for the following reasons:

MEMS Displays: Projecting a Direct View of the Market

The market for optical based MEMS is poised for exponential growth. In addition to MEMS devices for projection, MEMS for direct view displays have emerged. The total market was under $1 billion in 2011, but by 2016 it will reach $10.4 billion. MEOMS (Micro Electro-Optical Mechanical System) is a specific form of MEMS in which light is manipulated. There are essentially two classes of MEOMS. One is for projecting images and another is for direct view displays. The projector type of MEOMS use some form of micromirror technology that oscillate to direct a light beam.

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Let's Talk About 450mm at the Semi Breakfast Forum

Jim Feldhan
President
Semico Research

Phoenix, Arizona April 5, 2012 - What might be coming to Arizona? That's the question Jim Feldhan will be answering at the upcoming Semi Breakfast Forum. Join us on April 24th at Intel to hear Ron Rinfret with Intel, Kirk Hasserjian at Applied Materials, Jim Feldhan with Semico, and Abbie Gregg discuss the highlights, challenges and outlook for 450mm.

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