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Susan Cadel's blog

The Healthcare Market is not Just a Mobile Semiconductor Fad

Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) is facilitating tremendous growth in the semiconductor industry.  Jim Feldhan, President of Semico Research, delivered the kickoff address of the Semico IP Impact Conference, attended by over 150 people.

One of Feldhan’s key messages was that portability will continue to reshape technology and our lives.  Today, eight percent of resources are directed towards creating content while 91% are about using content.  This is especially prevalent in the mobile market, which surpassed the traditional computing market in 2008.  Tablets will outsell notebooks by the end of this year.  And, by 2017, Semico is projecting that the tablet and notebook form factors will become indistinguishable.

Another message was how the residential market will be impacted by the Internet of Things.  Today the average home has over 70 appliances and devices, which could be internet-connected in the future.  This will create an $18 billion market for internet-connected appliances in 2017 which will contain over $160 billion in semiconductors in those appliances.

Grant Pierce, CEO of Sonics is Back to the Cloud

SoCs are taking to the Cloud.  Just as microprocessors drove the PC boom 20 years ago and the internet drove the communications boom 10 years ago, SoCs are revolutionizing consumer electronics today.  Each boom brought us new applications, rapid decline in product cost, and many more users.  While microprocessors drove computer volumes in the millions, complex SoCs are driving consumer products in the billions.

What is driving SoC complexity?  This was the focus of Grant Pierce’s talk at the Semico Impact Conference on May 16th, 2012.  As we all know, today’s consumers are looking for higher quality at lower prices.   They want video, voice, data, and audio in everything.  All this convergence pushes the need for multi-GHz performance.

Apps run on everything and apps need “Giga’s” whether it be a 1-3 GHz multi-core CPU, 100+ GFLOPS multi-core GPU, or a 15-50 GB/sec DRAM chip.  And as we use more apps, we will continue to need even more “Giga’s” in the future.  But all these “Giga’s” burn more and more power which is why our devices die so quickly.  These SoCs have gotten so powerful, that today’s batteries can’t afford to power them all at once.