Hydrogen fuel cells stand to play a significant role in powering the Internet of Things, Ernest Worthman writes. "[F]uel cells are coming of age. The fact that a company would make a prototype that can power a cell phone for a week has wide-ranging implications. And that others are offering developer kits is also promising," he writes.
Samsung Electronics is forecast to budget $11.5 billion for capital expenditures in 2016, a nearly 15% reduction from 2015's $13.5 billion, TrendForce estimates. The market research firm predicts Intel will spend $9.5 billion on capex this year, a 30% increase year-to-year, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will also dedicate $9.5 billion to capital spending, up 17% from 2015.
ARM-based server chips from Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro Circuits and Cavium are gaining a toehold in data centers, while the current trend toward 40-gigabit controllers and switches will soon give way to 25/50 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet chips, The Linley Group says. Intel's Xeon processors will still dominate large data centers in the near future, yet "the current products from Applied Micro, AMD and Cavium will find niches," Linley's Jag Bolaria said.
Teledyne LeCroy has brought out the HDA125 digital analyzer, an instrument capable of operating at 12.5 Gsamples per second on 18 input channels. Pricing ranges from $17,900 to $20,900, with delivery in six to eight weeks.
The five-decade run of Moore's Law appears to be coming to an end, and the semiconductor industry faces significant challenges in the near future, M. Mitchell Waldrop writes. "Think about what happened to airplanes. A Boeing 787 doesn't go any faster than a 707 did in the 1950s -- but they are very different airplanes," said Daniel Reed, vice president for research at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who believes computers will follow the same path. "Innovation will absolutely continue -- but it will be more nuanced and complicated."
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is developing the "Kittson" processor for its Integrity and Superdome servers, continuing the Itanium line originally created by Hewlett-Packard and Intel. HPE plans to continue offering Itanium-based servers until 2025, HPE's Jeff Kyle said.
NXP Semiconductors has developed chips and software for Digital Radio Mondiale receivers to be installed within automotive vehicles in India. "All India Radio is about to complete the nationwide installation of DRM transmitters and the availability of DRM receivers in shortwave, medium-wave and VHF for automobile vehicles will pave the way for more companies to roll out DRM receivers," said Ruxandra Obreja, chairman of the DRM Consortium.
ON Semiconductor posted net income of $54.1 million on revenue of $840.3 million for the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $600,000 on revenue of $864.2 million a year earlier. For all of 2015, the chip company reported net income of $206.2 million on revenue of $3.5 billion.
Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology report their 3D NAND flash memory devices now surpass hard-disk drives in areal density. Micron said this month its 3D NAND flash had reached up to 2.77 terabits per square inch, more than double the highest HDD density of about 1.3Tbpsi, according to Tom Coughlin of Coughlin Associates.
While the Internet of Things was a popular topic in 2015, that market is unlikely to bolster the chip business this year, Tom Starnes and Jim Handy of Objective Analysis write. "Semiconductor revenues trailed off in the second half of 2015, and 2016 is likely to continue to be soft, with worldwide economic conditions an aggravating factor. Many applications, such as automotive and imaging, should keep electronics a vibrant market. However, an eye should be kept on unsustainable overcrowding in the IoT markets while trying to understand what’s really happening in China as an economy, a market, and a producer," they write.
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