Taiwan's foundries are seeing a surge in fourth-quarter orders from fabless semiconductor companies, industry sources say. The trend is counter to the usual seasonality of the chip business, when demand slows during Q4 and drags in the first quarter of the new year, those sources note.
Microelectromechanical system devices are getting their due, in terms of higher pricing and finding new applications in automotive electronics, drones and the internet of things, this analysis notes. "We're seeing sensor fusion in the MEMS market, particularly as these companies try to put more value into the system," said Jeff Miller of Mentor, a Siemens Business.
Semiconductor manufacturers in China are responding to the government's call for higher quality standards and paying attention to market demand, industry executives note. "We will move Chinese industries up to the medium-high end of the global value chain, and foster a number of world-class advanced manufacturing clusters," Party General Secretary Xi Jinping said Wednesday at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Maxim Integrated has introduced the MAX77734 power management IC, an ultra-low-power chip that can help to extend the battery life of wearable gadgets and other products. The PMIC combines an analog multiplexer, a dual-channel current sink driver, a linear-mode lithium-ion battery charger and a low-dropout linear regulator.
Infineon Technologies brought out a new line of custom metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors that pair the safe-operating area characteristics of planar MOSFETs with the low on-resistance of trench FETs. The Linear FET line is aimed at battery, e-fuse and hot-swap protection.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore say they used plasmons to develop a converter that could enable high-frequency data processing and transmission for nanoelectronics. "By bridging plasmonics and nanoscale electronics, we can potentially make chips run faster and reduce power losses," Associate Professor Christian Nijhuis said.
Optical inspection of photomasks for extreme ultraviolet lithography systems may not be adequate in detecting tiny defects that would compromise chips made with that mask, this analysis notes. The semiconductor industry has wanted to implement actinic pattern mask inspection, yet that technology remains in development.
LG Electronics and Qualcomm will collaborate on development of components for autonomous vehicles. The companies have established a "vehicle to everything" research and development lab in Seoul, South Korea, and plan to open another V2X technology R&D lab in South Korea by the end of 2017.
Beijing-based Loongson Technology continues to offer new general-purpose microprocessors with this year's unveiling of its Loongson 3A3000 and 3B3000 chips. "We will scramble to meet demands from telecom, finance, energy and the government procurement market," said Hu Weiwu, the chip company's president.
Worldwide sales of semiconductors will increase 22% this year, estimates IC Insights, which earlier forecast 16% growth. This year's sales of DRAMs are now expected to reach $72 billion, while $49.8 billion will be rung up for NAND flash memory devices, the market research firm predicts.
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