Gartner estimates worldwide semiconductor sales reached $339.7 billion during 2016, a 1.5% gain from 2015's total of $334.8 billion. "Overall, semiconductor revenue for the second half of the year was much stronger than the first half, reflecting the strengthening memory market and continued inventory replenishment, as well as inventory build for both the iPhone 7 and the holiday season," Gartner's Adrian Blanco said.
Tsinghua Unigroup announced it will spend $30 billion on a new wafer fabrication facility in Nanjing, China, where it will make memory chips. The company last year committed $24 billion for a memory-making fab in Wuhan, China.
Embedded graphics processing units are progressing from mobile devices to applications in the internet of things, servers, virtual/augmented reality and wearable electronics, writes Rys Sommefeldt of Imagination Technologies.
Stackpole Electronics has introduced the RTAN line of tantalum nitride precision thin-film chip resistors, which it says are impervious to corrosion from moisture. The resistors are specified to operate in temperatures of 85 degrees C, with 85% relative humidity.
Engineers are specializing in IC design skills as chip complexity continues to grow, according to more than 20 interviews with industry executives. "Very few people have all the expertise," said Jim Jozwiak of Micron Technology.
While low-power wide-area networks are proliferating around the world, the Weightless Special Interest Group is redoubling its efforts to bring open standards to internet of things networks. "The message we are hearing very strongly is that the biggest problem in LPWA is the fragmentation of the industry," said William Webb, CEO of the Weightless SIG.
Researchers in Saudi Arabia and Germany collaborated on engineered microstructures that could be used in biomedical applications, electronics and sensors. The team formed self-assembling toroids by combining a metallic sodium chloride atom, chitosan and saponin.
China's national program to upgrade its semiconductor and electronics industries is seeing mixed results, leading the government to focus on making memory chips, Mark LaPedus writes. Yangtze River Storage Technology, Tsinghua Unigroup, Jinhua Integrated Circuit and GigaDevice are all widening their memory design and manufacturing capabilities, while Intel, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are expanding their memory production in China, LaPedus writes.
ZiiLabs has complained to the US International Trade Commission that 17 companies are infringing upon its patents for graphics processors and DDR memory controllers. The ITC investigation will look at chips imported by Advanced Micro Devices, Qualcomm, Sony, Lenovo Group, MediaTek and LG Electronics, among others.
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