Qualcomm on Thursday introduced the Snapdragon X16 LTE, its first gigabit-class Long-Term Evolution modem chip. "Qualcomm wins the ‘first to 1 Gbps race’ which is important for bragging rights, but more significant in how much of a lead they have over everyone else," said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. Qualcomm also debuted the Snapdragon 625, 435 and 425 mobile processors and the Snapdragon Wear Platform for developing wearable electronics.
Samsung Electronics has reportedly created a resistive random-access memory chip with a 3D cross-point structure, industry sources say. The 3D ReRAM is said to offer a significant improvement in performance compared with NAND flash memory devices and could be used in application chipsets, image sensors, memory cards and solid-state drives.
Scientists at Germany's Technical University of Munich report developing gallium arsenide nanowire lasers atop a silicon-based semiconductor device, an advance that promises to lead to high-performance photonic components, increasing the speed of data processing. The GaAs nanowire lasers emit infrared light at a predefined wavelength and under pulsed excitation, it was said.
The IEEE1801-2015 standard, also known as the Unified Power Format 3.0, offers improvements in analysis and coverage of low-power chip designs. "For RTL design in general, coverage is important to give you a notion of whether you’ve adequately tested complex interactions in the system. The same is true for low-power design," said Gabriel Chidolue of Mentor Graphics.
Researchers at Harvard University say they observed electrons in graphene exhibiting fluid-like behavior, moving at 1/300th the speed of light. "Instead of watching how a single particle was affected by an electric or thermal force, we could see the conserved energy as it flowed across many particles, like a wave through water," Jesse Crossno, first study author, said in a release.
The IEEE 1801-2015 standard, also known as Unified Power Format 3.0, is being talked up for its multiple applications. "Historically, UPF has been used to define power intent for the low-power implementation and verification of circuits," Alan Gibbons of Synopsys said, adding, "With UPF3.0 we can now extend that to IP power modeling and provide an efficient way to model the salient power related characteristics of a piece of IP for use at the system level."
Keith Jackson, president and CEO of ON Semiconductor, said semiconductor industry consolidation has reached the point where 11 chip companies represent up to 72% of the industry's revenue. ON offered to acquire Fairchild Semiconductor International, only to face a competing bid from Chinese investors. Growth in the chip business will be limited this year, he added.
Apple is reportedly contracting Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to fabricate all the application processors for the forthcoming iPhone 7 handset, Electronic Times reports. The Taiwanese foundry will make the chips with a 10-nanometer process, according to industry sources. Samsung Electronics and TSMC split production of processors for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.
Advanced Micro Devices should follow the lead of IBM, Intel and Qualcomm in establishing a chip-design joint venture in China, Rick Merritt writes. Its ARM-based system-on-a-chip designs could attract Chinese processor partners, he writes.
ARM Holdings is paying greater attention to chip designs for automotive electronics, CEO Simon Segars says. "In terms of the market that we can address in 2020, we see that as a $15 billion silicon market which when you do the maths, works out to about $150 of silicon per car," he says. Although smartphones account for about 45% of ARM's revenue, nine of the 51 chip licensing deals the company closed in the fourth quarter were related to automotive technologies.
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