Saturday, December 31, 2011

Round-up 2011: Best of semiconductors

Right folks! This is the last post for 2011!! Here's a look at the good, bad and ugly, that the year had to offer in semiconductors. Enjoy! ;) Happy new year, everyone!!

Dec. 2011
Round-up 2011: Best of semiconductors

2012′s semicon sales and sales growth estimates $325.5 billion and 6.9 percent!

Video and mobility drivers for global semicon in 2012

Future materials and devices for power electronics

SuVolta solving power problem in SoCs across multiple CMOS process nodes

Global semiconductor industry keeps consolidating; 28nm will be stable: Dr. Wally Rhines

Synopsys acquires Magma! And, another one bites the dust!!

Nov. 2011
Lattice intros low power ECP4 FPGAs

Global semicon sales forecast at $329.4 billion for 2012!

MEMS Executive Congress 2011 round-up

Global semiconductor market will be $313 billion in 2012: SSIA

MEMS market overview: IHS iSuppli

NXP licenses Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology for in-vehicle networking

MEMS devices driving healthcare apps!

Updated global semicon sales forecast 2011′s estimate falls $2.74 billion

Oct. 2011
DIT outlines initiatives to promote ESDM in India

Game changers: New paradigms for future of electronic product realization

Designing systems to thrive in disruptive trends!

Realizing EDA360: Charlie Huang, Cadence

What’s happening with ISA and Indian semicon industry?

Altera launches SoC FPGAs

Emerging piezoMEMS apps and ion beam etch solutions for next gen MEMS and sensors

ESDM all over again? When will Indian semicon and electronics industries learn??

Semiconductor supply chain dynamics: Future Horizons @ IEF2011

Sep. 2011
India has restricted itself to only semicon design and R&D!

ST launches STM32 F4 series of MCUs

ARM connecting the world!

Renesas enhancing localization of products in India!

Magma announces Silicon One strategy

Need to work toward sustainable future: imec

Aug. 2011
Freescale launches first ‘base-station-on-chip’ products!

Semicon industry at inflection point of innovation: Rich Beyer

NXP launches CAN partial networking solution for automotives

Fabless fables and all that! Is India listening?

What’s happening with global semicon industry?

2011 global semicon sales growth likely to trend downward for rest of year?

Jul. 2011
Cloud key strategy for Intel: Liam Keating

Dr. Wally Rhines on global semicon industry

Creating measurable value through differentiation: Dr. Wally Rhines

Trends in embedded — smart and green energy: ST

Intel leads industry transformation to open data centers and cloud computing

Now, there is EDA software piracy!

SanDisk’s iNAND Extreme family of embedded eMMC storage devices for high-end mobile and tablets

Applied Vantage Vulcan RTP — better side of anneal

Friday, December 30, 2011

Round-up 2011: Best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom

Here's the best of electronics, solar/PV and telecom for the year 2011. Enjoy! ;)

M/H can truly deliver ‘real TV’ experience!

Cisco’s borderless networks architecture help enterprises overcome security challenges

Symantec releases latest Intelligence Report!

Norton cybercrime report 2011: Exposing the true scale!

Cloud deployment trends in APAC: IDC

Very fitting finale to Harry Potter!

XConnect’s VIE set to make video calls as easy as voice calls!

Vision technology can add valuable capabilities to electronic products: Jeff Bier, EVA

Tablets likely to transform ICT industry landscape: Computex 2011

Embedded Vision Alliance (EVA) is born!

Kotura leads the way in silicon photonics!

Aftermath of Japanese earthquake: Implications for global electronics industry!

Disruptions to global electronics supply chain following Japan’s quake!

Japanese quake and tsunami — too devastating to watch on TV!

What’s with attack toolkits and malicious websites?

Global solar PV industry likely to be 22 GW in 2012!

HCPV on way to utility market!

Solar PV industry recommended to stay optimistic; US govt. supports India’s clean energy initiative!

Solarcon India 2011 begins with record exhibitors

PV inverter — innovations and market trends

Solar installations: How long will boom last?

Lessons to learn from Solyndra debacle!

Solar power becoming increasingly affordable: Dr. Charlie Gay

What’s happening with Indian solar/PV industry?

LogMeIn resolving IT challenges due to enterprise mobility!

Microsoft launches developer program for Windows Phone

Lava Mobiles launches classy S12 smartphone!

Steve Jobs: Master of the game!

Telesphere Videoconnect: Videoconferencing in the cloud!

Ether 1.3.1 phone adaptive antenna solution integrates with smartphones!

Wavion offers gamer changer in Wi-Fi offloading

Celebrating the World IPv6 Day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012's semicon sales and sales growth estimates $325.5 billion and 6.9 percent

This is a continuation of my coverage of the fortunes of the global semiconductor industry. I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Cowan, an independent semiconductor analyst and developer of the Cowan LRA model, who has provided me the latest numbers.

We are into the back end of 2011 with just two more months of global semi sales numbers yet to be announced (by WSTS) in order to “wrap up” and finalize year 2011's official, overall semi sales result and the corresponding final sales growth compared to last year “cast in concrete.”

Various industry watchers' sales growth forecast expectations for 2011 are presently ranging from low positive single digits to low negative single digits including the latest Cowan LRA Model's sales growth forecast estimate of 2.1 percent based upon WSTS's October 2011 sales results published at the beginning of December.

Therefore, the soon to be released -- expected on or about Jan. 5th, 2012 -- November sales number in conjunction with exercising the Cowan LRA Model's "look ahead" analysis capability can shed more insight into 2011's final expected sales and sales growth forecast estimates as well as updated 2012 forecast numbers.

Consequently, the "look ahead" scenario analysis summary table shown immediately below nets out the “look-ahead” analysis derived high-level forecast expectations. A write-up providing the details is appended below.Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Video and mobility drivers for global semicon in 2012

While 2011 was generally a year of growth for the global semiconductor industry, 2012 promises to be more volatile, thanks to new macroeconomic issues that will weigh on consumer and IT outlay. The upside is that long-term business trends for semiconductors seem positive, with revenue projected by some industry analysts expected to grow more than twice as fast as global GDP over the next few years.

Global business drivers in 2012
According to Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate VP and MD, Cadence Design Systems (India) Pvt Ltd, the major semiconductor market drivers in 2011 have been apps, video, mobility, cloud computing and green technology, and they will continue to be so into 2012.

As seen over the past year, apps are driving new generations of products. Traditional devices have more functionality than ever before – mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets have the ability to email, tweet, text, browse the web, stream video, take pictures, calendar appointments, and manage your contacts. The pervasiveness of apps are changing the demands on electronic design – this is the basic tenet of the EDA360 vision that Cadence announced in May 2010.

Video drives development of both devices and networks. It is expanding from the television to the smartphone, to media tablets, to your wristwatch. Video is not just used for recreation or entertainment – witness business applications such as videoconferences, surveillance systems, and professional video blogs.

Over the past few years, we have see the consumer’s need for mobility with all their electronic devices – whether a tablet or a gaming console or even in a car. This continues to challenge electronics designers – the need to stay connected all the time is still driving cutting-edge semiconductor design.

Along with mobility, we also want long battery life, light weight, small size, and lots of communications options. This, along with the demand for green technology, is a market driver that makes lots of demands on designers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Future material and devices for power electronics

Alexandre Avron, market analyst in power electronics, Yole Développement, provided a briefing on semiconductor material’s potential through an analysis of devices and systems for power electronics.

According to him, there is still a bright future for silicon. It will keep good market share until at least 2016 and even further, being cost competitive and very standard. On the other side, SiC is more applied to higher voltages. These are the smallest markets, but probably the one requiring SiC properties the most. PV inverters and EV/HEV are at intermediary voltage levels, they could both be targeted by SiC and GaN, this makes the predictions very difficult.

No technical aspects helps in knowing which material will be more used. They have their advantages and drawbacks, and both deserve their place. Prediction must be based on developments advancements. The points to watch about SiC and GaN devices include: samples availability is a main point for future integration, reliability is also a main concern, especially for SiC devices, voltage capability seems to keep GaN at smaller power, and cost: GaN appears to be potentially cheaper, as it is based on Si wafers and can be CMOS compatible.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Xilinx starts shipping Zynq-7000 EPP family!

Xilinx Inc. has announced its first Zynq-7000 Extensible Processing Platform (EPP) shipments to customers. It showcased the first public demonstration of a Zynq-7000 EPP at the ARM European Technical Conference, in Paris, France. where attendees saw the device running a Linux-based application. Xilinx has recently started shipping Zynq, to at least three customers.

The Zynq-7000 family is the world’s first EPP. It combines an industry-standard ARM dual-core Cortex-A9 MPCore processing system with Xilinx 28nm unified programmable logic architecture. This processor-centric architecture delivers a complete embedded processing platform that offers developers ASIC levels of performance and power consumption, the flexibility of an FPGA and the ease of programmability of a microprocessor.Dave Tokic and Lawrence Getman.

Dave Tokic, senior director, partner Ecosystems and Alliances, said the company had made a number of investments. It has adopted a two-pronged approach: focusing on how it developed the ecosystem, and what it could do by itself. "We need a tool flow applicable across all customers. Our technologies are enabling much more complex designs. We are also raising the bar for the EDA providers. We do provide early access to our tools, etc."

Tokic added that the company has also invested a lot in training and certification in India. "Our partners are some very good companies. We have 24 members in our program. Eight of those are certified members." Some of the partner companies include Wipro, TCS, Corel, Mistral, CMC, GDA Technologies (L&T), Mechatronics, etc.

Lawrence Getman, VP of Processing Platforms, added that Xilinx has been seeing how to potentially leverage a cloud. "We are continuing to develop the IP ecosystem. We are also looking to engage expert service needs."

Commenting on developments, Getman said that Xilinx's Virtex-7 series FPGAs are based on high performance low power (HPL) process by TSMC. Xilinx wants to foster more collaborative approach in future for acquiring and working with customers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

IT optimization and database consolidation!

How does an organization kick-start its transformation and achieve an optimized data center ready for the future? Does an organization adopt a futuristic, focused program to achieve immediate wins?

There is a need for CIOs to formulate a winning, if not, a workable strategy! In a white paper titled: "Planning for Tomorrow’s Data Center through Strategic Infrastructure Optimization", Greg Crider, senior director of technology product marketing at Oracle, recommends companies to take a look at their existing IT infrastructure and explore the strongest business needs. The companies can also find out where where its possible to realize immediate business benefits.

For instance, a shared database platform allows IT to get the elasticity they need so they can move resources where the demand is greatest. Standard configurations mean fewer moving parts, which means faster provisioning, notes Willie Hardie VP of database product marketing, Oracle, in the same white paper.

A quick poll on challenges of database consolidation within an organization, done in the same white paper, is interesting. At least 55 percent feel that IT resources are focused on managing the existing systems. However, 41 percent say there is no IT budget to embark on the consolidation project.

According to Crider, IT leaders need to embrace an alternative model, optimized from end-to-end by taking advantage of collective expertise and experiences throughout deployment.

Organizations also face a number of challenges, such as IT resources focused on managing existing systems, limited IT budgets to embark on consolidation projects, and running the risk of compromising enterprise information security. Hence, there is a need for database consolidation.

Benefits of database consolidation
The benefits of database consolidation are huge. According to a survey, 74 percent say it reduces IT costs, while 67 percent say it reduces complexity in the data center. It was found that 29 percent had already consolidated some or all of the databases, and 22 percent had started the process.

Private cloud computing is about consolidation, standardization and rationalization of the hardware, storage and software portfolio,” explains Hardie. As IT leaders move toward transforming data centers, a well-planned database consolidation strategy can help drive toward sustainable success. Similarly, application consolidation also plays a key role in helping IT leaders establish and support manageable environments capable of transforming data centers better prepared for an uncertain future.

Considering the potential benefits associated with application consolidation and optimization, it’s easy to understand why IT leaders are serious about embracing well-crafted plans as a key component of their data center transformation. Of course, IT leaders need to arm themselves with the right tools to overcome the potential obstacles head-on.

Specifically, it’s crucial to start by gaining an understanding of the potential challenges, developing a strategic plan, establishing a well defined end goal, securing senior support early in the process and staying determined throughout the process. That’s the surest route to an optimized infrastructure and a data center designed for the future.

Standardization, virtualization, consolidation, and cloud orchestration capabilities are necessary steps for organizations as they work to improve the application lifecycle management process, explains Mike Palmeter, director of product management with Oracle. IT leaders are starting to realize that even though they could create a list and build a system with the best-of-breed components, there is still a need to account for system efficiency.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Global solar PV industry likely to be 22 GW in 2012!

Here is an outlook for 2012 on the global solar PV industry, done with the assistance of Dr. Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst, IHS iSuppli.

First, the outlook for the global solar PV industry for 2012. According to Dr. Wicht, the bottom up analysis results for the global solar PV industry is at 22 GW. However there is upside potential, e.g., in Italy and China, of a total of 6 GW.

On the same vein, what is the outlook for solar cell production in 2012? He said that based on the 22 GW market, 19.6 GW of cSi cells will be produced in 2012. If the market is growing faster (upside potential), then 24 GW is possible.

Let us now have a look at the current top 15 producers. The graphs here are for global crystalline module producers and global thin film module producers, as of Q2 2011. The data for 2012 will certainly look different.

Fig. 1 is about the crystalline module producers, as of Q2-11, with Suntech the leader at 9.8 percent share. Yingli with 6.8 percent and LDK with 6.4 percent are the next two.Global crystalline module producers Q2-11. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

The others are: Trina Solar 6.2 percent, Canadian Solar 5.2 percent, Sharp 4.6 percent, Jinko 3.7 percent, Hanwha Solar 3.6 percent, Jabil Circuit 3.5 percent, SolarWorld 3.3 percent, REC 3.2 percent, Sunpower and Kyocera with 2.8 percent each, Sanyo Electric 2.5 percent, Bosch Solar 2.4 percent and all of the others at 33.3 percent.

Fig. 2 is about the global thin film module producers, as of Q2 2011, with First Solar as the leader at 45.5 percent share.Global thin film module producers, Q2-11. Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Solar Frontier with 10.5 percent and Sharp with 5.6 percent are the next two. The others are pretty small at the moment, with some of the major ones being Q-Cells with 3 percent, Bosch Solar 1.7 percent, etc. Others constitute 15.5 percent.

Improve cost structure, diversify downstream!
Two years ago, iSuppli had advised: "improve the cost structure, improve the sales side, and diversify downstream." How true does these hold for 2012?

Dr. Wicht said: "This advice remains very valid. Since 2009, nearly all Western players have developed downstream activities. They are using the power plant business to outbalance week demand and to enter into emerging markets.

"The challenge is now at the Chinese players: How do you maintain the high utilization of factories when sales is not visibility and there is no downstream business? PV installations in China are used as a “fast exit”, generating module sales and maintaining utilization (e.g., Yingli)."

Newcomers? And, road to grid parity?
Are the newcomers still having problems in getting the required credit for their projects? Also, are more new players entering, or has there been a cutback? Dr. Wicht said: "The hype of solar has actually cooled down. However, we expect that as soon as profits are just being back, the next wave of investments and expansions will happen. That will lead to the next wave of oversupply."

And, what about a “bumpy road” to grid parity? What's the scenario like for 2012? Dr. Wicht replied: "Grid parity is very close. We will have it in 2012 for the German and Italian residential household. However, we won’t see a “grid parity” PV boom. It will be a smooth transition from subsidized to unsubsidized markets. The challenge is on the PV downstream side: how do you develop PV business models in unsubsidized markets? This will start in 2012 and is forecasted to lead to significant growth by 2014."

Finally, what about HCPV? Dr. Wicht said: "High concentrated PV will remain a niche in 2012 since EU market are not really suited. Soitec/Concentrix has been quite successful with projects in China and South Africa recently, and that’s why it’ll survive."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SuVolta solving power problem in SoCs across multiple CMOS process nodes

SuVolta Inc., based in California, USA, develops and licenses CMOS semiconductor technologies that significantly reduce the power consumption of integrated circuits (ICs). Back in June 2011, introduced the PowerShrink low-power platform and the first licensee, Fujitsu. Thanks to Amanda Crnkovich of The Hoffmann Agency, I interacted with Dr. Scott E. Thompson, CTO, SuVolta, on the deeply depleted channel (DDC) technology that delivers over 50 percent reduction in IC power consumption, while maintaining performance.

What's DDC technology all about?
First, I asked Dr. Thompson what the DDC technology is all about? He said that SuVolta’s PowerShrink platform in planar, bulk CMOS provides dramatic improvements in variability and device performance, and is compatible with existing CMOS processes. It integrates using conventional fabrication equipment and materials, and enables the reuse of existing circuit IP infrastructure. SuVolta is focusing on solving the power problem in system-on-chips (SoCs) across multiple CMOS process technology nodes.

He added: "SuVolta’s DDC transistor reduces threshold voltage (VT) variability and enables continued CMOS scaling. The structure works by forming a deeply depleted channel when a voltage is applied to the gate. In a typical implementation the DDC channel has several regions – an undoped or very lightly doped region, a VT setting offset region and a screening region. Each implementation of SuVolta’s DDC transistor may vary depending on the wafer fabrication facility and specific chip design requirements."

The DDC transistor has a much tighter distribution of threshold voltages. In addition, DDC transistors allow for the setting of multiple VTs, which is vital for today’s low-power products.

"Perhaps, the biggest benefit is in embedded SRAM memory blocks. For most chips, lowering supply voltage is limited by the SRAM. However, with a DDC transistor, conventional 6T SRAMs have been demonstrated operating below 500 milli Volts. This is significant as it is amongst the lowest voltage ever reported in a standard embedded SRAM," added Dr. Thompson.

Impact on reducing IC power consumption in devices
So, what impact will all of this have on reducing IC power consumption in devices, such as smartphones, tablets, etc.? While the increased density in transistors enables more features for all types of devices, power has now become the biggest issue in semiconductors. This “power impasse” is critical or two reasons:

* Excessive power consumption limits battery life for mobile devices, and causes huge electricity bills for server farms.
* Devices are hitting their thermal (heat) limit, thus preventing more capabilities from being added. Power consumption directly creates heat. This is becoming a major problem in mobile devices, which have very strict thermal limits. To hit thermal limits, chip makers must forego adding additional content, or “throttle” the chip back to a slower speed.

The impact of excess power on consumers is profound: shorter battery life, lower-content mobile devices - fewer features and/or slower performance, higher electronics costs because transistors hit their scaling limit because of power, excessive energy bills and an increased global demand for energy.

Dr. Thompson added: "SuVolta’s PowerShrink platform enables semiconductor firms to cut chip power in half without sacrificing performance, losing functionality, or migrating to a more advanced, and costly, semiconductor process node. And, it does so using planar, bulk CMOS, and does not require development of new manufacturing facilities or IP blocks."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Update to Cowan LRA model’s global semicon forecast numbers 2011/2012

This is a continuation of my coverage of the fortunes of the global semiconductor industry. I would like to acknowledge and thank Mike Cowan, an independent semiconductor analyst and developer of the Cowan LRA model, who has provided me the latest numbers.

The WSTS posted the October 2011 HBR on Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2011. Consequently, based upon the latest sales numbers availability (through Oct 2011), Cowan has generated updated sales and sales growth forecast numbers for 2011 and 2012 as summarized in the table here:Sources: WSTS & Cowan LRA Forecasting Model (Dec. 2011).

Major high level result: The forecasted sales and sales growth expectations for both 2011 and 2012 have continued to systematically decrease over the past seven month’s predictions put forth by the Cowan LRA forecast model as highlighted in the table below:Source: Monthly Cowan LRA Forecasting Model.

The following table, given below, summarizes/compares the recent (last two) forecast pronouncements by the indicated forecasters.Source: Cowan LRA model, USA.

Monday, December 5, 2011

HCPV on way to utility market!

According to Dr. Milan Rosina, Yole Developpement, high concentration PV (HCPV) does not follow the same way as PV. Adapted applications and installations in suitable regions are necessary. There are synergies between HCPV, LED, automotive and PV industries. New market entrants could help in the business development Dr. Rosina was speaking at an HCPV seminar organized by Yole.

He added that more than 80 companies are currently working in developing HCPV technology. Over 30 firms are developing new modules and systems. Large-scale installations are underway. There is said to be a large potential for the LCOE cost decrease. Positive track record from the large-scale installation could significantly improve the bankability of HCPV systems. However, strong competition with flat-module PV will remain.

Earlier, touching upon solar electricity generation and HCPV at a glance, he said that cells based on III-V materials have currently the best efficiencies, both in laboratory and in industrial production. A world record efficiency of 43.5 percent under concentrated light was obtained in 2011 by Solar Junction of USA. Commercially available cells are produced by Spectrolab of USA, Emcore of USA and Azur Space of Germany that reach 39-40 percent efficiency.

III-V cells have been used since 1997 to power satellites in space. They are too expensive to be used in standard terrestrial applications. Therefore, these are combined in terrestrial applications with light concentration systems in order to increase the efficiency and to decrease the cost per watt. The interest of HCPV is to use only a small amount of III-V material and to concentrate the light onto very efficient cells.

Drivers and barriers
Marker drivers and advantages of HCPV include high power production (MWh/y per watt installed) in high DNI areas due to high system efficiency, sun tracking, amd low temperature coefficient. There is reduced consumption of (costly) semiconductor material due to the use of optical concentrating system. Other advantages include system modularity, ,inimal water use, low environmental impact, promising LCOE potential in the high DNI areas, and large potential for efficiency increase and cost reduction.

As for market barriers, HCPV is still a niche market. There are geographical limitations for installations (high DNI required). It is best adapted for ground-mounted power plants only. There is high system price to contend with, as well as low product maturity and lack of standards and independent track records. Finally, there is competition with all electricity sources, especially with CSP and PV.

HCPV systems are targeting the utility market, e.g. electricity production on a large scale. An HCPV system is a multicomponent and multidisciplinary system.

System components include solar cell, receiver module, concentrating optics and HCPV module. High-precision assembly of all elements into the module is the key factor for reaching full module and system performance. The tracking system is equally important.

Emerging market
Before the end of 2010, there were over 50 HCPV installations. Most installations were in 10-kW or 100-kW range only. The biggest HCPV installation before 2011 used HCPV modules with high efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells (Amonix/Guascor Foton). The cumulative volume of all installed HCPV systems based on III-V cells was around 15MW at the end of 2010, e.g. less than 0.05 percent of the PV total installed volume (~40GW). These were mostly test and prototype installations, and therefore, received some additional funding that enabled these projects.

The market is likely to take off during 2011-2018. According to Yole, in 2011 the new installed HCPV capacity will be approx. 38 MW. The HCPV market will continue to grow and the annual installed capacity will reach 1,020 MW in 2018.

There has been a move to use larger 6-inch substrates in order to decrease the cell costs. This transition will be done progressively depending on the HCPV market size and the manufacturing complexity of the cells with new designs.

Forecast of market share increase for 6” wafers in the HCPV industry.Source: Yole Développement, 2011.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Global semiconductor industry keeps consolidating; 28nm will be stable: Dr. Wally Rhines

The global semiconductor industry keeps consolidating, said Dr. Walden (Wally) Rhines, while making the keynote presentation at the ongoing Mentor Graphics' U2U conference in Bangalore, India.

According to a survey, the no. 1's market share has been relatively flat since 1972. The combined share of the top five semiconductor companies has been nearly the same as that of 1972. However, the share of the top 10 companies has been nearly the same but less than the historical average. If you look at the numbers, it is also evident that Texas Instruments' (TI) acquisition of National Semiconductors has had negligible impact. Also, the market share of the top 50 semiconductor companies continues to decline, especially in the last decade.

The answer lies in the fact that manufacturing is consolidating, while semiconductor is not! Foundries share of semiconductor revenue has increased. The share of total IC production has been flat. However, foundry capex has tripled over the last two years. Also, 28nm/32nm capacity has been sold out, and prices rising have been put on top of the next slide. Foundries are likely to revamp and record the highest market share of the 28nm/20nm market. Foundry spending is said to be at an all time high as percentage of total capex.

There have been significant design changes. In fact, 28nm has now become the 'work horse' technology. There have been high yields and at lower costs. The accelerated design activity has seen redesign take advantage of smalller node efficiencies. So, how can you prepare? Perhaps, do more design in less time, and use the same resources. Or, you could do less of power devices.

Significant changes are now coming in design. Because of 2010/2011 capital expenditures, 28/20nm semiconductor technology will become a major “work horse” compared to previous technology generations. Plenty of wafers will be available from silicon foundries. Yields will be high and costs will be low. As a result, design activity will accelerate beginning in late 2012 to take advantage of the 28nm capability and capacity. Favorable costs and yields will cause semiconductor companies to redesign 180/130/90/65/45nm products into 28/20nm versions while adding functionality. Totally new applications will emerge because of the 28/20nm capability and cost, thus growing the semiconductor market in 2014+.

Implications of plentiful 28/20nm foundry capacity include: 28nm will become “work horse” technology. There will be high yields and low costs, as well as an accelerated design activity. Redesigns will take advantage of smaller node cost efficiencies. New designs will leverage the additional transistors.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Synopsys acquires Magma! And, another one bites the dust!!

Wow! Yesterday, Synopsys signed a definitive agreement to acquire Magma Design Automation Inc. This news is interesting, and not surprising. This acquisition seemed to be on the cards, but at least, not so soon. Nevertheless!

So, that leaves Synopsys, Cadence and Mentor Graphics as the big three EDA vendors, now that Magma has been acquired.

Just a couple of months back, I was in discussion with Rajeev Madhavan, chairman and CEO, Magma, regarding Silicon One technology solutions on the sidelines of MUSIC India. Magma had outlined five technologies: Talus, Tekton, Titan, FineSim and Excalibur and expected to have the opportunity to be a dominant yield management company.

Where has all of this gone, one wonders! It can safely be assumed that the Silicon One series can very well go on, now under the guidance of Synopsys. However, it will only add up to boosting the revenues of Synopsys in the long run.

Some time ago, one thought that the EDA industry was having four big players. Now, there are three. In between, there was news such as Cadence trying to acquire Mentor Graphics, which did not happen. Even Magma seemed to be doing fine, at least, till 2006-07.

Thereafter, it has been a slightly different story, with not only the CEO leaving Magma India, and some changes in the Indian management team, as well as certain MUSIC India events with less attendances, and so on. One can accept these as the part and parcel for any industry/organization.

On Magma's website, there is a statement from Madhavan, which says: "Magma and Synopsys have always shared a common goal of enabling chip designers to improve performance, area and power while reducing turnaround time and costs on complex ICs," said Rajeev Madhavan, CEO of Magma. "By joining forces now we can ensure that chip designers have access to the advanced technology they need for silicon success at 28, 20 nanometer and below."

All the best to both Synopsys and Magma!