Monday, November 30, 2009

Actel extends Core8051s processor support to RTAX, Axcelerator and IGLOO families

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Continuing to deliver solutions for embedded designers, Actel Corp. today announced that it has extended Core8051s support for its line of high-reliability Axcelerator , radiation-tolerant RTAX and low-power IGLOO FPGAs.

By broadening Core8051s support, Actel enables designers developing high reliability, space-flight or portable embedded designs to take advantage of the strong ecosystem and deep code base that exists for 8051-based processors while simultaneously leveraging the flexibility advantages delivered by Actel FPGAs.

Core8051s is an ASM51-compatible 8-bit microcontroller core that runs programs written for the industry standard 8051. The external SFR interface normally present on 8051 microcontrollers is replaced in Core8051s by an advanced peripheral bus (APB) v3.0 interface.

Designers can use Core8051 to instantiate the main 8051 core logic in Actel FPGA fabric, and via the APB v3.0 bus interface they can easily connect any APB IP peripherals. In addition, designers can now customize their design with only the peripheral functions (timers, UARTs, I/O ports) required for their application, optimizing area and freeing FPGA fabric for additional custom digital circuitry.

With the introduction of this 8-bit microprocessor, Actel expands the range of microprocessor options for designers in several different application areas. For designers of low-power systems, the 8051s offers a low-cost, low-power complement to the ARM Cortex(TM)-M1 32-bit microprocessor.

For designers of space-flight systems and other high-reliability applications, the 8051s adds a small footprint complement to the successful and popular LEON3-FT 32-bit processor, which currently is acquiring space-flight heritage in Actel RTAX2000S FPGAs. Core8051s is already seeing deployment in designs targeting RTAX-S space-flight FPGAs.

Key features:
* High-performance 8-bit microcontroller
* 1 clock per instruction
* ASM51 (8051, 8031, 80C51) compatible
* Can be used with existing 8051 tools and code
* APB bus peripheral interface
* Optional MUL, DIV, DA instructions; can be removed if not used to further reduce core size
* Optional OCI debug block
* Core8051s continues to support low-power ProASIC®3 and Actel Fusion® mixed-signal FPGA families.

Core8051s is available free of charge with Actel's Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE), using Actel's SmartDesign IP design canvas tool. Libero IDE can be downloaded and installed directly from Actel's website.

The Actel Libero IDE Gold edition is available for Windows XP or Vista free of charge. The Actel Libero IDE Platinum edition is available for Windows and Linux platforms for $2,495. All editions are one-year renewable licenses.

TI intros lowest power 250-MSPS 14-bit ADC

DALLAS, USA: Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) today introduced the first in a new class of high-speed analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) delivering ultra-low power consumption and excellent dynamic performance across wide signal bandwidths from DC up to 550 MHz.

At the maximum sample rate of 250 mega samples per second (MSPS), the 14-bit ADS4149 consumes 30 percent less power, while delivering 3-dB greater signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) than the nearest low-power ADC. This combination of power and performance enables greater efficiency and density while enhancing range and sensitivity in defense, test and measurement, and communications applications.

"Designers of wide-bandwidth applications are challenged to deliver smaller, more portable systems with increased efficiency, while still meeting the highest performance specifications," said Art George, senior vice president of TI's High-Performance Analog business unit.

"This new class of ADCs sets low power benchmarks and allows designers to create denser and more compact systems that extend battery life in radios and test equipment."

Key features and benefits of ADS4149
* ADS4149 consumes as little as 275 mW per channel at 250 MSPS, while offering 72.5-dB SNR at 100-MHz input frequency. Dynamic power scaling reduces power consumption to 215 mW at 160 MSPS.
* Optional buffered analog input provides constant input impedance across time and frequency and eliminates sample-and-hold kickback, simplifying input matching for passive and active analog front ends, while reducing pass band ripple.
* A 1- to 6-dB programmable gain option gives customers flexibility to trade off between SNR and spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) with lowered input voltage swing.
* ADS4149 family includes pin-compatible 12- and 14-bit options at 160 and 250 MSPS and buffered devices to enable customers to easily move to lower resolutions and samples rates without altering their core design.
* Migration path from the ADS6149 allows customers to shift to lower power options.
* TI's TSW1200 digital capture tool facilitates rapid analysis of the ADS4149 evaluation module (EVM). Available high-speed mezzanine connector (HSMC) and FPGA mezzanine connector (FMC) allow ADS4149 EVMs to mate to FPGA EVMs for system-level prototyping to speed development time.

Customers can further speed time-to-market with a complete signal chain for software defined radio and test equipment: dual, 16-bit, 1-GSPS digital-to-analog converter (DAC) (DAC5682Z); wideband, fully differential amplifier (THS4509); programmable digital up and down converter (GC5016); digital pre-distortion solution with crest factor reduction (GC5325); direct quadrature modulator (TRF3703); frequency synthesizer (TRF3761); low-jitter clock generator and synchronizer (CDCE62005, CDCE72010); and high-performance digital signal processors (DSP) (TMS320C6472).

The ADS4149 and companion single configuration parts are available today in a 48-pin QFN package. The ADS4149 is priced at $89 in 1,000-unit quantities. Multi-channel options will be available in 1H2010.

AWR, AMPSA bring multimatch amplifier design technology to Microwave office

EL SEGUNDO, USA & CENTURION, SOUTH AFRICA: AWR, the innovation leader in high-frequency electronic design automation (EDA), and AMPSA, supplier of RF and microwave amplifier design software, today announced a relationship that enables AWR to incorporate AMPSA’s Multimatch amplifier design technology as an optional module into its industry-leading Microwave Office® high-frequency design software.

By making the Multimatch Amplifier Design Wizard (Multimatch ADW) readily available to Microwave Office software users, designers gain ready access to design technology for realizing state-of-the-art, high dynamic range RF and microwave amplifiers (class A and class B).

“The power of Multimatch software comes from its specialized structure and powerful real-world synthesis, analysis, optimization, and artwork capabilities,” said Pieter Abrie, founder of AMPSA. “Incorporating Multimatch as a pre-processor to AWR’s RF and microwave circuit simulator offers a complete, robust, and comprehensive design environment for amplifier designers.”

“The inclusion of the Multimatch ADW in the AWR product portfolio mix streamlines the design flow and improves the efficiency of the user,” said Sherry Hess, vice president of marketing at AWR. ”This partnership continues our ongoing strategy of providing best-in-class tools and technologies that improve the overall design experience of our customers and help them get their products to market quickly.”

Virage Logic announces Sonic Focus Adaptive Volume for PCs, DTVs, game consoles and telephony products

FREMONT, USA: Virage Logic Corp., the semiconductor industry's trusted IP partner, today announced the availability of its new Sonic Focus Adaptive Volume audio volume normalizing software.

Adaptive Volume normalizes audio levels of movies and music to reduce the need for frequent volume adjustments by the consumer and thereby enhances audio performance in consumer electronics. It has already been licensed for use in PCs, Phone Applications and USB peripherals.

Unlike other normalization techniques, Virage Logic’s Sonic Focus Adaptive Volume employs a predictive algorithm based on human perception of loudness. Adaptive Volume seamlessly adjusts the audio level when switching among DTV programs, movies, music and voice, both reducing uncomfortable loudness and boosting soft audio content.

For example, Adaptive Volume detects and corrects any volume fluctuation between a digital television (DTV) program and a commercial advertisement. Adaptive Volume also adjusts PC audio when a user transitions from a VoIP call to watching internet based content, a DVD or Blu-ray movie or listening to music.

Consumer electronics manufacturers can implement Adaptive Volume with the full range of Virage Logic’s Sonic Focus audio enrichment products to shorten time-to-market and time-to-volume of products that give consumers unsurpassed audio enjoyment. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can also benefit from using the Sonic Focus product mastering tools and audio enrichment IP provided by Virage Logic.

These unique tools allow companies to customize audio quality and the magnitude of the volume normalizing effect, thus optimizing the whole audio chain, including audio transducers, speaker cavity and industrial design. This entire tool set provides companies with the ability to produce the very best audio quality and consumer experience in end products such as DTV and PCs.

“Consumers have been challenged by volume level changes for some time, especially with devices that access content on the internet. We see a clear need in the market for a solution that not only smoothes out audio volume levels, regardless of the source of the materials, but also does not crush the audio dynamics inherent in the content,” said Michael Franzi, vice president and general manager of Virage Logic’s Sonic Focus Group.

“Consumer electronics device manufacturers will now be able to easily integrate Adaptive Volume audio IP into multimedia products such as all-in-one PCs, laptops, DTVs, mobile devices and game consoles to differentiate their products and provide consumers a more pleasant and natural listening experience.”

Consumers demand better access to multimedia content on portable devices, but at zero device cost premium

SUNNYVALE, USA & FLEET, ENGLAND: Users of mobile computing and portable communications devices want to access more multimedia content, but are being held back by the lack of availability of low-cost, converged functionality devices, according to the results of a survey conducted by ABI Research on behalf of Mirics Semiconductor.

The survey results also highlight that while users of portable consumer electronics (CE) devices have a clear vision of the increased functionality they would like from their device, they are not prepared to pay a price premium for these added features.

The research, which was recently conducted among 1000 adults in the USA, UK and Japan who regularly use a mobile CE device, such as a notebook computer or smart phone, revealed consumer interest in a wide variety of services that all rely on differing wireless communication technologies.

Global Positioning System (GPS) location-based services, Wi-Fi Internet connection and the ability to receive live TV content were among the most frequent functional requests in consumers’ future devices, as was the ability to easily transfer large files wirelessly. Unsurprisingly, faster Internet access was the most popular choice.

Consumers in all regions expressed general satisfaction with the physical aspects of their existing primary device: overall size, weight and screen size were judged ‘just right’ by the majority. The implication is that manufacturers are catering successfully to the needs of most users in this area.

Two thirds of those surveyed already have a Wi-Fi enabled mobile device, and the majority of the remainder expressed interest in using it in a future device. More than 50% of the respondents would like to use their mobile device as an ‘electronic wallet’ to pay for, for example, retail goods and public transport services. A mobile device equipped with NFC (Near Field Communication) wireless technology would support such functionality.

Over 40 percent of respondents are accessing more content than a year ago. The most commonly cited reason for this is that their current device has the features that enable easier access to multimedia content. In addition, 43 percent of the sample had accessed live TV or video on demand (VoD) on their mobile device.

Looking forward, 82 percent of respondents predicted they would be accessing more or at least the same content on their mobile devices in one year’s time compared to their current usage. When asked what type of mobile content they would like that they cannot or do not access now, the most popular request was to receive live TV, followed by VoD.

Those interested in receiving live TV indicated they would be prepared to pay on average $5-8 per month for the service. However, when asked how much extra they would be prepared to pay for a new primary mobile device assuming it had all the features and functionality they wanted, the most common response – given by 40 percent of those surveyed – was nothing, and only 16 percent of all respondents were prepared to pay up to $25 for this functionality.

Kevin Burden, Mobile Device Director, ABI Research, commented: "This survey has shown that consumers on the whole are happy with the form factor of their mobile devices, and are now most interested in the available functional capabilities of these devices.

"Strikingly, the survey suggests that whilst consumers are willing to pay a modest premium to access a particular service, the majority are not prepared to pay an appreciable amount in terms of higher device cost for this additional functionality. This reveals the pressure on portable CE device manufacturers to deliver converged functionality without raising costs.”

Chet Babla, Marcom Director, Mirics Semiconductor, added: “Wi-Fi, GPS, streamed audio and video content, NFC and live TV all require different wireless technologies to be supported in portable devices to deliver the multimedia experience that consumers want. The challenge for device developers is to support these multiple wireless technologies without significantly impacting end-product price.

"Innovative approaches such as software-based modems - whereby key wireless functional blocks conventionally implemented in silicon hardware are replaced with the flexibility of software - will be crucial to achieving this convergence at an acceptable cost point.”

Silex provides Atheros AR6002 802.11a/b/g wireless SDIO modules for low-power, ultra-compact embedded solutions

SALT LAKE CITY, USA: Silex Technology America Inc., a global leader in product networking solutions, today announced two products that support 802.11a/b/g wireless technology. The products are the SX-SDPAG, a surface mount module, and the SX-SDCAG, a SDIO card module.

These products are among the first Atheros AR6002-based wireless-SDIO solutions to be delivered to the market. They are designed for OEMs who need a highly compact wireless radio/baseband solution with low power consumption.

As an Atheros Authorized Design Center (AADC), Silex can provide turnkey integration services for these products, ranging from hardware design and manufacturing to driver and supplicant development support.

The core wireless solutions are based on an Atheros AR6002 single-chip design. Silex solutions include all major components necessary to implement 802.11a/b/g wireless connectivity including a radio, baseband processor, power amplifier, low pass filter, band pass filter, crystal and a built-in EEPROM. The AR6002’s power-efficient chip design draws very low standby power and has nominal impact on battery life even in active mode.

The SX-SDPAG is designed to be directly mounted to an OEM’s printed circuit board, while SX-SDCAG comes in an SD card form factor. Both solutions are desirable for adding cost-effective wireless connectivity in low power, battery operated, mobile devices such as medical devices and mobile printers.

According to a recent report by ABI Research, the global market for Wi-Fi-enabled healthcare products will grow by 70 percent over the next five years, to an estimated $4.9 billion in 2014. The ongoing initiative for healthcare reform from the U.S. government is expected to further accelerate adoption of wireless technologies in various healthcare mobile applications.

"These two new products further enhance our ability to support the growing demand for wireless and mobile devices in various arenas including the medical industry,” said David Smith, president of Silex Technology America.

"Our customers are typically OEMs who service markets that leverage the wireless technology found in PCs, PDAs and mobile phones with much lower annual volumes. Our role is to ensure that such niche segments are adequately offered the latest Atheros technology together with our unique software options."

Eric Cheong, senior director of sales for Atheros, said, "Over the past five years, Silex has demonstrated valuable wireless software know-how by delivering a number of breakthrough solutions using Atheros products. Silex’s unique offering combined with flexible hardware supply capabilities will help us further expand our global customer base."

SX-SDPAG and SX-SDCAG are expected to be available for shipping in late December 2009.

SEMATECH researchers to unveil next-generation device and process breakthroughs at IEDM

AUSTIN & ALBANY, USA: Engineers from SEMATECH’s Front End Processes (FEP) program will present technical papers revealing research breakthroughs at the 55th annual IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) from December 7-9, 2009, at the Hilton in Baltimore, MD.

SEMATECH experts will report on low defect density high-k gate stacks for alternative III-V channel materials and non-planar devices, and discuss a new dry etch approach to minimize etch related leakage—a significant process technology advancement for next-generation logic and memory technologies.

“SEMATECH continues to make critical contributions to materials and process technology advancements for next-generation logic and memory devices. The industry is always looking for cost-effective technical solutions that are practical for manufacturing and SEMATECH’s front-end engineers are working to find new ways to extend CMOS in existing markets and to create opportunities for new emerging applications,” said Raj Jammy, SEMATECH’s vice president of materials and emerging technologies.

“We are excited to share our research results with the technical community at the IEDM, which has always been a premier forum for sharing breakthrough developments in materials and process technologies for transistor and memory scaling.”

Additionally, SEMATECH will host an invitational pre-conference workshop entitled “Emerging Technologies in Solid State Devices” from December 5-6.

The two-day workshop will focus on technical and manufacturing challenges affecting emerging memory technologies, energy-efficient devices, and III-V channel materials in CMOS devices. Co-sponsored by Tokyo Electron Ltd and Aixtron AG, the workshop will feature experts from industry and academia debating the challenges and opportunities in these areas in a series of presentations and panel discussions.

Wintegra announces sampling of WinPath3 processor family

AUSTIN, USA: Strengthening their processor offering, Wintegra announced today that their third generation processor family, the WinPath3, is now sampling to selected customers around the world. This new processor significantly extends Wintegra’s reach in the access infrastructure.

It offers performance 5 times that of the previous generation of Wintegra processors and provides the foundation for market leading products in Wireless Base Stations, Mobile Backhaul including IP and microwave, and broadband access.

Wintegra also has the broadest set of production quality software and extensive collateral and design assistance enabling rapid time to market for WinPath based infrastructure solutions.

“Wintegra, a perennial leader in the access processor market, has significantly broadened its product offering with the WinPath3 family,” said Bob Wheeler, Senior Analyst at The Linley Group. “With its strong software offering, and now with a 5 times increase in performance over its previous generation devices, Wintegra has compelling and scalable solutions for Mobile Backhaul, LTE Base Stations, and Carrier Ethernet.”

“The availability of WinPath3 is a significant milestone for Wintegra," said Kobi Ben-Zvi, Founder and Wintegra CEO. “Our vision to become the market leader in access infrastructure processing plus our continuous investment in protocol processing software and high performance, low power family of processors has resulted in a wide range of system solutions unmatched in our marketplace.”

WinPath3 devices are sampling now to major Tier 1 customers, with production qualified devices to be available in 2Q 2010. WinPath3 based Development Systems are available as well.

Oct. chip sales up 5.1 percent from September: SIA

SAN JOSE, USA: Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose to $21.7 billion in October, a 5.1 percent increase from September when sales were $20.6 billion, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported today.

Sales are 3.5 percent below October 2008 when sales were $22.5 billion. Sales for the first 10 months of 2009 were $180.0 billion, a decline of 16.6 percent from the like period of 2008 when sales were $215.8 billion. All monthly sales numbers represent a three-month moving average of global semiconductor sales.

“October is historically a strong month for the semiconductor industry as electronic equipment manufacturers ramp production for the holiday season. Inventory management throughout the supply chain has been very tight, and this may extend the fourth-quarter build season by a few weeks,” Scalise continued.

“As semiconductor sales are increasingly driven by the performance of the overall global economy our sales are reflecting the improved economic conditions in our world markets. Sales increased sequentially in all geographic regions,” Scalise concluded.Source: SIA, USA

SiliconBlue Technologies first new FPGA company to ship in production volume in 20 Years

SANTA CLARA, USA: SiliconBlue Technologies, a leader in ultra-low power, single-chip, SRAM FPGAs, today announced that it has shipped production-volume quantities of its iCE65 mobileFPGA devices to more than 10 customers.

This makes SiliconBlue Technologies the first new programmable logic solutions company in over 20 years to achieve this milestone. The achievement comes as the market for highly-integrated, extremely-low power mobile applications such as feature phones, eBook readers, MIDs (mobile internet devices), and DSCs (digital still cameras) has begun explosive growth.

“As we move through the design-in process with customers, it’s apparent that our mobileFPGA devices are providing the right solution at the right time,” said Kapil Shankar, CEO of SiliconBlue. “Much as the growth of traditional FPGAs was driven by the telecom boom of the 1990’s, the growth of mobileFPGA devices is being driven by the rate of innovation in today’s exploding mobile consumer market.”

The rapid adoption of SiliconBlue’s mobileFPGA family is based on its unmatched ability to meet consumers demand for converging functions on portable battery-operated devices.

It is often difficult for hardware designers of products like feature phones and eBooks to meet this demand because of the constrained space, power and cost requirements they face. In addition, the various semiconductor products that they use are not necessarily designed to work together.

By offering high capacity, low power, small packages, and ASIC-like prices, the iCE65 mobileFPGA family delivers the time-to-market benefit of programmable logic solutions to a new and emerging market. They are enabling the creation of seamless new solutions.

Built on TSMC’s standard 65nm low-power CMOS process, SiliconBlue’s iCE65 devices are single-chip, reconfigurable, SRAM-based devices that incorporate the company’s proprietary NVCM (Non-Volatile Configuration Memory) technology. NVCM eliminates the need for an external flash PROM, making them a true ASIC alternative.

Devices are available in the most advanced small-form-factor packaging, including the industry’s first and only Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WLCSP). SiliconBlue’s complete design environment includes the iCEcube VHDL and Verilog-based development software, and the iCEman evaluation kit.

In addition, the company works closely with its supply partners to meet the highest levels of product quality and production readiness.

AMCC becomes AppliedMicro

SUNNYVALE, USA: Applied Micro Circuits Corp., a global leader in energy conscious computing and communications solutions, today announced its new name as AppliedMicro to reflect the company’s drive for breakthrough energy efficiency and cost optimized semiconductor devices that will propel the company into new growth markets.

In keeping with the 30-year AMCC heritage as an innovator in high-speed connectivity and high performance embedded processing, AppliedMicro will remain dedicated to its customers in the telco, datacenter and enterprise markets, while increasing market share by striving to reduce the power consumption of its products by as much as 50 percent.

“While higher performance continues to be an industry driver, energy efficiency will play a more prominent role in the design considerations and purchasing decisions for our customers in the data center and telecommunications industries,” said Dr. Paramesh Gopi, President and Chief Executive Officer of AppliedMicro.

“We are driving fundamental technology innovation that will radically lower the energy consumption of enterprise, datacenter and small business systems while simultaneously providing significant cost savings. Our computing and communications silicon solutions will have pioneering performance and the lowest power footprint in their class.”

Under the new name, AppliedMicro will leverage its substantial intellectual property, patent portfolio and engineering resources to pursue aggressive migration to advanced manufacturing processes and design techniques for its semiconductor devices that lead the market in optical transport, network switches and, routers, data center and enterprise systems.

A migration to open foundry manufacturing for AppliedMicro’s Power Architecture microprocessor line is also one example of the company’s drive toward low-power devices that will enable the company to achieve lower costs for its products and open up design opportunities for consumer and small-to-medium business systems.

In addition, new design centers in India and Vietnam will assist the company in bringing advanced hardware and software solutions to market as most of the company’s engineering resources remain at its Sunnyvale headquarters.

“Growth in both the embedded systems and communications infrastructure markets are predicted at fairly robust growth rates over the next five years according to IDC research,” said Shane Rau, industry analyst for IDC. “Integrated circuits for systems in this market that feature low heat dissipation levels are drawing higher interest because a major industry goal is to reduce data center operating costs by using less air conditioning.”

“Our plan to rapidly migrate our IC designs to 40-nanometer and 28-nanometer manufacturing processes is a key part of our strategy to introduce the most advanced, power efficient devices on the market,” Gopi said.

“We are breaking new ground by applying mobile and handheld design techniques to telecommunications and infrastructure silicon solutions, producing unprecedented energy efficiencies without compromising performance. Applied Micro will set new standards for low-power ultra-high performance processors, framers, mappers, physical layer and optical datacenter devices that will drive a new era of energy efficient infrastructure.”

The shift to the AppliedMicro name began when Gopi assumed the executive leadership of the company in January after serving for one year as the chief operating officer.

The company sold its 3ware storage system division so that it could concentrate on its fabless semiconductor business model. New executive leadership was also brought in to help the company focus on advances in microprocessor and transport development. The company’s legal name remains Applied Micro Circuits Corporation and its ticker symbol on the NASDAQ exchanges remains AMCC.

MoSys' silicon proven 40nm DDR3 and DDR3/2 combo PHYs with support for datarates up to 2133 Mbps

SUNNYVALE, USA: MoSys Inc., a leading supplier of high-density embedded memory and high-datarate parallel and serial interface IP, today announced the availability of its silicon-proven DDR3 and DDR3/2 combo PHYs.

MoSys’ fully-integrated solution complies with the latest DFI specification and provides the physical layer (PHY) interface between the controller logic and DDR3/2 DRAM devices. The DDR3/2 PHYs can achieve datarates up to 1600Mbps in a wirebond package and 2133Mbps in flip chip packaging, making them well-suited for both high -performance and cost-sensitive designs.

“Our high-performance memory controllers and predictable protocol verification portfolio are the industry’s most widely used, silicon-proven solutions,” said David Lin, Vice President of Marketing at Denali Software Inc. “MoSys' DDR3/2 Combo PHY extends our ability to provide best-in-class, end-to-end memory interconnect solutions to our mutual customers.”

“DDR3 is rapidly gaining adoption as the next generation of the DDR memory interface,” said David DeMaria, Vice President of Business Operations at MoSys. "The availability of our DDR3/2 Combo PHY and its seamless interoperability with Denali’s Memory Controller ensures speedy time-to-market for our customers’ chip designs."

"The high speed interface requirements for our ASICs are demanding," said Anil Mankar, Senior Vice President of VLSI Engineering for Mindspeed Technologies. “We selected the DDR3 solution from MoSys because it precisely met our requirements."

MoSys’ DFI 2.1 compliant DDR 3/2 PHY product is available to chip designers using 40nm and 65nm processes. MoSys’s DDR 3/2 Combo PHY solution is available in both wirebond and flipchip configurations. Offering a choice of 1.8V or 2.5V IO FETs, the DDR PHYs support datarates up to 2133Mbps.

Kilopass appoints Juan Chapa as VP of Worldwide Sales

SANTA CLARA, USA: Kilopass Technology, a leading provider of semiconductor logic non-volatile memory (NVM) intellectual property (IP), today announced the appointment of Juan Chapa as Vice President of Worldwide Sales, effective immediately.

“I am thrilled to welcome Juan to our executive team,” said Charlie Cheng, CEO of Kilopass Technology. “2009 was a tough year for Kilopass, but with a tremendous team effort in the second half of the year, we were able to double our business compared to 2008. Juan’s leadership will ensure that we capitalize on the business momentum and continue to grow. He brings with him extensive semiconductor IP business experience and a strong network of relationships to expand Kilopass’ footprint.”

Juan Chapa has over 15 years of experience in semiconductor OEM and Distribution sales, including seven years in the semiconductor IP space. He was Senior Director of North America sales at Artisan/ARM, and most recently, Juan was North America VP of Sales at Tensilica where his team drove 55 percent of the Tensilica’s total revenue.

He has also held various management positions at Mosel/Vitelic Semi, Cypress Semi, Wyle Labs, and Xeorx Corp.

“I’m excited to join the Kilopass team,” said the new VP of Worldwide sales, Juan Chapa. “Kilopass has a loyal customer base, proven product, and an exciting roadmap. I'm confident that together with the management team we can exceed our sales plan for 2010.”

Virtutech expands international growth by opening China subsidiary

SAN JOSE, USA: Virtutech Inc., the leader in virtualized systems development (VSD), today announced that it has established a subsidiary in China to support its expanding customers and partners.

Based in Shanghai, Virtutech Ltd. will provide a direct channel to regional businesses and enhance support for existing Simics customers in the Asia Pacific market. Virtutech Ltd. is part of the company’s continuing global expansion strategy, and reflects its commitment to deliver the most advanced virtual platform and simulation-based solution to OEM and semiconductor companies who recognize that virtualization of development is the necessary breakthrough to overcome technical and business challenges.

“Virtutech Ltd. extends our commitment to supporting Simics users and partners throughout China,” said Greg Lund, vice president, Asia Pacific Region, Virtutech, Inc. “Our comprehensive approach to electronics systems design, and to driving the adoption of VSD will lower project risk and improve the quality of software products in the thriving Chinese market.”

Virtutech has been growing its business in China since 2007, when it partnered with several Chinese and American based companies and organizations, including, Freescale, Huawei,, RMI, Tensilica, Vision Microsystems and Wind River.

Demand for Simics has been especially strong in China, where the rapid growth of the embedded software industry has created the need for a solution that fully leverages multi-core architectures, and runs complex simulations of semiconductor and OEM environments.

Diamond Microwave Devices closes GBP1.3m commercialisation round

LEEDS, ENGLAND: Diamond Microwave Devices (DMD), a spin out from the diamond electronics team in Element Six Technologies (E6), has closed a GBP1.3m equity investment from a consortium consisting of Oxford Technology Management, YFM via the Partnership Investment Fund, The ERA Foundation and two private investors.

During the course of 2009, DMD has made various performance breakthroughs in its diamond-based transistor technology and this investment round will be used to develop and build power amplifier modules for customer trialling during 2010. The DMD diamond transistor technology will enable the move to low cost, lightweight solid-state amplifiers in high power, high frequency applications such as radar, communications, SATCOMS, and electronic warfare.

"This new investment signals the next step for DMD. It will allow the company to progress with its plans to commercialise its ground-breaking technology, says Brendon Grunewald, head of E6 Ventures.

"DMD has gathered an experienced and fast-moving team both inside the company and outside with its choice of partners, to develop the product in close concert with its first customer. DMD's customers will get a step change in performance per kg & per dollar - both important to deliver a clear capability advantage. It has all the right ingredients of a high potential venture," notes David Denny, partner at lead investor Oxford Technology ECF.

Element Six is the world's leading supplier of industrial Diamond supermaterials. It is an international company with its head office registered in Luxembourg and processing and manufacturing facilities in Germany, Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa and China. Its business encompasses four divisions: Oil & Gas, Advanced Materials, Hard Materials and Technologies and the company manufactures Diamond using high pressure high temperature (HPHT) synthesis and chemical vapour deposition (CVD).

Renesas sampling SH-Mobile application engine 4

SAN JOSE, USA: Renesas Technology America Inc. today announced that it is sampling the SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 (SH73720), an ARM Cortex A8*1 based application engine running at maximum 1GHz, targeted for next generation mobile phone and mobile device implementations.

With the integration of various dedicated processing engines, the device features ultimate multimedia capabilities such as full HD 1080p video recording, playback at 30fps, and high-speed 3D graphics rendering for sophisticated 3D UIs and an advanced gaming experience.

Leveraging on Renesas’ market proven Image Signal Processor (ISP) technology, the SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 provides a state-of-the art 16Mpixel ISP for best visual quality while supporting full HD 1080p movie processing. Fabricated in Renesas’ optimized 45nm low power process and integrating a wealth of new and innovative power saving schemes, it exceeds the stringent power budget requirements of mobile phones.

“With broadband wireless access like UMTS/HSPA or LTE, customers can have the Internet at their fingertips wherever and whenever. Access to music, videos and games with mobile phones becomes as simple as it became on the PC a few years ago,” says Shinichi Yoshioka, General Manager of System Solution Business Unit2, System Solution Business Group, Renesas Technology Corp.

“Renesas has developed the SH-Mobile Application Engine 4, as the first device of the SH-Mobile Application Engine Series, in a new class of application processors to offer an entirely new user experience on mobile computers and to solve the conflicts around creating an exciting multimedia experience within the low power budget of mobile devices.”

The SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 is based on an ARM Cortex-A8 core operating at maximum 1GHz. Leveraging Renesas’ vast experience of highly integrated SoC systems, a competitive SoC process and an innovative design architecture, this device aims for one of the industry’s most efficient ARM Cortex-A8 implementations providing ample processing performance for next generation applications, while pursuing the ultimate low power consumption that enables an entirely new user experience on mobile devices.

For the ultimate multimedia experience, the SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 incorporates a variety of dedicated processing engines. An integrated ISP supports 16M pixel still images and full HD 1080p movie images.

A dedicated high-performance multi-codec video processing unit for ultra-low power video processing enables the device to support full HD 1080p multi-standard video use cases such as encoding (recording) and decoding (playback) of full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second (fps).

Combined with various multi-phased visual engines, such as IP for edge enhancement or median filtering, the realization of high quality HD images and videos reaches levels which consumers will not have experienced before on mobile devices.

To support high-speed 3D graphics rendering for sophisticated 3D UIs and an advanced gaming experience, the device is equipped with a powerful POWERVR SGX*2 3D graphics engine, licensed from Imagination Technologies, supporting graphic APIs such as OpenGL*3 ES1.1/2.0 and Open VG. To round off the multimedia experience, the SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 also incorporates a highly sophisticated audio subsystem enabling well over 100 hours of audio playback on a standard mobile phone battery.

For design flexibility and reduced system BOM, the SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 includes a wide variety of on-chip peripheral functions and connectivity interfaces.

This includes two USB 2.0 Host/Function modules (with high-speed data transfer mode support), three SD host controllers with support for high-speed data transfer mode and a 24-bit TFT color LCD controller supporting up to WXGA+ display sizes. Furthermore, a PAL/NTSC encoder and an HDMI transmitter are integrated together with a complete HDMI v1.3a & CVBS TV-Out interface.

The SH-Mobile Application Engine 4 is packaged in a 0.4mm pitch, 12mm x 12mm BGA package that allows package-on-package vertical stacking of low power, multiple chip package (MCP) memory such as LP DDR2, greatly reducing the overall footprint of the memory and processor combination.

NXP announces availability of ARM Cortex-M3 USB MCUs

EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS: NXP Semiconductors today announced availability of the LPC1340 series microcontrollers with full-speed USB 2.0 device connectivity enabled by on-chip USB drivers certified by USB-IF, making them the easiest to use USB MCUs in the industry.

The LPC1340 is supported by VDE IEC 60335 Class B test libraries to support customers in the Class B certification process. In addition, NXP will offer an easy-to-use, comprehensive development tool platform for under US $30.

"Having introduced the first Cortex-M0 based LPC1100 MCU series just weeks ago, we are now adding easy-to-use USB connectivity to our pin-compatible Cortex-M3 series,” said Geoff Lees, vice president and general manager, microcontroller product line, NXP Semiconductors. “In addition we’ve created the industry’s first virtually free fully integrated open-source development tools for the ARM Cortex platform.”

The USB 2.0 device controller is fully certified and supports all 4 transfer types including isochronous transfer which is a key requirement for USB-based audio applications. Double buffering is supported on both isochronous and bulk end-points.

The on-chip USB drivers support both the Mass Storage Class (MSC) and Human Interface Device (HID) class. Furthermore, these drivers are incorporated in ROM, saving customers approximately 5-6 K bytes of user code.

ROM-based firmware drivers offer the dual advantage of low power operation as well as secure and safe bootloading via USB or other on-chip serial channels. The LPC1340 series is enumerated and recognized by any Windows or Linux PC as a mass storage device. Flash programming is enabled by a simple drag-and-drop action.

VDE Class B Certified Libraries
These license- and royalty-free libraries have been approved by the VDE (Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik e.V.: German Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) testing and certification institute, which is globally recognized as a leader in this field.

Now, when a designer uses these libraries, the application will not need to be completely re-evaluated by VDE as part of the final product certification -- saving valuable time for the manufacturer. These free NXP libraries eliminate the need for the designer to develop their own self-test routines, which require in-depth knowledge of the microcontroller architecture and assembler programming skills.

NXP Low-Cost Development Tool Platform
The LPC1340 series is supported by NXP’s low-cost development tool platform, providing customers with an end-to-end solution from initial prototype evaluation to final production. The platform includes an Eclipse-based IDE using the latest Galileo release, customized GNU tool chain, JTAG/SWD debugger, and a development board offering compatibility with the mbed rapid development tool ecosystem.

These development tools specifically focus on ease-of-use and faster product development time and supports all derivatives of Cortex-M0/M3 families and specific devices from the LPC2000 and LPC3000 families.

The LPC1340 series microcontrollers are also supported by industry-leading comprehensive development tools from IAR, Keil, Hitex, Code Red, and many others.

Parts are available now from NXP distributors worldwide with recommended distribution pricing in 10,000 quantities starting at $1.49.

AIS' embedded Panel PC solutions feature embedded Intel architecture and Windows embedded OS

IRVINE, USA: American Industrial Systems Inc. (AIS), has introduced a complete line of industrial Panel PC solutions featuring embedded Intel architecture and Windows embedded operating systems.

AIS’ embedded solutions have been designed to meet a variety of applications including Control Automation, HMI, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) control, Military, Marine, Transportation, Digital Signage, and Medical Industries. Through the use of embedded infrastructures AIS’ products offer long lifetime support, lower operation costs, reliable performance, and efficient operation.

AIS’ combines LCD Technology with the latest embedded platforms to create solutions including Medical Tablet PC’s, Military Rack Mount Panel Computers, Marine Panel PC, Digital Signage Engines, Rugged Vehicle PC, Touch POS Systems, Access Management Systems, HMI Touch System, and standard Industrial Panel PCs.

These off-the-shelf products are highly ruggedized and utilize industrial grade components to guarantee the high reliability and life cycle. Several enhancement technologies are utilized into these units such as MIL-810F Std. Stock/Vibration compliance, Wide Temperature Range Operation, IP65 Water/Dustproof rating, Anti-corrosion coatings, Sunlight Readability Enhancements, and Touch screen integration.

At the heart of the systems is Intel processors, including the Atom and Core 2 Duo processors, which feature high performance and low power consumption (Atom) to meet new standards in energy conservation.

Embedded computing has become a part of everyday life; AIS has created the products and tools to deploy embedded systems into existing as we as new embedded solutions. AIS offers hundreds of off-the-shelf pre engineered embedded solutions which are ready for quick deployment in the field.

* Embedded Intel Atom Processors and Core 2 Duo Systems.
* Windows XP Embedded Standard, POS, and Professional.
* Intel Atom 1.6Ghz N270 Processor.
* Industrial Grade Construction and Components.
* Pre-engineered Ready to Deploy Solutions.
* Lower Power Consumption.
* High Reliability.
* Long Product Life Cycle.
* Several Mechanical Designs

Power electronics in electric and hybrid vehicles

LYON, FRANCE: Yole Developpement has recently released a new publication in its power electronics collection -- Power electronics in electric and hybrid vehicles.

A $5 billion power module market in 2020
Toyota, the world leading car producer, has been dominant on the hybrid market up to now, but this niche market is becoming a must for car makers as the focus on car C02 emissions intensifies. Hybrid is defined in different levels: micro, mild, full, and plug in hybrid.

Micro hybrid will see the highest growth due to its low cost and easy integration, specifically in Europe. Mild and full hybrid will continue their strong penetration in the US market. Plug-in hybrid is a bridge to EV technology, and uses the same high voltage battery technology and plug-to-grid for recharge.

EV car business will really ramp up in 2010 with the arrival of big car makers (Mitsubishi, Renault, GM, Ford, Daimler). Limited drive range (40 miles) and high cost, are still issues, but it is expected that huge investments in new Li-Ion batteries will increase the performance/cost ratio of EVs. Globally, more than 17 million cars will be hybrid or electric in 2015 and some forecasters suggest sales will reach 50 million units in 2020, meaning half of the cars produced.

Power electronics are a key technology for hybrids and represent 20% of the material costs. It is even bigger for EV cars. HEV/EV power devices are used in DC/DC converters and DC/AC inverters. There are various configurations depending on the hybrid version and car makers’ choices.

Inverters are roughly the same for full hybrid, plug in hybrid and EV cars with an average power of 50 kW. This application alone represent 74% of the total power module market for HEV and EV cars in 2009.

IGBT is the device of choice for such high power applications and represents 80% of the total HEV/EV power module market. Standard voltage of IGBT devices is 650V but there is a trend to increase it. It is still unknown if it will be 700/800V or directly 1.2kV which is already a standard.

The HEV/EV power module market stands at $300M in 2009 and is expected to grow strongly until 2020 at a growth rate close to 30% to reach $5B in 2020. Today, the power module market is mainly dominated by Toyota who manufactures the module internally. With the near universal involvement of other car makers, semiconductor companies (Infineon, Fuji, Mitsubishi, STM…) will enter the market and will take a big market share in the power device pie.

As HEV and EV remain expensive, car makers and tier one suppliers want to cut the cost. Power modules represent about 50% of the inverter and converter cost so power module cost reduction is the main goal of all the market players. It is expected that the power module average cost will be reduced by more than 25% in the coming years.

HEV/EV power devices value chain
Up to now, Toyota was dominating the HEV market and power module value chain. With the market growth and arrival of many players at the different levels (car makers, tier one suppliers, semi conductor companies), the landscape will change drastically.

Automotive tier one suppliers invest heavily in HEV/EV powertrain and will play an important role in HEV/EV power devices value chain: Bosch, Continental, Valeo, Delphi, Denso, Hitachi…. They have the knowledge of specific automotive requirements that are very stringent for power devices. Some of them design the power modules themselves to cut the cost.

At the same time, semi conductor companies try to climb the value chain by developing new power modules. Hence, it will be a hard time in the next years for power modules manufacturers to find a significant place on the HEV/EV market.

SiC and GaN : key technologies for HEV/EV power device applications?
Several companies (Mitsubishi, Rohm, Toyota, …) have developed inverter prototypes based on SiC diodes and switches that show significant size reduction up to ¼ of the size with silicon devices.

SiC has clear advantages in HEV/EV applications (better power density, less losses, higher operating temperature) but cost pressure for automotive is a big challenge. To succeed, the availability of SiC switches is paramount because it would allow reduction of the cooling systems cost.

At the same time, SiC devices cost would need to be significantly reduced and the passive components and packaging adapted to support high operating temperatures.

If the SiC devices cost can be reduced, then SiC may be an option for HEV and EV. Maybe, it will be introduced first in EV applications that are more sensitive to losses to gain distance range.

GaN is another possible option thanks to its better performance/cost ratio compared to SiC. Toyota and many other companies evaluate this solution and consider that if SiC cost can’t be reduce, it would be an affordable substrate specially for inverter application that is very cost sensitive.

This report presents the detailed major market metrics of the current and projected HEV/EV power module, power devices and substrate business, describing the HEV/EV market and architecture, the power devices applications, the key players, the supply-chain, the volumes and related market size of each segment. It gives the possible total accessible market for SiC and GaN, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of those materials over the current established silicon technologies.

Yole will be hosting a free webinar on Power Electronics in EV/HEV on Dec. 9.

Sensonor launches high performance MEMS gyro sensor

NORWAY: SAR100 is Sensonor Technologies’ latest high performance gyro sensor, designed for demanding applications in the Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Instrumentation and Industrial markets. Based on inherently rugged MEMS technology, it features bias stability of 50/h.

It is offered in an LCC ceramic package and can withstand high shocks of up to 5000g without performance degradation. SAR100 is offered in two ranges 100/s and 250/s. (optional 2000/s).

SAR100 is interfaced with closed loop electronics based on forced feedback operation; featuring a fully digital output signal available through an SPI interface. It includes a self-test mechanism ensuring optimum performance.

Placed in a hermetically-sealed ceramic LCC package for horizontal and vertical mount that is ideal for application in harsh environments, the SAR100 gyro sensor combines the latest technological advances in MEMS technology together with high performance closed-loop electronic interface.

”SAR100 is an ITAR-free high performance gyro ideal for a number of applications at a cost effective price and we are very excited to provide this solution to our customers, thereby ensuring continuity of supply,” commented Carsten Fongen, Sales Manager at Sensonor Technologies.

”MEMS has enabled a large number of applications in the automotive and consumer markets by providing cost effective disruptive solutions. This same technology is now entering into the high-added value, high performance markets such as Mil/Aerospace, promising displacement of the current expensive, fragile technologies” continued Fongen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nano ePrint secures grant for R&D; to demo world’s first printed programmable logic device

MANCHESTER, UK; Nano ePrint Ltd, the pioneer in planar nano-electronics, announced that it has secured a Grant for Research & Development from the UK’s Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The grant will provide £234k of funding towards a £390k project to demonstrate Nano ePrint’s unique printed programmable logic architecture.

This complements other venture investment and grant funding raised by the company to industrialise and commercialise its innovative approach to printed electronics.
Nano ePrint has already demonstrated that its nano-scale devices dramatically simplify manufactures, and also achieve over 10 times the performance and over 100 times the density of conventional printed electronics.

This new funding supports the further development of Nano ePrint’s modular and configurable circuit architecture to deliver the world’s first printed programmable logic devices.

This approach enables low-cost, high-volume manufacture of a generic circuit design, which can then be tailored for customer-specific requirements as it is integrated into downstream printing processes.

Nano ePrint can therefore address a wide range of market applications, from niche novelty products (such as simple printed electronic games) right through to mass-market electronic smart packaging, with a single device.

Scott White, Chief Executive Officer of Nano ePrint, commented: “This exceptional grant highlights the novelty of Nano ePrint’s approach and the huge market opportunity enabled by our printed programmable logic architecture. We are grateful for the support of the NWDA in further developing this groundbreaking technology.”

Nano ePrint will be showcasing its technology and product concepts at the IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA conference on December 1-4. The company will be exhibiting at booth no. 68, and Scott White will be presenting the benefits of printed programmable logic in the main conference at 15:40 on December 3.

Imagination Technologies intros Connected Processor IP cores

TOKYO, JAPAN: Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia chip technologies company, says that the next trend in silicon integration will be for ubiquitous connectivity in all forms of consumer electronics.

Reflecting this trend, the company has created a new class of embedded Connected Processor solutions that will power the 'Internet Everywhere' generation of consumer electronics.

Imagination's own research suggests that within five years, more than 70 percent of all mainstream consumer electronics products, including TVs, radios, cameras, printers and more will be connected to the internet. Indeed, several major CE manufacturers have already committed to integrate internet connectivity across their entire product lines.

Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie says: "The world is getting so connected that soon creating any chip incorporating a processor without connectivity will seem as alien as designing a chip today without memory or peripherals. Connected devices are now truly past the 'What If?' phase – in the future everything from the smallest, cheapest electronic device upwards will have an IP address and be connected to the world via the Internet.

"The most innovative new products being released now and in the next few years are now all connected, and recognising this we are developing new low power, connected processor IP cores based on our innovative 32-bit processor and communications architectures to enable an era of ubiquitous internet connectivity."

The META Connected Processor family will combine Imagination's innovative META multithreaded processor and ENSIGMA multi-standard programmable communications technologies, fully optimised for low power and high performance under all operating conditions.

As a result of this development, these technologies, which are already successful in consumer broadcast markets, will now be able to be used in new lower end markets such as digital photo-frames, media streamers/players, printers, toys and connected cameras.

For the first time, chip designers will be able to utilise a state of the art embedded 32-bit processor IP platform that delivers multi-standard connectivity, alongside a high performance Linux or RTOS based applications environment as well as DSP-intensive algorithm execution – all in one fully integrated IP solution.

The META Connected Processor IP core family will enable high volume consumer products to be connected not only to the internet but also to each other to make possible a world of universal connectivity. By delivering programmability both for general purpose applications as well as communications algorithms, these new IP cores will set the trend for next generation connectivity and embedded application platforms in consumer electronics.

Further details of the new IP core family will be announced in the coming months.

Kontron Micro Client IIA: Intel Atom processor based Panel PC series

ECHING & NUREMBURG, GERMANY: The completely fanless Kontron Micro Client II Panel PCs are now available with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 processor in four screen sizes from 7 to 15 inches. They can serve as a universal HMI (Human Machine Interface) for various visualization tasks.

The IP65-protected Kontron Micro Client IIA Panel PCs with resistive touch screen are designed for the control and monitoring of equipment, machinery, and plants. They support all current thin client concepts from RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) for Microsoft Windows-based servers to Linux based open platforms with browser based Java clients.

Operators benefit from such open concepts through the open and runtime license-free access to both centralized and decentralized (web) server applications. Kontron's latest panel PCs can also be used for several visualization tasks without requiring any application-specific software to be installed on the client.

The Kontron Micro Clients IIA feature not only SATA and CompactFlash boot functionality, but can also be remotely booted via Ethernet. This facilitates the administration of the complete solution, since only the software on the respective industrial server, e.g., the Kontron KISS server, must be administered.

The Kontron Micro Client IIA Panel PCs also offer a comprehensive interface selection: 2 x 10/1000 Ethernet, 2 external USB 2.0 ports (plus additional USB port on the front for screen sizes from 10.4” to 15.0”), 1 x RS232 with optional RS422/RS485 and CAN bus interface, as well as additional field bus interfaces as an option. They also feature sophisticated embedded graphics for intuitive GUIs, as well as touch-beep for multimedia-oriented operating and monitoring applications including acoustic feedback.

The fanless design enables silent operation, reduced maintenance costs, and lower total-cost-of-ownership due to the impressive MTBF of over 40,000 hours.

For versatile use, the front panel can be omitted, enabling the Kontron Micro Client IIA to be integrated into all custom specific housings including vandal-protected systems for public use. In this case, the OEM needs to integrate the optional touch screen functionality. With bolt or clip panel mount plus the optional VESA mount, the new Kontron Micro Clients IIA HMIs are easy to install. And thanks to their minimal installation depth (max. 50 mm for 15”) placement is easy, even for existing applications.

Shock and vibration resistance, thermal stability, and compliance with the strictest EMC standards are standard features of the Kontron Micro Clients IIA, as is long term availability of at least five years.

The CE-certified Kontron Micro Client IIA family is now available in EMEA and will be available in America and APAC in late Q1 2010. It supports for Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded, and Embedded Linux.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

TI Tech Day Embedded Processing in Dec. 2009

BANGALORE, INDIA: Texas Instruments will be organizing the TI Tech Day Embedded Processing in December 2009.

Are you looking for tutorials and demonstrations of latest TI Technologies? Want to know TI's roadmap in key portfolios? Looking out for business networking opportunities? TI will be bringing training and networking opportunities to a place near you!

TI Tech Days will reach Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Bangalore - 8-12 Dec 2009: This five-day program consists of a two-day symposium and a 3-day tutorial program. It will be held at The Lalit Ashok hotel, Kumara Krupa High Grounds.

Mumbai - 15 Dec 2009: A one-day program including roadmap presentations and business networking opportunities. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency, on Sahar Airport Road.

New Delhi -17 Dec 2009: A one-day program including roadmap presentations and business networking opportunities. It will be held at Crowne Plaza, Friends Colony.

Atmel expands 6-pin AVR microcontroller family

SAN JOSE, USA: Atmel Corp. announced three new 6-pin picoPower AVR microcontrollers. The ATtiny4, ATtiny5, and ATtiny9 are pin- and code- compatible, include a rich feature set, and execute code 6-times faster than the closest competitor.

Using the AVR CPU, the 6-pin tinyAVR® microcontrollers can process up to 12 MIPS at 12 MHz, six times the performance of any other similar sized microcontroller in the market. This processing efficiency significantly reduces the time in active mode and increases the time spent in power saving sleep modes. Combined with Atmel's picoPower technology, this ensures the industry's leading power consumption.

ATtiny4, ATtiny5, and ATtiny9 are pin- and functional-compatible to the existing ATtiny10. For customers, this means effortless migration between the devices in-between different projects with different requirements. The 6-pin tinyAVR microcontrollers are also pin-compatible with similar devices from competitors. This enables customer to increase the performance and reduce the power consumption in their existing designs.

"The ATtiny10 was launched in April and we were overwhelmed by the rapid market acceptance and strong demand for this device, which is the smallest AVR microcontroller. It is clear that developers needed innovation in this market segment," said Jukka Eskelinen, Product Marketing Director, tinyAVR for Atmel.

"Atmel is now expanding the offering with three new parts with different memory densities and feature sets. With more parts available, engineers can cost optimize their applications without sacrificing the features they need."

All tinyAVR microcontrollers use the standard AVR microcontroller development tools. The AVR Studio integrated development environment is available free on Atmel's website.

Samples of the ATtiny4, ATtiny5 and ATtiny9 are available now. Volume prices for 5K units start at $0.34.

Friday, November 27, 2009

TSMC launches automotive process qualification spec and service package in China

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC) announced that it plans to launch the automotive industry's first process qualification specification and service package for automotive-grade semiconductor manufacturing at the China IC Design Conference being held in Xiamen on December 2.

The company also announced that its Fab 10, located in Shanghai, is prepared to manufacture automotive grade ICs.

The automotive process qualification specification, made broadly public today, was first proposed at the Automotive Electronic Council's (AEC) annual Reliability Workshop in June 2008. Semiconductor devices in automobiles wear out quickly due to the stringent operating environment, and it is critical that the inherent manufacturing process can support semiconductor devices that will last far beyond the vehicle's lifetime.

TSMC has also developed a comprehensive Automotive Service Package to complement customers' test coverage and test methodology to reduce the field failure rate. TSMC Automotive Service Package incorporate tightened process control, device level screen limit, and wafer sorting scrap criteria, additional SPC monitoring, preferred tools, etc. It significantly reduces process variation and outliers.

"Integrated circuits of all types are playing a larger role in the automotive industry. Our commitment is to support automotive IC technology including innovations that are taking place in China," said Jason Chen, Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, TSMC. "We are backing this commitment with action by dedicating our efforts at Fab 10 in Shanghai to accelerate the growth of China's automotive present and future."

TSMC Fab 10 in Shanghai, along with multiple fabs in Taiwan, has successfully established the capability of supporting the automotive service package. The automotive process route in Fab 10 is available for global auto supply chain companies, including those in China.

DDR2 spot price declines 15 percent from mid-Nov due to supply increase

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: Started from mid-July, DDR2 1Gb eTT spot price has skyrocketed 150 percent to $2.62 from $1.05.

However, the spot market start to fall at 11/10 that DDR2 1Gb has sharply shrunk 15 percent to $2.22 from $2.62 in two weeks after four month upward pricing trend, according to DRAMeXchange.

Observing from the market side, brokers tend to lower their inventory for hedge profit since the price has stubbornly ups and downs in past two weeks while PSC and Nanya had raised their shipment in spot market.

All situations combined resulted in the spot price downward correction. DRAMeXchange also found some white-brand DDR2 2GB module price has dropped to the point below $34, which indicates below $2 for 1Gb price. DRAMeXchange expects the spot price will likely ups and downs in the range of US$2~$2.5.

In contract market, 2H’Nov. contract price has announced to be remain flat after four month skyrocket 82 percent upward pricing trend that DDR2 2GB “Average” price recorded in $41 while “high” price has dropped to $46 from $50 since most deals have been done for one month while less $50 shipment accepted in 2H’Nov.
Unlike the previous periods that severe DDR2 shortage and PC shipment enhancement has forced 1st-tier PC-OEM to require extra urgent orders and insufficient volume for 2nd or 3rd tier PC-OEMs.

That is, 1H’Nov. DDR2 2GB “High” contract price reached $50, which indicates the $3 for 1Gb price. DRAMeXchange expects the Dec. contract price will initiate downward pricing trend with estimated 5-10 percent price decline.

Chungbuk Technopark chooses ARM Cortex-M0 processor

CHUNGBUK, KOREA: SoC R&D Center in Chungbuk Technopark (CBTP) a non-profit local government foundation in Chungbuk Province, today announced that they have licensed the ARM Cortex-M0 processor.

The licensing agreement will enable CBTP to accelerate innovation based on the Cortex-M0 processor for Korean start-up companies, and fabless companies currently designing MCUs based on 8- or 16-bit architectures.

The Cortex-M0 processor is the lowest power and smallest 32-bit ARM processor. It offers ultra low-power, energy-efficiency and low gate count, with binary upwards compatibility with the higher performance ARM Cortex-M3 processor.

“CBTP’s support for the ARM Cortex-M0 processor is already creating huge interest in the Korean semiconductor industry.” said Jong Sung Lim, CEO of CBTP. “By offering the ARM Cortex-M0 processor, CBTP are able to further accelerate the growth of fabless companies in Korea.”

“The agreement between ARM and CBTP marks the beginning of an important partnership” said Joo Sock Lee, Director of SoC R&D center in CBTP. ”Offering ARM Cortex-M0 is a key strategy in our mission to stimulate the growth of Korean fabless companies in Chungbuk province – and realize our vision of creating Korea's silicon valley”.

“This agreement has been specifically designed to enable wider access to ARM processor IP for smaller Korean MCU design companies,” said Sam Kim, President, ARM Korea.

“The suitability of the Cortex-M0 processor for ultra low power, low-cost applications, combined with the broad ecosystem of silicon, tools, software and middleware vendors, makes it an ideal choice for companies who are looking to move on from 8- or 16-bit technology to achieve higher performance without sacrificing area or low power consumption.”

ASTRI, Optek and Silterra unveil advanced audio SoC with audio post-processing function

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and Optek Electronics Co. Ltd (Optek), a Shenzhen based IC solution provider for consumer electronics, have jointly unveiled an advanced multimedia Audio Codec SoC ASIC (OPT5256) that supports multiple music format codec and audio effect post-processing.

This advanced Audio SoC is fabricated in the state-of-the-art 0.18µm to 0.16µm CMOS direct shrink process technology offered by Silterra, a Malaysia based leading mixed signal wafer fabrication foundry. Silterra's 0.16µm process technology was chosen because it is the most optimal and cost effective process technology for the highly competitive consumer electronics market.

OPT5256 is a highly integrated solution jointly developed by ASTRI and Optek. It can support a broad range of music formats codec including MP3, WMA and AAC, and JPEG decoding for photo display. One prominent feature is that it can convert CD to MP3 with compression for SD card and USB flash storage.

Apart from USB port and SD-card interface, the solution also integrates most of the peripheral devices such as memory, LCD display control and many input/output devices into a single chip. The solution will enable system manufacturers to roll out highly compact and cost effective products due to smaller footprint and less components required. OPT5256 is also hi-fi compatible.

By incorporating an ASTRI-owned audio effect post-processing IP into the solution, it can offer spatial and bass enhancement, and 5-band graphical equalizer which are important features for enhancing music performance.

"With these unique features, OPT5256 provides an all-in-one solution for manufacturers to design their products with flexibility and create differentiation in CD, HDD and flash-based multimedia player applications," said Dr. Chao Shen-chang, a Vice President and Group Director of ASTRI. Under this collaboration, ASTRI has assisted in direct-shrinking Optek's design from 0.18µm to 0.16µm CMOS process technology to achieve additional size and cost reduction of their products.

"We target to offer our customers a cost-effective, low-power and high-performance microprocessor solution. OPT5256 has fulfilled all these requirements and will satisfy the needs of manufacturers for producing high quality digital audio systems," said Lee Ping, CEO of Optek. OPT5256 solution can be applied in a wide range of products including car audio, home audio system, boom box, digital photo frame and high-end digital audio system with TFT GUI display panel, just to name a few.

The CMOS 0.16 silicon sample chip of Audio Codec SoC ASIC with audio post-processing features has successfully passed all functional tests including USB1.1 & 2.0 interface tests. Optek is currently preparing for mass production in Silterra and is finalizing the application software and system board for reference design.

"Silterra is very excited about the partnership with ASTRI and Optek to accomplish the first time silicon success on Silterra's 0.16µm to 0.18µm process technology. We look forward to broadening our collaboration with ASTRI and Optek on Silterra's high-performance 0.13µm and 0.11µm process technologies in the near future", said Lai Yit Loong, Worldwide VP of Sales and Marketing of Silterra.

VLSID 2010 from Jan. 3-7 @ Bangalore

BANGALORE, INDIA: VLSID 2010, the 23rd International Conference on VLSI Design and 9th International Conference on Embedded Systems will be held at NIMHANS Convention Center, Bangalore, India from Jan. 3-7, 2010.

VLSID 2010 features an exciting lineup of seventy technical papers, eight distinguished keynote speakers, and nine invited embedded tutorials/hot topic presentations on the three days of the conference (Jan. 5-7).

On the two days preceding the conference (Jan. 3-4), there are eight tutorials, including one hands-on tutorial being organized for the first time in the history of the conference. Other events that will happen concurrently with the main conference include industry and education forums, exhibits, and design/EDA/Systems contest.

There will be technical keynotes on all three days.

January 5th, 2010:
Technical Keynote 1 - Dimitri Antoniadis (MIT)
Technical Keynote 2 - Hermann Eul (Infineon)
Technical Keynote 3 - Larry Hornbeck (TI)

January 6th, 2010:
Technical Keynote 4 - Wally Rhines (MGC)
Technical Keynote 5 - Prith Banerjee (HP Labs)

January 7th, 2010:
Technical Keynote 6 - Greg Taylor (Intel)
Technical Keynote 7 - Yervant Zorian (Virage Logic)

Heidelberg Instruments to support micro and nano research at Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility

HEIDELBERG, GERMANY: Heidelberg Instruments announced the sale of an advanced DWL 2000 maskless laser lithography system to the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, located in Ithaca, New York.

The DWL 2000 system will enable the user to expose sub micron structures on photoresist, with an active write area of up to 200mm by 200mm.

“CNF has a long history of providing in-house mask making capability to facility users at an affordable cost. This allows rapid cycle time from concept to prototype. CNF has recently installed a modern DUV (248nm) stepper that requires 0.7 µm features at the mask.

The current tools render mask production too slow to meet this new requirement, creating an economic barrier to using the DUV system. The new DWL 2000 system from Heidelberg Instruments combines the large high speed scanning field with high resolution optics and stage precision that recovers the low cost structure for in-house mask fabrication.” states Don Tennant, Director of Operations at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility

The Cornell NanoScale Science & Technology Facility (CNF) is a national user facility that supports a broad range of nanoscale science and technology projects by providing state-of-the-art resources coupled with expert staff support. 2007 marked its 30th year in operation.

Research at CNF encompasses physical sciences, engineering, and life sciences, and has a strong inter-disciplinary emphasis. Over 700 users per year (50 percent of whom come from outside Cornell) use fabrication, synthesis, computation, characterization, and integration resources of CNF to build structures, devices, and systems from atomic to complex length-scales.

Elpida ships samples of x32-bit I/O 2-gigabit DDR2 SDRAM

TOKYO, JAPAN: Elpida Memory Inc., Japan's leading global supplier of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), has begun sample shipments of a 2-gigabit x32-bit I/O DDR2 SDRAM that operates up to a high speed of 1066 Mbps. The new memory device is capable of meeting the need for 1.8V x32-bit and x16-bit I/O as well as low-voltage 1.5V x32-bit and x16-bit I/O.

Rapid advances in the image quality and functionality of digital TV, digital still cameras and other new digital consumer equipment have led to a growing need for memory that can deliver faster speeds, higher densities and wide-bit configurations.

Elpida's newly developed 2-gigabit density x32-bit I/O product provides an optimal solution for these needs. Systems with a 32-bit CPU that require 2-gigabit memory density have until now had rely on a conventional 1-gigabit x16-bit I/O two-chip design.

Elpida's new 2-gigabit x32-bit I/O product, however, reduces by half the number of mounted memory chips, simplifies high-speed memory bus design, conserves chip mounting space and lowers power consumption.

Also, the new DDR2 SDARM is designed to operate at standard 1.8V as well as 1.5V and is well suited to meeting the need for low-power devices for use in mobile devices.

Volume production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter (April-June) of CY 2010.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

ASUS unveils SABERTOOTH 55i, the first TUF series motherboard

MUMBAI, INDIA: ASUS, the leader in innovative motherboard solutions, today unveiled the first motherboard in its newly-developed "TUF" (The Ultimate Force) Series - the SABERTOOTH 55i.

The TUF Series is specially developed to meet the heavy computing demands of power users and perform well even under extreme conditions. Such computer enthusiasts often demand high-quality motherboard components and the most stable computing platforms.

To achieve uncompromising stability, TUF Series motherboards have undergone a more stringent testing program than what most motherboard producers currently undertake. Solidly constructed and equipped with resilient components that have passed demanding military-style testing, the TUF Series triumphs over the harshest operating conditions to deliver robust performance.

The debut SABERTOOTH 55i model, designed around a "Marine Cool" concept, incorporates the Intel P55 chipset and "tough" features to give users a supremely solid and stable computing platform.

Vinay Shetty, Country Head, Component Business, ASUS (India) said: "The ASUS SABERTOOTH 55i is a no holds barred motherboard aimed for the serious performance enthusiast looking for only the best motherboard solution in the market today. The first of our TUF series motherboards, it is as the name suggests, the ultimate motherboard for high performance needs."

He further added: "This motherboard also employs some never before used technologies like the unique CeraM!X microfin coating and military level tested capacitors and VRM MOSFETs to give users increased operational stability and provide them with the ultimate motherboard for their high end rigs."

DuPont Air Products NanoMaterials receives ruling in patent invalidity/non-infringement case against Cabot Microelectronics

TEMPE, USA: DuPont Air Products NanoMaterials L.L.C. remains confident in its legal positions following the judge's order denying all summary judgment motions in DA NanoMaterials' patent invalidity/non-infringement lawsuit against Cabot Microelectronics currently under way in the US District Court for the District of Arizona.

The judge in the case denied summary judgment motions from both DA NanoMaterials and Cabot, including Cabot's claim that DA NanoMaterials infringed Cabot's tungsten chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) patents. The Court has ordered the parties to submit pre-trial filings by December 16, 2009.

The denial of Cabot's summary judgment motion, coupled with a recent invalidation judgment rendered by Korean governmental authorities invalidating Cabot's tungsten CMP patent in Korea, strengthen DA NanoMaterials' position. DA NanoMaterials remains committed to its innovative and patented products.

The company looks forward to defending its products in this US lawsuit against Cabot and continuing to compete in the marketplace worldwide with its superior technology and customer service. DuPont Air Products NanoMaterials L.L.C. is a joint venture between DuPont (Electronic Technologies) and Air Products and does not release its financial results.

It was formed in 2000 and was expanded in April 2004 with the addition of the DuPont EKC Technology CMP slurry business and Air Products' addition of the CMP slurry business from the former Ashland Electronic Chemicals Division, which it acquired in 2003.

The company operates a state-of-the art applications and formulation laboratory at its headquarters in Tempe, Arizona. It manufactures products in Asia, Europe and North America to serve the global semiconductor and wafer polishing markets.

IC Plus standardizes verification process with Cadence Incisive solution

TAIPEI TAIWAN: Cadence Design Systems Inc., the leader in global electronic design innovation, today announced that IC Plus, a communication and networking IC design company in Taiwan, has adopted the Cadence Incisive verification solution with the Open Verification Methodology (OVM) and Cadence verification IP (VIP) to optimize development time while simplifying and standardizing its verification process.

IC Plus has incorporated the Cadence OVM architecture and methodology into its SystemVerilog verification flow and significantly shortened its development time from months to only a few weeks.

By adopting the Cadence solution, IC Plus standardized its verification process, dramatically improving production efficiency and predictability while achieving high-quality verification closure. The OVM, implemented in IEEE 1800 SystemVerilog, IEEE 1647 e and IEEE 1666 SystemC, is a market-leading advanced verification methodology.

The OVM, which Cadence co-created, comprises several advanced features, including interoperability, debugging, reusability and an easy-to-use verification model for testing. Its universal interoperability for SystemVerilog and reusable verification IP help facilitate the development and support of multi-language plug-and-play VIP.

Debugging and reusability help maximize quality, productivity and predictability. The proven user-friendly model provides a simple platform for test creation.

“For an IC design company like IC Plus, which has made great investments in R&D, the process of debugging is critical since it affects time and resources during the design process,” said Albert Liu, R&D Vice President of IC Plus.

“With the Cadence solution, we are able to not only set up a complete, automatic and systematic verification flow with less set-up time, but also to discover design bugs in the early stage, which in turn improves the quality of our products.”

“Today's IC design companies are striving to improve their design efficiency by simplifying and standardizing their verification processes as early as possible in the design stage,” said Willis Chang, General Manager, Taiwan WFO Operations at Cadence.

”We are very glad to see IC Plus reaping savings and benefits from Cadence technologies and the Open Verification Methodology. IC Plus is seeing first-hand the capability of the Incisive verification solution for high-performance verification.”

Report on China's IC card/smart card industry 2009

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "China IC Card/Smart Card Industry Report, 2009" report to its offering.

The world's IC card shipment reached 5.085 billion units in 2008, up 18.7 percent year-on-year, and it is expected that it will amount to around 5.3 billion units in 2009. The card volume per capita in developed countries was 3.5 in 2008, while it was only 1.1 in China, so there was still a larger growth space in China's IC card market.

In 2008, China's smart IC card sales revenue amounted to RMB7.335 billion, and the sales reached 1.946 billion units, down 2 percent year-on-year; of which, the number of mobile phone card exceeded 700 million units, and the issue of the second generation of ID card had finished in 2008, 918 million units in total. Impacted by global economy downturn, the export had dropped to around over 400 million units in total.

The mobile phone card is one of the mainstream products in IC market. Although the growth in mobile phone subscribers had slowed down in 2008, it is expected that the mobile phone card will still maintain the better sales in the following years taking the trend of more than one card for a person and 3G market development into consideration.

Renewal of second generation resident ID card
By the end of 2008, it had finished its issuance in accordance with unified plan of Ministry of Public Security, which had negative impact on IC card shipment.

Bank Card EMV Transference China Unipay had implemented bank card EMV transference trials in Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and China Construction Bank in Jun, 2009.

By the end of 2008, China had issued 1.8 billion bank cards in total, and 94 percent of which were magnetic cards. In the meantime, the credit card had increased relatively rapidly, up 57.7 percent year-on-year. With EMV transference expands, it is expected that bank card will greatly promote IC card shipment within the following five years.

Student ID card and all-in-one-card in campus
Currently, the Ministry of Education and local governments of all levels are discussing the issue of unifying student ID card and campus all-in-one-card. Once it achieves the uniformed standard, it will issue hundreds of millions of cards.

Urban transport card
It will develop towards regional all-in-one-card.

Cards for Ministry of Labor and Social Security In Apr, 2009, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced it would implement medical-insurance-card nationwide, and it is expected that medical-insurance IC card will boost up after the year of 2010.

Governmental and Corporate Identity and Access Card Being the important measure to guarantee system security, such card also can deal with share information and information infrastructure. In the meantime, it can be smart card, as well as USB KEY.

IC card develops toward RFID field
After the 7th National IC Card Application Conference in 2004, State Leading Group Office of Golden Card Project Co-ordination had officially listed RFID technology and electronic label applications into key works, started trials in some qualified departments and local governments after over-one-year investigation and discussion, and actively and steadily promoted the construction of RFID application demonstration projects, such as industrial production process and safe production management, promoting agricultural products industrialization, anti-fake and dynamic management for important items, supply chain and modern logistics management, digital tourism industry and modern service sector.

In China, the IC card will be applied for more and more fields in the future, such as mobile phone cards (2G & 3G), bank card, STB and digital broadcast card, PBOC 2.0 multi-purpose fees card, and the annual sales will reach more than 2 billion units.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Infineon, Nokia to develop leading LTE solutions

NEUBIBERG, GERMANY: Infineon Technologies AG and Nokia today announced a co-operation to develop advanced radio frequency (RF) transceiver solutions. The agreement covers a non-exclusive collaboration to ensure the compatibility and interworking of Nokia’s advanced licensable baseband modem technologies and Infineon’s leading RF solutions.

Nokia and Infineon will work together to ensure that current and future generations of Nokia’s leading licensable modem designs work seamlessly with Infineon’s leading RF transceiver solutions, giving the industry access to complete modem solutions for HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) through LTE (Long Term Evolution) and beyond.

“We are grateful to expand our successful collaboration with Nokia beyond our current platform and RF activities,” stated Prof. Hermann Eul, Member of the Infineon Management Board. “Pairing Nokia’s advanced modem technology and Infineon’s best in class RF transceiver solutions, will give the industry access to very competitive chipset solutions.”

The collaboration involves teams from both companies working on the architectural and system challenges to ensure seamless interoperability and compatibility. The fruits of this cooperation will be a verified technology reference platform.

“Taking advantage of each company's expertise as leaders in their respective fields, this cooperation will help to deliver standard-based, industry leading solutions for mobile internet devices,” said Pekka Sarlund, Vice President, Wireless Modem, Nokia.

Facilitated by this cooperation, both companies will jointly drive the interface standardization for LTE-Advanced enabling data rates of up to 1Gbit/s. Providing a validated system with an open interface will enable a fast roll out of new products and increase competition in the market for advanced modem chipsets.

Ultra Clean Technology acquires facility in Singapore

HAYWARD, USA: Ultra Clean Holdings Inc. ( UCTT), a leading developer and supplier of critical subsystems for the semiconductor capital equipment, medical device, research, flat panel and solar industries, has launched its new manufacturing operation in Singapore at the Spectrum 1 complex in the Woodlands Industrial Estate.

Ultra Clean took over the 35,000 sq. ft. facility from Allegro Manufacturing Pte. Ltd in early November 2009. In addition to acquiring the facility and installed equipment, Ultra Clean has taken over ongoing systems integration business in the facility.

Clarence Granger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ultra Clean, remarked: "Expansion in Asia and alignment of our operational footprint to the needs of our customers are both core elements of our growth strategy. As mentioned in our recent earnings call, the new Singapore facility will enable us to provide our customers with manufacturing services in market segments where speed, intellectual property protection, and export compliance are key concerns."

"The new Singapore facility will be Ultra Clean's Asia Pacific regional headquarters and will also host engineering and supply chain management activities for Ultra Clean," said David Savage, Ultra Clean's President and Chief Operating Officer.

"In addition to meeting our customers' expectations for local systems integration capability, we consider Singapore the ideal base for key support functions. The availability of skilled engineers and experienced suppliers in the precision engineering sector will allow us to develop Singapore as our regional engineering center and procurement hub."

Current development of leading Chinese IC design houses

NEW YORK, USA: announced that a new market research report is available in its catalog: Current Development of Leading Chinese IC Design Houses.

In 2008, the output of the Chinese IC design industry reached 23.52 million RMB (approx. $3.44 billion), growing 4.2 percent compared to 2007. This growth rate was significantly below the 21.2 percent growth rate in 2007.

The top-10 ranking of IC design houses in China changed considerably in 2008. Hisilicon experienced large revenue increases and took over first place. Companies ranked second to tenth experienced different degrees of revenue decline. This report offers multi-faceted analysis of the leading IC design houses in China, including their revenue, product development, and cooperation with other companies.

Companies and organizations analyzed or mentioned in the report include:
Alvic Technology, Amkor, Amoi, ANST, ANV Security Group, ARM, ASE, ASMC, BBK, BenQ, Beta Power Tech, Bird, Cadence, Cadrado, CEC Huada Electronic Design, CEC Telecom, CECW, Ceva, Changhong, Changjiang Electronics Technology, China Aerospace Science & Industry Group, China Construction Bank, China Huajing Eelectronics Group, China Integrated Circuit Design, China Mobile, China Resources Group, China Resources Microelectronics, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chongqing Chongyou Information Technology, CMPAK, Comsys, Crearo Technology, CSMC Technologies, Datang, Datang Microelectronics, DBTel, Denvel, Dilithium Networks, Disney, Eastele Technology, ESS, Excelpoint International, Foxshare, Fujitsu, G.M.I. Technology, Ginwave, Gohigh Data Networks Technology, Great Wall Computer, GSMC, Guanghuida, Haier, Hangzhou Gold Information Technology, Hedy, HeJian Technology, Hisense, Hiteker Company, Hong Kong Beta Power Tech, Hongjing Microelectronics, Huada Hengtai Technology, Huada Test, Huada Zhibao, Huahong Integrated Circuit, Huahong NEC, HuahongJt Smart Card System, Huaming Technology, Huawei, Hyundai, IC Design Center of China Academy of Telecommunications Technology, IMBTVN, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Infineon, Institute of Microelectronics of Tsinghua University, Intech, Interine, Inventec, Irico, Irico-Aotom, Jess Technology, Konka, Launch Digital Technology, Lenovo, Lestina International, Malata, Mavrix Technology (Shanghai), Mediatek, Ministry of Public Security, MIPS Tech, Mitzuv, Nanjing Micro One Electronics, Nanker Group, Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics, Nationz Technologies, NEC, Newman, Nintaus, Onda, Paragon IC Solutions, Real Networks, Renesas, ROHM, RThitech, Semico, Shanghai Belling, Shanghai DuPont, Shanghai Fudan Hi-tech Company, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Shenzhen Hongtaili Technology, Shenzhen Huanghe Digital Technology, Shenzhen MPR Times Technology, Shenzhen Salan Microelectronics, Shenzhen Skyrise Technology, Shenzhen Streaming Video Technology, Shigang Technology, Shinco, Shougang NEC, Sicomm Technology, Silan Azure, Silan Integrated Circuit, Silan Microelectronics, Sino-Microelectronics, Skyworth, SMIC, Solomon Systech, SPIL, SRS Labs, State Development & Investment Corporation, Sunnic, Sunplus Technology, Synopsys, TCL, Thomson, Tianshui Huatian Microelectronics, Tianyu, Tongfang Microelectronics, Topwise, Tsinghua Tongfang, Tsinghua University, TSMC, UDTech, UNIS Technology (Beijing), VeriSilicon, Vimicro, Wingtech, Xinwei, Xinyoutong, Xundu, Yifang Technology, Zhejiang University, ZTE

NEC develops Ethernet PHY family for industrial automation systems

KAWASAKI, JAPAN & SANTA CLARA, USA & DUESSELDORF, GERMANY: NEC Electronics today announced the development of a new family of industrial Ethernet physical layers (PHYs) for 10Base-T and 100Base-TX/FX.

The new PHYs will offer the best-in-class high-speed industrial connectivity and advanced cable diagnostics, and are optimized for existing industrial Ethernet protocols used in industrial automation products.

The use of industrial Ethernet has consistently ramped up in recent years and now has a wider use in automation systems throughout the industry. NEC Electronics’ new PHYs address the expansive and unique needs of system designers in the industrial automation market to interconnect industrial controllers from different manufacturers throughout a process plant.

Key features
1. Industry-leading high-speed data transfer
The new PHYs enable low node latency, delivering high-speed data transmission and reception without failure.

2. Enhanced link control
With a powerful link control, NEC Electronics’ new PHYs provide high-speed link-up and link-down control mechanisms. For example, this feature can be applied in robotics that require very fast link-up and link-down control.

3. Advanced cable monitoring and diagnostic features
The new PHYs enable consistent cable quality monitoring for easy maintenance, and support easy repair during the maintenance cycle. The cable diagnostic feature is based on the time domain reflectometer (TDR) function that determines and localizes cable problems.

4. Accurate time stamping
With the time stamping of transmitted and received packets, the new PHYs provide outstanding timing precision by enabling continuous and automatic processes where the clock differences are noted and automatically adjusted. The time stamping of transmitted and received packets allows designers to determine the differences between clock frequencies and correct for them to achieve real-time performance.

NEC Electronics’ family of PHYs provides users of Ethernet communication in industrial environments with unique features that are not available in existing implementations. The new PHYs are compatible with standard industrial Ethernet communication protocols such as EtherNet/IP, SERCOS III, EtherCAT and Profinet.

They are also compliant with IEEE802.3 and qualify for robust industrial environments. NEC Electronics’ new PHYs enhance the company’s other Ethernet-based product offerings such as V850 Ethernet-based microcontrollers (MCUs), ASSPs and ASICs, and are also available as embeddable macros for these products.

“Our new PHY family demonstrates NEC Electronics’ commitment to the industrial automation markets and underlines our leading position in communication networks today,” said Kazuyoshi Yamada, vice president, 1st SoC Operations Unit, NEC Electronics. “Our PHY technology provides robust, high-performance Ethernet-based network solutions to deliver multiple innovations for the industry’s automation systems.”

NEC Electronics will be announcing the first member of its industrial Ethernet PHY family in March 2010 with mass production expected to start in Q3 of 2010.

Power Integrations releases new version of PI Expert power supply design software

SAN JOSE, USA: Power Integrations, the leader in high-voltage integrated circuits for energy-efficient power conversion, today launched Version 7.1.5 of its popular PI Expert power supply design software. Available now for free download from the Power Integrations website, this revision of the design tool includes a number of enhancements:

* Provides improved support for Power Integrations’ HiperPLC controller IC for offline resonant converters. The software permits the designer to choose from a variety of magnetic core materials and sizes for both for the LLC and PFC stages. The design spreadsheet allows for transformer design optimization for improved efficiency.

* Accurately calculates the external resistor (REXT) required to reduce no-load consumption in designs using PI’s LinkSwitch-II and LinkSwitch-CV product families in flyback topologies.

* Expands the Help feature to include traditional Chinese language support.

Peter Vaughan, director of applications engineering at Power Integrations, comments: “Design engineers are increasingly challenged to optimize their power supply circuitry for efficiency, performance, and size. New efficiency standards are very demanding and do not allow any margin for less-than-optimal circuit design and component selection. We are constantly refining PI Expert to ensure that it addresses the latest industry demands, allowing design engineers to deliver efficient power supplies that are right first time.”

PI Expert Suite v7.1.5 includes:
PI Expert: This interactive program takes a designer’s power supply specifications, automatically generates the electrical design, and selects the critical components required. It also provides a detailed electrical and mechanical transformer design using PI’s proprietary E-Shield EMI reduction techniques. Optimization choices stressing cost and efficiency are included to help designers target specific needs. The program reduces design time from days to minutes.

PI Xls Designer: A hands-on approach to power supply design for advanced users and those who prefer a spreadsheet interface. The tool generates detailed engineering and mechanical designs to assist users in prototyping the transformer.

PI Viewer: A tool for viewing design files created with older versions of PI Expert.

PI Expert Suite v7.1.5 is available now on the Power Integrations' website.