Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Visibility improves for global semiconductor market

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Strong second-quarter sequential growth along with improving supply chain visibility and semiconductor demand trends has prompted iSuppli Corp. to upgrade its forecast of 2009 chip sales.

iSuppli now predicts global chip sales will decline by 16.5 percent in 2009, compared to the publicly announced forecast previously of a 23 percent drop. In a forecast delivered to clients in early August, iSuppli had improved its 2009 growth forecast to a 17.6 percent decline.

The figure presents iSuppli’s current forecast of global semiconductor revenue.

iSuppli: Global Annual Semiconductor Revenue Forecast (Millions of US$)Source: iSuppli, Sept. 2009

“Lack of visibility from the end market and through the electronics supply chain was a major problem for semiconductor suppliers in the first quarter,” said Dale Ford, senior vice president, market intelligence services for iSuppli. “However, due to a stabilizing economic environment in the second quarter and improving supply chain visibility, semiconductor shipments rebounded as inventories were replenished and modest forward-looking purchases were made.”

Third-quarter semiconductor sales are benefitting from improved market outlooks by major OEMs in key markets such as PCs and mobile handsets.

The global economy in the second quarter was boosted by worldwide economic stimulus efforts. Although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) really didn’t go into effect during the period, China’s stimulus efforts spurred a massive increase in consumer purchasing in the country, benefitting worldwide economic conditions.

Uncharted territory
While the outlook for the global semiconductor market may have gained some clarity, the industry appears to have entered uncharted territory when it comes to tracking sales trends.

“In the history of the semiconductor industry, the market has never had a cycle like this one,” Ford said. “Semiconductor sales have always been subject to a cyclical growth pattern that sees a move from a low point, through one or more supply-chain balancing periods and then to an eventual peak in revenue. However, the most recent cycle, starting in February 2006, was robbed of its peak. Just as the industry had achieved a balanced supply chain and was starting to move toward a peak, the global economic crisis drove the industry down.”

For the semiconductor industry, this means a both a long and painful downturn. While revenue began growing on a sequential basis in the second quarter of 2009, sales will not begin to increase on a year-to-year basis until May 2010. This means the industry will endure 20 months without year-over-year revenue growth, compared to the 17-month downturn that the industry experienced during the 2001-2002 decline.

While 2010 will bring a return to growth in the semiconductor industry with a 13.8 percent rise compared to 2009, the market won’t return to its 2007, pre-downturn level until 2012. Global semiconductor revenue will rise to $282.7 billion in 2012, compared to $273.4 billion in 2007.

Equipped for downturn
iSuppli forecasts that global revenue from shipments of electronic equipment will decline by 9 percent in 2009 to $1.39 trillion, down from $1.53 trillion in 2008. Growth will rebound by 5.2 percent in 2010 to reach $1.47 trillion.

EDA industry revenue down in Q2-09

SAN JOSE, USA: The EDA Consortium (EDAC) Market Statistics Service (MSS) today announced that the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry revenue for Q2 2009 is $1,125.5 million, a 5.6 percent sequential decline from Q1.

On a Q2/Q2 basis, EDA industry revenue declined 15.8 percent to $1,125.5 million, compared to $1,335.9 million in Q2 2008. The four-quarter moving average declined 13.9 percent.

“This recession started with the most precipitous drop in electronics industry history. Nevertheless, the normal pattern of preserving most R&D spending has been maintained by most electronics companies,” said Wally Rhines, EDAC chair and chairman and CEO of Mentor Graphics. “As the electronics industry recovers, and its R&D spending increases to come in line with its growing revenue, the EDA industry would be expected to recover as well.”

Companies that were tracked employed 26,298 professionals in Q2 2009, down 6.1 percent from the 28,004 employed in Q2 2008, and down 1.0 percent from the 26,561 employed in Q1 2009.

Revenue by product category
Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), EDA’s largest category, generated revenue of $449.7 million in Q2 2009. This represents a 12.2 percent decrease over the same period in 2008. The four-quarter moving average for CAE declined 18.6 percent.

In the next largest category, IC Physical Design and Verification, revenue decreased to $270.6 million in Q2 2009, a 12.8 percent decrease compared to Q2 2008. The four-quarter moving average declined 19.7 percent for IC Physical Design & Verification.

Printed Circuit Board and Multi-Chip Module (PCB and MCM) revenue decreased 24.1 percent compared to Q2 2008, to $105.8 million. The four-quarter moving average for PCB and MCM decreased 10.4 percent.

Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) revenue totaled $221.6 million in Q2 2009, a 16.3 percent decrease compared to Q2 2008. The four-quarter moving average for SIP decreased 5.0 percent.

Services revenue was $77.8 million in Q2 2009, a decrease of 28.6 percent compared to Q2 2008. The four-quarter moving average for services increased 7.5 percent.

Revenue by consuming region
The Americas, EDA’s largest region, purchased $509 million of EDA products and services in Q2 2009, representing an 11.5 percent decrease compared to Q2 2008. The four-quarter moving average was down 14.7 percent for the region.

Revenue in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) was down 21.1 percent in Q2 2009 compared to Q2 2008 on revenues of $212.4 million. The four-quarter moving average for EMEA was down 14.3 percent.

Q2 2009 revenue from Japan decreased 21.5 percent to $217.8 million compared to Q2 2008. The four-quarter moving average for Japan decreased 17.9 percent.

The Asia/Pacific (APAC) region decreased to $186.3 million in Q2 2009, a 13.1 percent decrease compared to the same quarter in 2008. The four-quarter moving average declined 5.3 percent.

Common Platform Alliance qualifies Synopsys IC Validator for 32nm design rule checking

MOUNTAIN VIEW, USA: Synopsys Inc. today announced that the Common Platform technology alliance, a unique technology collaboration between IBM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics, has qualified IC Validator for 32-nanometer (nm) process design rule checking on Common Platform technology.

Synopsys and the Common Platform companies are continuing with the collaboration to complete the qualification of IC Validator at 28nm on Common Platform technology. IC Validator, the newest addition to the Galaxy Implementation Platform, is a full signoff DRC/LVS solution.

In addition, the IC Validator has been uniquely architected as an ideal add-on to IC Compiler for in-design physical verification, enabling place and route engineers to accelerate time to tapeout and improve manufacturability by enabling physical verification within the implementation flow.

This qualification enables Common Platform customers to deploy IC Validator into production use at 32nm and see benefits from the productivity advantages of in-design physical verification in conjunction with the IC Compiler place and route solution.

"We believe that in-design physical verification is essential to significantly reduce physical verification turnaround time given the complexities at emerging nodes," said Henry Law, vice president, design services division for Chartered, on behalf of the Common Platform alliance companies.

"Architected for 45nm and below process nodes, IC Validator offers a highly flexible programming language that makes runset creation at these complex nodes easy and concise. Our qualification of IC Validator confirmed its signoff accuracy and productivity benefits of in-design physical verification. Given the observed benefits, we are committed to qualifying IC Validator for the Common Platform 28nm process node."

Prevalent approaches to physical design and verification can be described as "implement-then-verify" and result in multiple iterations between design and signoff. In-design physical verification accelerates design closure by enabling sign-off quality rule checking and fixing during the design process, avoiding late stage surprises that can jeopardize project schedules.

Other benefits include incremental processing, automatic error detection and fixing, near-linear scalability across multiple CPU cores and the elimination of expensive stream-outs and stream-ins. IC Validator also offers significant automation and innovative features such as DRC error classification or DRC waiver, multi-user collaboration, customized reporting and on-the-fly error reporting that can further improve physical verification turnaround time.

While in-design physical verification is facilitated by seamless integration with IC Compiler, IC Validator's foundry-endorsed, signoff-accurate engine is its core strength. Powered by its hybrid data and command-processing engine, IC Validator is a full signoff DRC/LVS tool offering the high accuracy necessary for leading-edge process nodes, excellent scalability for efficient utilization of available hardware and high programmability for easier runset development.

For runset writers and CAD managers, IC Validator offers a flexible programming language that can cut runset size from 2 to 10x, lowering the cost of setting up, maintaining and modifying the physical verification environment.

"Common Platform technology companies have always been at the forefront in defining high-productivity flows for advanced processes," said Bijan Kiani, vice president of product marketing, design and manufacturing products at Synopsys.

"This qualification marks an important milestone in supporting leading-edge technology from the Common Platform alliance and will bring IC Validator's unique value proposition to our mutual customers and partners. We look forward to our continued collaboration towards the 28-nm qualification."

Semiconductor inventories fall below optimal levels

EL SEGUNDO, USA: After swelling to major excess levels in 2008, global semiconductor inventories in the second quarter of 2009 dwindled to lean, but appropriate, levels, according to iSuppli Corp.

iSuppli believes that in the third quarter, semiconductor suppliers have moved to build inventory to achieve supply and demand equilibrium. As a result, global chip revenue in the third quarter likely will rise by 3 percent more than actual demand would dictate, creating an artificial bump in sales for the industry.

In the second quarter, Days of Inventory (DOI) at semiconductor suppliers fell short of optimal levels by 6.1 percent This represents a vast improvement over the fourth quarter of 2008, when DOI exceeded equilibrium by 14.8 percent.

“Having seen their inventories swell to excess in 2008, semiconductor suppliers acted quickly to reduce inventory,” said Carlo Ciriello, financial analyst for iSuppli. “However the pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction in the second quarter, leaving inventories at lean levels.”

Despite the below-target semiconductor inventories in the second quarter, there is no imminent danger of chip shortages at this time. With global semiconductor factory utilization at extremely low levels, suppliers can easily boost their manufacturing to meet demand.

In fact, the inventory correction has come as a boon to semiconductor stocks. The Semiconductor HOLDRS Trust index of 18 US chip companies’ stock prices rose by 55 percent during the six-month period from March to September, in concert with the drop in inventories.

While the ongoing inventory adjustment may be good news for the supply chain, the semiconductor industry is likely to suffer a harsh return to reality after inventory replenishment concludes.

“The inventory restocking effort will run its course by the end of the third quarter, leaving sales to be driven only by actual end-market demand,” Ciriello said. “This will bring an end to the artificial boost in sales and sentiment generated by the inventory rebuilding effort.”

The figure presents iSuppli’s estimate of the percentage of semiconductor DOI relative to seasonally adjusted, historical DOI targets.Source: iSuppli, USA

Optimal DOI is calculated by iSuppli based on semiconductor demand, and is adjusted for factors including seasonality, revenue fluctuations and margins.

Global number of GPS IC shipments to approach 450mn in 2010

LONDON, UK: While GPS IC shipment growth slowed during 2009, next year should see a 30 percent increase in shipments.

The unabated interest in GPS-enabled smartphones during the recession has been a life-saver for the GPS IC industry, and future growth will be fueled by the integration of GPS in feature phones across Europe and Asia, and its appearance in an ever-growing number of new consumer form factors such as MIDs, netbooks, media players, gaming consoles, GPS watches, digital cameras, and connected cars.

“With GPS well on the way to becoming a ubiquitous feature across the mobile consumer space, GPS chipsets are subject to increasingly challenging requirements,” says ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte.

“Many new LBS services such as social networking, tracking, logging, and geo-tagging require always-on, instant operation even in the absence of network assistance and without sacrificing battery life or increasing cost. This has prompted both u-blox and CSR to design their new u-blox 6 and SiRFStar IV / SiRFaware architectures, optimized for battery-powered portable devices.”

Other important trends include the adoption of post-processing for geo-tagging and tracking applications as implemented by u-blox in its “Capture & Process” technology, support for new GNSS systems such as Glonass and Galileo, jammer remover functionality, sensor support, System-on-Chip (SoC) implementations such as STMicroelectronics’ Cartesio+ application processor and Broadcom’s BCM4760 “PND-on-a-chip”, and software-based GPS (Fastrax).

NXP intros intelligent switches supporting HDMI 1.4

EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS: NXP Semiconductors unveiled intelligent switches supporting the new HDMI 1.4 specification released in June 2009.

The NXP TDA19997 and TDA19998 smart switches support the Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature, a new option introduced in the HDMI 1.4 release, which reduces the number of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback.

Building on the success of previous HDMI smart switches from NXP, the TDA19997 and TDA19998 also include support for all mandatory 3D over HDMI features. NXP is the one of the first semiconductor companies to deliver silicon supporting HDMI 1.4.

The new Audio Return Channel specified in HDMI 1.4 enables HDTVs directly receiving audio and video content to send the audio stream to an amplification system over the HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an extra cable.

The NXP TDA19997 and TDA19998 smart switches also include built-in auto-adaptive equalizers that can handle up to four HDMI 1.4 inputs, automatically maintaining audio-visual quality over HDMI cables up to 30m in length.

Their highly integrated design offers a compelling solution that eliminates the need for external components, reducing the overall Bill of Materials for TV manufacturers while delivering an enhanced viewing experience. The TDA19997 and TDA19998 are embedded with five EDID extensions for HDMI and VGA, as well as high levels of ESD protection.

“By the end of this year, nearly one billion HDMI-ready systems will have been shipped worldwide. With the Audio Return Channel, HDTV viewers will be able to enjoy top quality sound, without cable clutter,” said Denis Marsault, media interfaces product line, NXP Semiconductors. “By bringing our HDMI 1.4 smart switches to market quickly, we’re demonstrating our commitment to helping TV manufacturers deliver exceptional high-definition entertainment with the most energy-efficient solutions that fit easily into the home theater environment.”

The TDA19998 smart switches take advantage of NXP’s patented F3 (Fast, Fair and Faithful) architecture, which guarantees fast port switching between HDMI devices while keeping a secured HDCP-protected HDMI stream at the output. The F3 architecture also enables best-in-class power efficiency of all system in both active and stand-by modes.

The NXP TDA19997 and TDA19998 comprise the second generation of NXP’s highly popular HDMI smart switches, and are part of a wide portfolio of highly scalable solutions for the digital home, enabling TV makers to target a broad audience – from the most price-sensitive segments to the most feature-oriented markets.

The TDA19997 and TDA19998 are pin-to-pin compatible with previous generation smart switches from NXP, and provide TV makers with unprecedented flexibility in adapting to end user demand in terms of price, features and power consumption, as well as operator and content providers’ requirements for security and performance.

Engineering samples of the TDA19997 are available immediately from NXP. The TDA19998 smart switches will be available in mid-October 2009.

EVE’s ZeBu-Server proven fastest emulator on the market

SAN JOSE, USA: EVE, a leader in hardware/software co-verification, noted that its new emulation system ZeBu-Server can emulate a single design at a speed of up to 30 megahertz (MHz), based on recent benchmarks.

Additional benchmarks proved that ZeBu-Server can emulate a one-billion gate design at a speed of one MHz, 100-million gates at speeds reaching five MHz and a 10-million gate design at a speed of 10MHz. It is able to communicate with multiple host PCs at up to three gigabits per second (Gbps) per machine.

This enables a video transactor to display high-definition television images at multiple frames per second or to download the entire system-on-chip (SoC) software content in the emulator in a fraction of second.

“Execution speed is critical for large SoCs where hardware integration and software applications require fast initialization and billions of cycles to be executed in the shortest time,” says Lauro Rizzatti, EVE’s vice president of worldwide marketing.

“ZeBu-Server’s performance, high-capacity, automated compilation and interactive debugging capabilities make it the perfect vehicle for verifying high-end graphics and processor chips, applications where custom chip-based emulators struggle to reach speeds of a few hundred kilohertz.”

Priced from $150,000 or less than a penny per gate for large configurations, ZeBu-Server offers a high level of automation, short compile time, multi-user capabilities and greater execution speed than previous generations of emulators. It is suitable for all SoC verification needs across the entire development cycle, from hardware verification, hardware/software integration to embedded software validation.

Leading foundry selects Nova optical CD for 22/32nm

REHOVOT, ISRAEL: Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd, a provider of leading edge stand-alone metrology and the market leader of integrated metrology solutions to the semiconductor process control market, announced that its NovaT500 and NovaMARS have been selected as the metrology solution of record for both the 22nm and 32nm technology nodes, at one of the world's leading foundries.

The selection defines Nova as the sole provider of Stand Alone Optical CD metrology for both back end and front end of line applications including Lithography, Etch, CMP and advanced thin film applications. The Company expects to receive several stand alone tool orders in the coming quarters.

"The selection of Nova's metrology solution by one of the world's technology leaders is clear recognition of the technology leadership we have attained in the stand alone Optical CD market over the past few years. Our solution was evaluated against competing technologies over the past 12 months in the most advanced and challenging development environments and was able to cope with the most complicated next generation applications across several key areas of the fab", commented Dr. Boaz Brill, VP Technology Development at Nova.

"Winning the support of this particular customer, who is known as a technology leader and an industry benchmark, is of huge strategic value to the Company. With this third major foundry win we further expand our reach into this growing segment, an area where most capital spending is expected to continue in the coming years", commented Gabi Seligsohn, President & CEO at Nova.

The NovaT500 provides extremely high throughput of 250 Wafers Per Hour (13 measurement sites). Based on Nova's patented Normal Incidence Spectral Reflectometry, the NovaT500 redesigned optics improve metrology precision by 30 percent over current generation NovaScan 3090Next.

This flexible platform allows up to three Measurement Units to be installed on the same tool, providing an easy and cost effective path to upgrades as well as adding other metrology capabilities as they become available. Combined with NovaMARS, advanced application development software, the NovaT500 has the ability to measure fine profile parameters on complex 3D test structures as well as in the device.

EV Group's GEMINI wafer bonder selected by RFID/USN Center for 3D MEMS manufacturing

ST. FLORIAN, AUSTRIA: EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, announced that the RFID/USN Center has selected EVG's fully automated GEMINI wafer bonding system for stacked 3D MEMS device development.

Located in Incheon, Korea, RFID/USN is a leading MEMS foundry that offers manufacturing services for companies to initiate production processes with capabilities to segue from R&D to high volume. This order represents a significant win for EVG, marking its first foray into the prestigious institute's manufacturing line-up.

"As a foundry service provider, we strive to offer our customers with cutting-edge technologies to support their 3D MEMS production needs, and as such, require a flexible system that can adapt to a wide range of requirements," said RFID/USN Center's executive director, Dong-suk Han.

"Given the stringent demands of the leading-edge MEMS market, particularly for 3D devices, we evaluated a number of bonding solutions on the market for MEMS production, and in the end, chose EVG's GEMINI not only for its superior reliability and high-volume capabilities, but also for its flexibility and extendibility. The GEMINI enables us to quickly adjust the chuck to handle both 6- and 8-inch wafers, offering the highest available uptime in the market to ensure around-the-clock operation--a significant factor in our decision."

Commenting on the announcement, Paul Lindner, EVG's executive technology director noted: "This opportunity to cooperate with a leading Korean MEMS foundry, such as the RFID/USN Center, is an important step for EVG as we continue to expand our footprint in the growing Korean market. Following the opening of our Korean subsidiary in the summer of 2008, we have witnessed positive momentum in the market, and are fully committed to serving the needs of the region in the future.

Lindner added, "We have long served the MEMS market, and this order win is further testament to the strength of our solutions to address the production demands of advanced technologies, such as 3D MEMS devices."

EVG's GEMINI platform is a field-proven, production manufacturing solution for high-volume wafer bonding applications for MEMS, 3D IC integration and advanced packaging, as well as compound semiconductor applications.

Its modular design offers customers a highly flexible and extendible platform that enables customers the opportunity to incorporate pre-processing options such as cleaning and plasma activation modules, as well as additional bond chambers to augment throughput.

Additionally, this fully automated wafer bonding system integrates EVG's SmartView aligner, which yields precision alignment accuracy, as well as wafer handling expertise into one wafer bonding platform. The GEMINI maintains an installed base of more than 100, contributing to EVG's 75-percent market share dominance in wafer bonding.

NVIDIA, Microsoft ally on high performance GPU computing

SANTA CLARA, USA: NVIDIA announced work with Microsoft to promote NVIDIA Tesla graphics processing units (GPUs) for high performance parallel computing using the Windows HPC Server 2008 operating system.

"The coupling of GPUs and CPUs illustrates the enormous power and opportunity of multicore co-processing," said Dan Reed, corporate vice president of Extreme Computing at Microsoft. "NVIDIA's work with Microsoft and the Windows HPC Server platform, is helping enable scientists and researchers in many fields achieve supercomputer performance on diverse applications."

NVIDIA Research developed several GPU-enabled applications on the Windows HPC Server 2008 platform, such as a ray tracing application that can be used for advanced photo-realistic modeling of automobiles. Related to this, NVIDIA worked with Microsoft Research to install a large Tesla GPU computing cluster and is studying applications that are optimized for the GPU.

In addition, a whole range of enterprise applications - such as data mining, machine learning and business intelligence, as well as scientific applications like molecular dynamics, financial computing and seismic processing - are taking advantage of the massively parallel CUDA(TM) architecture on which NVIDIA's GPUs are based to achieve higher levels of productivity.

The CUDA architecture enables developers to use the CPU and the GPU together in a co-processing model. Compute-intensive sections of an application use the parallel computing capabilities of the GPU, while the sequential part of an application's code runs on the CPU.

"The combination of GPUs and the Windows platform has been a great benefit to our VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics) user community, bringing advanced molecular visualization and analysis capabilities to thousands of users," said John Stone, senior research programmer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "As we move toward even larger biomolecular structures, GPUs will become increasingly important as they bring even more computational power to bear on what will be highly parallelizable computational problems."

"The scientific community was one of the first to realize the potential of the GPU to transform its work, observing speedups ranging from 20 to 200 times while using a range of compute-intensive applications," said Andy Keane, general manager of NVIDIA's Tesla business. "Researchers are increasingly using Windows on workstations and in data centers due to strong development tools like Microsoft Visual Studio, its ease of system management and its lower total cost of ownership."

NVIDIA Tesla high-performance GPU computing products support Windows XP and Windows Vista in the workstation and Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 in the data center. Tesla C1060 and S1070 GPU computing products are available from most major system vendors including Cray, Dell, HP and Lenovo.

TI opens world's most advanced analog manufacturing facility in the US

RICHARDSON, USA: Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) announced the opening of its manufacturing facility in Richardson, Texas. The company expects to begin moving equipment into the facility in October.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:

Known as RFAB, ("R" for Richardson, "FAB" for fabrication), the fab will be the world's only production facility to use 300-millimeter (12-inch) silicon wafers to manufacture analog chips, which are essential components in virtually all electronics.

The facility will give TI a strategic advantage in high-volume production because thousands of analog chips can be etched onto each of these wafers, more than double the number on the more commonly used and smaller 200-millimeter wafers.

"The time is right for this investment," said Rich Templeton, TI's chairman, president and CEO. "Customer demand for analog chips is growing, and there's tremendous desire to save energy and protect the environment. The chips produced here will help our customers make thousands of electronic products that are more energy-efficient. It is significant that these devices will be made here, in North Texas, in one of the industry's most environmentally responsible fabs."

The facility will produce analog integrated circuits based on TI's proprietary process. Customers will use these chips in electronics ranging from smartphones and netbooks, to telecom and computing systems.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local and state officials, Templeton said TI plans to ship the first chips from this facility by the end of 2010. When the first phase of equipment is ramped and producing at full capacity, the facility will be capable of shipping more than $1 billion worth of analog chips per year.

Hiring will begin immediately for 250 jobs in RFAB. "These are high-quality, well-paying engineering, manufacturing and administrative jobs for our North Texas region. The infrastructure that a facility like this requires will create other indirect jobs with suppliers and support services," said Templeton.

"We want to thank our great partners in Richardson, Dallas, Plano and Austin who helped us make this happen," Templeton said, referring to the City of Richardson, Collin County, the Plano Independent School District and the Collin County Community College District.

"Texas Instruments' decision to again invest in Texas is yet another example of how, even during these economic times, the Lone Star State remains the top choice for companies looking to expand," Gov. Rick Perry said. "Our combination of a predictable regulatory climate, low taxation and a world-class workforce that is well prepared to fill the hundreds of new high-technology jobs TI will be bringing to the area."

Recent expansions
The opening of RFAB is the most recent in a series of manufacturing expansions by TI. Earlier this year, TI opened Clark, an assembly and test facility in the Philippines. TI also has been installing new test equipment at several other locations, and is in the process of installing newly acquired 200-mm manufacturing equipment for analog chip production at sites around the world, including Dallas.

Local education benefits
Local education has benefitted from TI's decision to build the fab in Richardson. As part of the original agreement between community and state partners, the nearby University of Texas at Dallas will receive a total of $300 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, the Texas General Land Office, the UT System, and private donors for improvement of its engineering and research programs.

"Texas Instruments has been a remarkable partner with education at all levels," said Dr. David E. Daniel, president of UT Dallas. "The impact of the RFAB's creation on UT Dallas has been dramatic in terms of recognition and research activity. This project's high profile played a direct role in our most recent efforts to reach for what many call Tier One status--our aspiration to become a nationally recognized research university. We look forward to partnering with Texas Instruments and the rest of our community as we grow toward this stature in service to the Dallas area and the region."

Green model
RFAB has been an important model of green construction. It was the first semiconductor facility to achieve Gold certification with the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. TI has applied knowledge from the RFAB designs to other facilities all over the world.

DA NanoMaterials opens Asia headquarters and advanced technology center in Taiwan

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: DuPont Air Products NanoMaterials L.L.C. [DA NanoMaterials], a 50/50 joint venture of DuPont and Air Products, and a leading supplier of chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) slurries to the semiconductor fabrication industry, announced the opening of its new Asia Headquarters in Jhudong Township, Taiwan, just outside Hsinchu Science Park. As part of the new Asia Headquarters, DA NanoMaterials has also built a new, state-of-the-art 300mm-capable Advanced Technology Center (ATEC).

"We made the decision to base our Asia Headquarters and Advanced Technology Center in Taiwan, due to our desire to be closer to our customers in the region," said Ed Shober, chief executive officer of DA NanoMaterials.

"Despite the current difficult economic environment, we view Asia, and especially Taiwan, as strong growth markets for CMP slurries. We wish to better position DA NanoMaterials for closer collaboration with our Asian customers, so we are very pleased to be making this significant investment in Taiwan."

The ATEC, which is now operational, is a Hsinchu-based 300mm-capable laboratory and technical center which is dedicated to developing and optimizing advanced CMP processes and consumable sets, and providing timely technical support to customers. This facility houses a state-of-the-art laboratory featuring 300mm CMP and defect metrology equipment, as well as an advanced chemical formulation laboratory to support product development and optimization.

"For a long time, CMP slurry users have sought increased technical support to help them reduce costs," said Dr. Saifi Usmani, vice president of Marketing, Business Development and Technology of DA NanoMaterials.

"With its advanced capabilities, we believe ATEC will become the first choice for technical support of CMP slurries in the Asia region. DA NanoMaterials is continuously evaluating ways to meet its customers' needs better and faster as we look to the future, and this new facility is specifically designed to add value for them."

DA NanoMaterials continues to provide truly innovative products that deliver superior performance reliably with reduced total cost of ownership.

Magma broadens support for TSMC processes

SAN JOSE, USA: Magma Design Automation Inc. announced that Quartz DRC and Quartz LVS rule decks are available for TSMC 180-nanometer (nm) process technologies. With this addition, designers can now download 40-nm, 65-nm, 90-nm, 130-nm and 180-nm rule decks for Quartz DRC and Quartz LVS from the TSMC-Online website.

"We have been working with Magma's Quartz DRC and Quartz LVS for advanced process nodes for several years, and have tested their accuracy using the same rigorous testing procedures we use for all DRC and LVS tools," said Tom Quan, deputy director of Design Service Marketing at TSMC. "In response to customer demand, we have now expanded support for Quartz DRC and Quartz LVS to include 180 nm."

Quartz DRC and Quartz LVS are architected to process integrated circuit (IC) designs of any size, at any technology node, in the least amount of time. Magma's is the first truly scalable physical verification solution, able to provide turnaround time that is up to an order of magnitude faster than existing solutions.

The Quartz tools are fully compatible with third-party IC implementation flows and can read file formats used by traditional physical verification tools.

"TSMC has been a key foundry partner with Magma, and our mutual customers have used Quartz physical verification solutions to tape out some of the largest, most aggressive designs in the world," said Anirudh Devgan, general manager of Magma's Custom Design Business Unit.

"Many ICs are still being implemented in lower-cost 180-nm processes. Now that TSMC has made 180-nm rule decks available, more designers will be able to leverage the speed and accuracy of Quartz DRC and Quartz LVS."

NI's enhanced sound and vibration software for noise frequency response analysis

AUSTIN, USA: National Instruments announced the release of the NI Sound and Vibration Measurement Suite 2009, a comprehensive collection of analysis and signal processing tools for noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), machine condition monitoring and audio test applications.

The Sound and Vibration Measurement Suite 2009 features a new continuous frequency sweep virtual instrument (VI) that greatly reduces the time it takes for engineers and scientists to perform frequency response tests.

The software suite also includes a new AES17-compliant audio filter VI for the National Instruments LabVIEW graphical development environment and the NI Sound and Vibration Assistant that provides the correct frequency filters for testing audio devices that take advantage of digital-to-analog conversion technology.

The continuous frequency sweep VI can perform frequency response and total harmonic distortion tests in one-tenth of the time traditional swept-sine approaches take. This function makes it possible for engineers and scientists to easily shift between the time and frequency domains, providing the ability to move beyond using fast Fourier transform (FFT) in signal analysis. Along with increasing the speed of test, the continuous frequency sweep makes it possible for new signals, such as a device under test residue signal, to be analyzed to characterize the response without stimulus signal interference.

In addition to the new AES17-compliant audio filter and continuous frequency sweep VIs, the LabVIEW VIs in the Sound and Vibration Measurement Suite contain octave analysis, frequency analysis and order tracking for automotive, military and aerospace and mechanical and structural designs. The measurement suite also includes the NI Sound and Vibration Assistant 2009, a stand-alone application for quickly acquiring, analyzing and logging acoustic, noise and vibration data.

The latest version of the Sound and Vibration Assistant features enhancements to the user interface to provide easy tachometer setup and support for using eddy current probes for displacement measurements. Engineers and scientists quickly and efficiently can get their applications started with the configuration-based Sound and Vibration Assistant or with the more than 50 ready-to-run LabVIEW example code bases included in the Sound and Vibration Measurement Suite 2009.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vitesse adds to industry’s largest family of 11.5Gbps crosspoint switches

CAMARILLO, USA: Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. unveiled another innovation to its industry-leading signal integrity portfolio with the availability of the VSC3316, a new 16-port asynchronous crosspoint switch with enhanced FlexEQ signal equalization capabilities.

The VSC3316 is the highest speed crosspoint available with 16 lanes, each with the ability to operate independently from DC up to 11.5 Gbps. Housed in the industry’s smallest available 15mm x 15mm footprint for this size switch matrix, the VSC3316 enables new possibilities to expand line card and switch card bandwidth by 75 percent over existing solutions while overcoming legacy backplane signal integrity issues.

The device is ideal for transmitting multi-gigabit data signals over printed circuit boards, backplane connectors, and copper cabling used across a range of communications equipment including Core and Metro routers, blade servers, network storage equipment, broadcast video routers, and physical layer switches.

“Telecom, datacomm, networking, and Ethernet protocols are all converging at the 10 Gbps node, requiring high-performance signal integrity products to route, switch and clean up these signals at rates up to 11.5Gbps,” said Juan Garza, product marketing manager for Vitesse.

“With a long-standing history of delivering products with unique capabilities such as the VSC3316, Vitesse clearly understands this migration and is uniquely positioned to enable customers to create devices that the marketplace demands.”

Unique feature set
Capable of 11.5 Gbps per lane bandwidth, the VSC3316 includes detection/transmission of signal (LOS) providing native Out-of-Band (OOB) support of SAS/SATA storage protocols. This architecture also provides protocol transparent operation, thereby allowing each channel to run independently.

Supporting the latest high-speed protocols, Vitesse’s VSC3316 supports a wide frequency range encompassing virtually all data protocols including Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), XAUI, Reduced XAUI (RXAUI), 10GBASE-KR, SAS, SATA, 1G/2G/4G/8G/10G Fibre Channel, PCIe Gen 1/2/3 and InfiniBand.

The combined functions of crosspoint switching and Vitesse’s leading FlexEQ adaptive equalization technology make the VSC3316 a highly cost-effective, low-power signal integrity tool useful wherever there are high-speed signals.

The VSC3316 incorporates a broadband, fully non-blocking and multicasting switch core and flexible fourth-generation equalization and pre-emphasis I/O capability. Offering maximum architectural flexibility in switching and routing connections, the device can perform signal fan-out, loop-back and protection switching while also regenerating signals otherwise compromised by losses in the transmission medium.

Vitesse’s FlexEQ adaptive equalization capability works independently of the data rate, providing highly effective compensation for deterministic jitter across a wide range of operating conditions without requiring re-tuning.

World-class signal integrity
Vitesse was first to introduce integrated signal equalization in crosspoints switches and now has nearly a decade of successful product developments and dozens of products in production.

With the introduction of dual time constant equalization, Vitesse’s latest-generation FlexEQ technology enables a new level of signal integrity engineering. FlexEQ adaptive equalization technology allows the system designer to compensate for multiple impairments in the signal path, such as connectors and cabling or skin effect and dielectric losses in PCB traces.

FlexEQ also provides a significantly wider compensation range, so a single device can be used in multiple applications, from PCB traces to backplanes to copper cabling. Learn more about FlexEQ at

Pricing and availability
The VSC3316 operates on a single 2.5V supply with a typical per-channel power dissipation of 200mW and is available in a high-density 15mm x 15mm, 196-pin PBGA package. General samples are available now, with volume pricing available upon request.

eASIC announces new ASIC-in-a-box design kits

SANTA CLARA, USA: eASIC Corp., a provider of NEW ASIC devices, announced the immediate availability of two ASIC-in-a-Box design kits that enable ASIC design to be widely accessible and thereby reverse the trend of declining ASIC design starts.

Through simplifying the design flow, the design kits empower engineers who are unfamiliar with ASIC design to now complete designs at a fraction of the cost and time compared to traditional standard cell ASICs.

Nextreme NEW ASICs are uniquely constructed to help simplify design, verification and silicon processing steps within the overall flow. Designers are able to focus their effort mainly on achieving their desired functionality and timing and not on arduous complex tasks such as power mesh design, signal integrity, test insertion, clock insertion, STA, ATPG, formal verification and LVS/DRC as they do with traditional standard cell ASICs.

The NEW ASIC-in-a-Box design kits provide software and documentation for completing and implementing Nextreme chip designs, and also deliver board design and debug guidelines for designing systems that incorporate Nextreme devices.

“Our NEW ASIC-in-a-Box design kits dispel the myth that ASICs are difficult, risky and expensive to design,” commented Jasbinder Bhoot, Vice President of Marketing at eASIC.

“eASIC has completed over 100 tape outs and delivered over 100 prototype designs in less than two years using the flow and tools that are now available in the ASIC-in-Box kits. Our new design kits make ASIC design affordable, accessible and achievable for everyone.”

Design kit contents
The NEW ASIC-in-a-Box Design Kits contain the following items:

* eASIC’s eTools software suite that includes easy to use utilities for configuring PLLs/clocks, assigning pins/pads, generating memories and post placement configuration and DRC.
* Magma DA’s Blast RTL software for performing synthesis and placement.
* Documentation and design tutorials to accelerate design implementation.
* JTAG programming cable for configuration and debug.
* Technical support website access.

Broadcom licenses latest ARM Cortex A9 multiprocessor technology

CAMBRIDGE, UK & IRVINE, USA: ARM and Broadcom Corp. have signed a major licensing agreement for the ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore multicore processor.

Broadcom intends to target the technology towards next-generation mobile, wireless and other consumer electronics applications.

In addition to the Cortex-A9 processor, the agreement included ARM NEON SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) technology for the ARM Cortex-A series processors, designed to provide acceleration for advanced, feature-rich multimedia, gaming and compute intensive applications.

“This licensing agreement extends our ARM processor portfolio. The flexibility and scalability of the Cortex-A9 processor enables us to optimize development costs by addressing the requirements of wireless applications from a common core platform,” said Nambi Seshadri, VP and CTO, Mobile Platforms and Wireless Connectivity Division, Broadcom.

“This latest agreement with a recognized market leader in wireless system integration demonstrates the continued market momentum for the ARM Cortex-A9 processor and ARM multicore technology,” said Mike Inglis, EVP and general manager, Processor Division, ARM.

“By leveraging the performance and power efficiency benefits of the Cortex family of processors along with the other advanced ARM technology, Broadcom can offer feature-rich, future proof solutions for every segment of the wireless market.”

The ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor’s scalable performance enables developers to exceed the performance of today’s high-performance embedded devices while consuming significantly less power.

In addition, the Cortex-A9 processor features power management features including adaptive gating, dynamic voltage and frequency scaling and the ability for each core to go independently into standby, dormant or power-off energy management states, providing control over the dynamic as well as the static energy consumed by both the processor and memories.

The Cortex-A9 MPCore processor can contain up to four independently configured, but fully coherent cores carrying out multiple tasks on each one in parallel. However since any complexity is hidden in hardware, the processor can be programmed as easily as a single core processor by utilizing one of the many SMP-aware operating systems.

A single core Cortex-A9 processor is capable of delivering 2x the performance of today’s smartphone processors and the ARM MPCore technology scales that performance even further.

A four-CPU Cortex-A9 processor cluster is capable of delivering an unprecedented 10,000 aggregate DMIPS when clocked at 1GHz. To simplify and broaden the adoption of multicore solutions, the Cortex-A9 processor supports system-level coherence with accelerators and DMA to increase performance and reduce power consumption at the system level.

Fuji Electric Device achieves significant cost reduction with Cadence Virtuoso accelerated parallel simulator

SAN JOSE, USA: Cadence Design Systems Inc. announced that Fuji Electric Device Technology Co. Ltd. cut development costs by about a third by using the Cadence Virtuoso Accelerated Parallel Simulator.

The company, a leader in power management ICs, credited the simulator with helping design teams boost the quality of their chips, and get them to market faster.

Fuji Electric Device Technology develops high-voltage and high-efficiency AC/DC IC for green IDC power management, communication and automotive markets. To verify a full-chip power system, a simulation technology with high performance and full SPICE accuracy was required.

“The Virtuoso Accelerated Parallel Simulator enabled our design teams to reduce the number of prototyping iterations, leading to a 30 percent reduction in our development costs,” said Takashi Kobayashi, general manager, Semiconductor Device R&D Dept., Electron Device Laboratory, Semiconductors Group, Fuji Electric Device Technology Co. Ltd.

“Using the Accelerated Parallel Simulator, we have reduced simulation time up to 75 percent for our full-chip designs without sacrificing any accuracy. As a result we are able to deliver high-quality devices and meet the market window.”

“We’re glad to see Fuji Electric Device Technology place its logo alongside the many other leading technology companies who have discovered the capabilities and benefits of the Virtuoso Accelerated Parallel Simulator for small to large pre layout and post layout designs,” said Zhihong Lui, corporate vice president at Cadence.

“The company’s experience of quality improvements and faster time to market is wholly consistent with what we’ve been hearing from other companies as well.”

Part of the Virtuoso Multi-mode Simulation, the Virtuoso Accelerated Parallel Simulator provides the next generation SPICE accurate simulation, with scalable performance and capacity, for a broad class of complex analog, RF and mixed-signal blocks and sub-systems with ten thousands of devices.

It is tightly integrated with the Virtuoso custom design platform and provides all the transistor-level analysis capabilities as in Virtuoso Spectre Simulator. The proprietary full matrix-solving algorithm delivers unparalleled scalable multi-threading capability using modern multi-core machines.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Applied Materials awarded key service contract by Fujitsu Microelectronics

SANTA CLARA, USA: Applied Materials, Inc. today announced that it has been awarded an integrated service contract by Fujitsu Microelectronics Ltd. to support its advanced 300mm semiconductor factory in Mie, Japan.

Under the program, Applied will service over 100 Applied chipmaking systems utilizing its innovative Applied Performance Service solution that scales service levels to match factory loading.

In addition, Applied will implement its Applied E3 advanced equipment and process control technology on Fujitsu Microelectronics Mie plant’s entire toolset to increase the efficiency, predictability and profitability of Fujitsu Microelectronics’ system-on-chip (SoC) manufacturing process.

“The SoC market requires a high degree of application-specific customization, resulting in a constantly changing product mix. Maintaining tight process control on every wafer is critical to profitability,” said Kiyoshi Watanabe, corporate vice president, Fujitsu Microelectronics Ltd.

“The Applied Performance Service Program paces service and price to actual utilization rates to provide us with committed uptime performance at a low, predictable cost that tracks factory loading.”

The uniquely flexible Applied Performance Service program can reduce maintenance costs by an average of 15 percent, making it a particularly powerful strategy for chipmakers producing SoC and other cost-sensitive logic devices, especially in times of rapidly changing demand.

Using proprietary fingerprinting algorithms, the Applied E3 solution further raises cost-efficiency by optimizing and tracking the process performance of every tool in the fab.

The E3 system’s fault detection and classification (FDC) technology provides rapid feedback on tool, wafer and lot performance to avoid unexpected excursions that impact productivity and cycle time, while run-to-run control (R2R) adjusts processing parameters in real time to enable more consistent output and higher device yields.

“Applied’s high-tech service approach is a perfect match for a sophisticated and agile fab such as Fujitsu Microelectronics’ Mie plant,” said Charlie Pappis, vice president and general manager of Applied Global Services. “By combining variable service with equipment and process automation, customers can reduce costs and take advantage of the unused potential of their existing assets. The growing momentum of our service business in Asia is a testament to Applied’s unique ability to provide innovative support solutions.”

Applied Materials begins shipments of world's largest, fastest, roll-to-roll vacuum coating systems

ALZENAU, GERMANY: Applied Materials Inc. has begun shipping multiple Applied Topmet 4450 systems, the world's largest and fastest, roll-to-roll thin film metal deposition machine, to a customer in Europe.

This latest model of Applied’s Topmet 4450 product line deposits ultra-thin aluminum films on 4.5m (15 feet) wide rolls of substrate material at a remarkable 20 meters per second (45 miles per hour) to provide a barrier against oxygen, moisture and ultra-violet radiation for flexible packaging applications.

New technology advances in the system produce state-of-the-art film quality while doubling the coated area output to drive down coated film production cost by more than 20 percent.

“We are excited about the growth potential of the roll-to-roll equipment business for flexible packaging as well as emerging applications such as flexible electronics, displays and solar,” said James Robson, vice president and general manager of Applied’s Glass and Web Product Group.

“The expanded Topmet 4450 system builds on 50 years of leadership in roll-to-roll machine design, with almost 600 systems installed worldwide, and also reflects Applied Materials’ extensive expertise in scaling up complex manufacturing equipment and processes.”

The new Topmet 4450 system is considerably faster than competing systems. It not only provides direct cost savings, but also enables higher material yield, simplified downstream processing, reduced labor requirements and a smaller factory footprint.

The system’s efficient use of power and raw materials, enabled by advanced high rate evaporation sources, closed-loop automatic layer control and high performance pumping systems, results in lower operating costs. In addition, an award winning real-time layer thickness monitoring system enables consistent coating uniformity while the novel uniform-tension roller design provides high speed, wrinkle-free material handling.

“We are proud to support our customers’ drive to lower production costs through our continuous system innovation,” said John Busch, head of Applied’s Web Coating Group.

“With this system, we boosted output, lowered operating expense and maintained quality – making the industry-leading thin film metallization systems even better. Applied will continue to earn its leadership position in vacuum coating production solutions with innovative products and superior customer support.”

ST intros MotionBee platform for remote motion control

SINGAPORE: STMicroelectronics, a leader in MEMS and wireless technologies, has introduced MotionBee, a complete, ready-for-use platform that combines state-of-the-art motion sensing with ZigBee wireless technology in a single ultra-compact module.

Boasting low power consumption and high level of integration, ST’s MotionBee enables system developers to quickly and cost-effectively build wireless sensor networks for remote motion recognition and tracking in many different application areas, including healthcare, security, industrial control and environmental monitoring.

The first-generation MotionBee module integrates ST’s market-proven 3-axis digital-output MEMS accelerometer with a ZigBee platform from Ember Corporation that includes the EM250 System-on-Chip, a 2.4GHz, IEEE 802.15.4-compliant radio transceiver and processor, together with the EmberZNet PRO ZigBee networking software.

The module detects accelerations in the selectable range of +/-2g and +/- 6g and transmits the information to a central connection point (star topology) or every other node (mesh topology) in a ZigBee wireless network. The module is fully programmable and its small size (49 x 27 x 5 mm) makes the deployment easier, such as in wearable medical or sports equipment.

Addressing specifically the requirements of remote sensing and control systems, ZigBee technology enables the implementation of broad-based wireless mesh networks that are able to run for months on inexpensive primary batteries, representing a viable alternative to costly hard-wired systems.

The first-generation MotionBee modules are optimized for designs that require long battery life, a low external component count, and a reliable, proven, industry-standard networking solution.

ST’s complete and cost-effective remote motion control platform enables wireless sensor networks in a variety of existing and emerging applications, such as vibration monitoring and detection in different indoor and outdoor environments, automated navigation systems, or bio-sensor networks in remote-healthcare scenarios.

ST’s first MotionBee device, the SPMB250-A1, is available now, with samples priced at $60. An evaluation kit is also available, with two pre-programmed modules and a ZigBee dongle for integration with a PC.

New report spotlights technology opportunities in India

UK: A new UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) report, ‘Business Opportunities in India for Technology Partnerships', maps the deep mine of business for Britain's technology sector in India generated by its increasingly sophisticated and growing middle class.

Launched to coincide with two Indian delegations visiting the UK, the report is aimed at British firms working with semiconductors, mobile communications and healthcare. It provides valuable information about the opportunities to combine the UK's frontier expertise with India's huge ICT industry to provide technological solutions for India and the world.

Minister for Trade, Investment and Business Lord Davies recently visited India, which increased investment into the UK by 44% in 2008, becoming the second largest source of investment after the US. Two-thirds of the Indians firms investing in the UK are in the software and technology fields.

Lord Davies said: "It's been over a decade since outsourcing was the buzzword. Now, innovative Indian and UK firms are working together at the top end of the industrial spectrum. India's talent, confidence, energy and entrepreneurial spirit must be seen to be believed."

‘Business Opportunities in India for Technology Partnerships' is part of UKTI's ICT strategy to help SMEs tap into partnership programmes and business opportunities through missions, networking and face-to-face meetings. Combining UK technology expertise with the scale of India's ICT industry should lead to powerful solutions for India and globally.

The first delegation to the UK is the Indian Semiconductor Association, from 29 September to 2 October, following a recent MoU signing in New Delhi to work with UKTI on developing India-UK technology partnerships. A major part of the programme will be UK-India seminars and networking events organised with Silicon South West, South West Regional Development Agency and East of England International.

NASSCOM is the second delegation, bringing 14 of its members covering a variety of areas, including e-learning and healthcare. Events organised in London with Intellect and Think London will help UK companies explore how to work with Indian firms and meet one-to-one with the NASSCOM delegates.

UKTI Chief Executive Sir Andrew Cahn said: "Despite the global difficulties India remains a vital growth economy with opportunities to match. With potential partnerships across technology sub-sectors, coupled with a severe skills shortage, now is the time for UK companies to take advantage of the technology boom."

To help British business enter the Indian market, UKTI's presence is stronger than ever with 90 staff on the ground in India alone. UKTI can help UK businesses looking to explore options in India, find business partners and provide grants to help firms attend tradeshows.

UK-India bilateral trade is worth £12.6 billion with double-digit growth in the last year. The UK's exports to India rose in 2008 to £5.9 billion while imports in 2008 to £6.2 billion.

To request a copy ‘Business Opportunities in India for Technology Partnerships' email

Saturday, September 26, 2009

STMicroelectronics' combined audio converter/driver IC

SINGAPORE: Audiophiles and aficionados of portables entertainment devices such as MP3 players, cellular phones, personal computers, laptop computers and/or PDAs are extremely demanding about the sound quality of their entertainment experience.

Meanwhile, engineers behind the scenes continue to struggle with delivering increasing quality with new features in more stylish packaging at lower cost.

Combined audio converter/driver ICs are simplifying the design of set-top boxes and other consumer audio/video products, but the new TS4657 from STMicroelectronics, a leading provider of digital audio ICs, improves on existing technology by reducing external components and power consumption and improving sound quality.

ST’s new TS4657 is a single chip combining audio-DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and line-driver functions to feed the audio Line-Out connection of set-top boxes, DVD players, portable multimedia devices, sound cards, or similar equipment. The Line Out provides a direct connection to drive an external home amplifier, allowing for a better audio experience by maintaining constant signal levels, better digital volume control and a wider volume range.

The IC uses an internal power management unit to produce a 2.2Vrms audio-output signal for voltages from 3.0V to 5.5V, eliminating the need for a separate high-voltage power supply to drive the Line-Out output. Similar devices typically require four external capacitors for the charge pumps but ST’s high-frequency design integrates this function on-chip, thereby saving board space and bill-of-materials costs.

The TS4657 is in production now, available in the 4 x 4mm QFN20 package and priced at $0.91 in quantities of 1,000 units.

Applied Micro-TSMC bring Power Architecture MPUs to TSMC technology platforms

SUNNYVALE, USA: Applied Micro Circuits Corp., a global leader in energy conscious computing and communications solutions, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. announced a collaboration enabling AppliedMicro’'s Power Architecture microprocessors to be manufactured on TSMC’s industry-leading technology platform first at 90nm then moving to 65nm and 40nm soon after.

The agreement signals the first time that Applied Micro'’s embedded microprocessors are available beyond complex and costly Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) fabrication processes. The first product of this collaboration, the Applied Micro APM 83290 processor, operates at 1.5GHz which represents the highest performance for a Power Architecture processor manufactured on bulk CMOS technology, thus highlighting the benefits of successful technology partnership with TSMC.

“The collaboration with TSMC marks an entirely new milestone for Power Architecture processing as it enables us to reach many low-cost application areas that were impractical for processors built in SOI technology,” said Robert Fanfelle, Associate Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Applied Micro. “TSMC’'s 90nm CMOS technology is stable and mature and it offers an unbeatable combination of performance and price flexibility for a new generation of embedded computing applications.”

“TSMC values the collaboration with Applied Micro because by pooling our strengths it signals a new wave of innovation for both companies,” said Pan-Wei Lai, Vice President of Business Development at TSMC North America. “Power Architecture technology is highly versatile and adaptable for a wide variety of embedded applications and AppliedMicro’'s plans for new processor designs promise to extend the relationship between our two companies as we explore ways to bring about improvements on TSMC’s advanced technology platforms.”

Applied Micro Power Architecture processor families have forged market leadership positions in wireless access points, cellular base stations and multifunction printers. Moreover, the company’s expertise in communications technology and advanced peripheral development around Power Architecture cores continues to capture market share from major networking, storage and consumer OEMs.

Prospective system designers can leverage an extensive ecosystem of industry-leading partners encompassing operating systems, development tools, software platforms, board-level products, and design services allowing rapid time to market product release.

“Our company’'s collaboration with TSMC heralds a new era in Power Architecture computing as it becomes more accessible for systems designers that want an excellent balance of high performance and low power consumption for today’s energy-conscious system designs,” Applied Micro'’s Fanfelle said.

“Our processor and system-on-a-chip expertise combined with TSMC’s experience and technology provide a powerful launching point for Power Architecture based solutions as we enable new classes of products and systems.”

The announcement kicks off a long-term strategic relationship between Applied Micro and TSMC designed to widen the availability of Power Architecture embedded processing across TSMC’s competitive bulk technology platform. The move extends Applied Micro’'s energy efficient product emphasis leadership by leveraging the benefits of TSMC’s high-performance, low-power processes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

LSI named to Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index

BANGALORE, INDIA: LSI Corp. announced that the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which represents 475 institutional investors with $55 trillion in assets, has named LSI to the 2009 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index.

“LSI is committed to reducing our carbon footprint in the United States and at our facilities around the world,” said Andy Micallef, executive vice president, Worldwide Operations, LSI. “Recognition by the Carbon Disclosure Project is a welcome reflection of our results to date.”

Compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index is an evaluation tool for institutional investors. It lists the top 50 corporations on the S&P 500 based on analysis of management responses to the CDP’s annual questionnaire.

In 2009, the questionnaire focused on greenhouse gas emissions, emissions reduction targets, and the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Paul Dickinson, Chief Executive of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said, “The Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index recognizes companies who have demonstrated a good understanding of how climate change affects their business today and in the future.

Companies who minimize their emissions today and who seize opportunities to reduce their footprint tomorrow will be well-placed to prosper in a low carbon economy of the future.”

Wafer Level Packaging 2009 Report

LYON, FRANCE: Yole Développement updated its new markets & technological study dedicated to Wafer Level Packaging: Wafer Level Packaging 2009 report.

In this WLP‐2009 report, Yole presents detailed technical and market status and forecasts on WLP technologies and applications. Market figures and growth rates are provided in units and wafers for each market segment over the 2008‐2013 period. Numerous application examples are given, recent technical developments and options are detailed, and industry‐wide technology roadmaps are presented.Source: Yole Développement, France

Wafer Level Packaging is a confirmed high growth trend in the semiconductor packaging industry. Wafer Level Chip Scale Packaging (WLCSP), or the direct bonding of bumped ICs on PCBs as one of the most visible expressions of WLP, is undoubtedly the fastest growing package type in the whole industry.

Yole forecasts that it will exceed 10 billion units per year by 2012, at a compound annual growth rate of more than 20 percent over the next five years. Primarily driven by footprint and thickness reduction of packaged integrated circuits in mobile phones, WLCSP is now used in a wide range of circuits for handsets: EMI/ESD interface protection; power supply (PMIC/PMU, DC/DC converters, LED drivers, MOSFET’s,); connectivity (Bluetooth, WLAN); and other features (FM, GPS, TV on mobile, camera).

Wafer‐Level Packaging of MEMS devices is also expected to grow fast, driven here too by the handset market and its fast increasing rate of integrated sensors (MEMS microphones, accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure and magnetic sensors).

Maturing WLP technologies sustain high market growth
Early reliability issues have been largely improved with time, using new design rules and materials wafer level packaged parts now comfortably pass thermal cycling and drop qualification stress tests for consumer applications with extended die sizes up to 20mm². Concurrently the market matured as more WLP assembly service providers entered the market. More customers gained confidence in these technologies and tier 2 handset manufacturers also recently started to buy and mount WLCSP solutions on their boards.

Besides offering unequaled geometry benefits of small footprint and ”thinness”, WLCSP has become cost competitive with QFN -- its main package platform competitor in handsets. This cost benefit now paves the way for the adoption of WLCSP by more consumer end user applications like netbooks, notebooks, gaming consoles, MP3 players and digital still cameras. Some WLCSP devices can also be found in automotive applications, which may well represent a future growth sector for WLP.

A likely capacity shortage of 300mm WLCSP in the coming months
It appears that during the recent economic downturn, the semiconductor packaging industry as a whole failed to anticipate this demand and did not plan sufficient WLCSP production capacity for the coming months. In particular, a shortage of 300mm wafer capacity for WLCSP is very likely to occur during the next quarters.

However, significant investments are being made by a few industry leaders to develop future WLP technologies, like fan‐out WLCSP or chip embedding, which will extend the reach of WLP to larger ICs and enable the combination of small size chip‐scale packaging with low profile 3D System‐in‐Package.

In this WLP‐2009 report, you will find detailed technical and market status and forecasts on WLP technologies and applications. Market figures and growth rates are provided in units and wafers for each market segment over the 2008‐2013 period. Numerous application examples are given, recent technical developments and options are detailed, and industry‐wide technology roadmaps are presented.

Qosmos announces support for Tilera multicore processors

PARIS, FRANCE: Qosmos ixEngine – a network intelligence software development kit providing real-time visibility of data as it crosses networks –- has been optimized to run on Tilera multi-core processors, delivering high speed performance for the most demanding and sensitive networks.

Qosmos, provider of Network Intelligence technology that enables deep visibility into data crossing networks, announced a strategic partnership with Tilera. Qosmos ixEngine is now optimized to run on Tilera’s TILEPro64 multi-core embedded processor.

Tilera’s TILEPro64 multi-core processor delivers the highest application throughput on the market at the best performance per watt, satisfying the ever increasing computing needs of high-end security, advanced networking and wireless infrastructure systems.

With this development, Qosmos’ solution provider customers can rely on the increased application performance enabled by the TILEPro64 processor for applications that require high speed network analysis in real time, such as lawful interception, cyber security, network protection, advanced billing and network optimization.

Organizations that will benefit from the higher performance of the combined solution include:

* Government cyber security departments who will be able to enhance security applications to detect and act on cyber attacks much more quickly.

* Telecom solution providers, who need instant traffic analysis to enable applications such as market research, billing, policy management and network optimization to provide a full understanding of subscriber behavior.

“We have worked very closely with Tilera’s R&D team to optimize ixEngine to take full advantage of the added speed and capacity of their processors,” said Jérôme Tollet, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Qosmos.

“Tilera'’s multicore processors are especially well-suited to handling IP traffic at the speeds our customers need for their telecom and government industry solutions. In addition, developers can work in a familiar Linux environment and benefit from standards-based tools.”

“It is a pleasure to partner with an industry leader such as Qosmos. Both our product lines can integrate easily into existing networks, reducing initial investment and OPEX while at the same time keeping future growth affordable,” said Vijay Aggarwal, Vice President and Co-Founder of Tilera.

“Together we can enable our OEM customers to develop cost-competitive solutions and help reduce their development time, allowing them to take solutions to market more quickly and affordably.”

IDT receives favorable ruling in patent action versus LSI Logic

SAN JOSE, USA: IDT (Integrated Device Technology Inc.), a leading provider of essential mixed signal semiconductor solutions that enrich the digital media experience announced a favorable ruling issued by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in a patent action brought by LSI Corp. against several semiconductor companies, including IDT. In the ruling, the ITC found that the patent claims asserted by LSI were invalid.

LSI had alleged that IDT and the other defendants in the action violated section 337 of the Tariff Act which prohibits the importation and sale of infringing products. Based on the finding of invalidity, the Court held that no violation of section 337 has occurred with respect to the asserted claims.

The full ITC Commission has until November 21 to determine whether to review the initial determination of the judge or allow it to become final.

AMD changes game with ATI Radeon HD 5800 Series DirectX 11-compliant graphics cards

SUNNYVALE, USA: AMD launched the most powerful processor ever created1, found in its next-generation ATI Radeon HD 5800 series graphics cards, the world’s first and only to fully support Microsoft DirectX 112, the new gaming and compute standard shipping shortly with Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

Boasting up to 2.72 TeraFLOPS of compute power, the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series effectively doubles the value consumers can expect of their graphics purchases, delivering twice the performance-per-dollar of previous generations of graphics products.3 AMD will initially release two cards: the ATI Radeon HD 5870 and the ATI Radeon HD 5850, each with 1GB GDDR5 memory.

With the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series of graphics cards, PC users can expand their computing experience with ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology, accelerate their computing experience with ATI Stream technology, and dominate the competition with superior gaming performance and full support of Microsoft DirectX 11, making it a “must-have” consumer purchase just in time for Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

“With the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series of graphics cards driven by the most powerful processor on the planet, AMD is changing the game, both in terms of performance and the experience,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Products Group, AMD.

“As the first to market with full DirectX 11 support, an unmatched experience made possible with ATI Eyefinity technology, and ATI Stream technology harnessing open standards designed to help make Windows 7 that much better, I can say with confidence that AMD is the undisputed leader in graphics once more.”

BroadLight awarded new PON patent

SANTA CLARA, USA: BroadLight, the leading supplier of GPON semiconductors and software, announced that it has been awarded patent number 7,583,904 by the US Patent Office for a "Transimpedance (TIA) circuit usable for burst mode communications."

The TIA circuit includes a TIA stage, a limiter-amplifier and a DC restoration loop. The invention allows enhanced distance between Central Office (OLT) and Customer Premises Equipment (ONT), helping to consolidate central office space and power.

“BroadLight has always been focused on improving our PON end-to-end design and put a special effort on innovative burst mode technology implementation, leveraging our leadership position in the PON IC market,” said Igor Elkanovich, VP VLSI of BroadLight. "Our incumbency position in all ITU-T PON deployments helped us in directing our design effort to bring state-of-the-art and highly integrated SoC solutions.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Intel technology, processing power key to TV revolution

INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM, SAN FRANCISCO, USA: The television, both the device and the experience, has arrived at an inflection point. In keynote addresses today at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel executives Eric Kim and Justin Rattner discussed what happens and what's needed when the full Internet converges with broadcast networks.

The executives laid out the opportunities, both short- and long-term, to make the TV experience more visual, more personal and more interactive.

Kim, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group, took the wraps off the Intel Atom processor CE4100, the newest system-on-chip (SoC) in a family of consumer electronics (CE) media processors, and announced efforts with several key industry players including Adobe, CBS, Cisco and TransGaming which are helping to make the vision of interactive TV a reality in the short-term.

"At the center of the TV evolution is more processing power, which we deliver with the CE4100 media processor, built on the Intel Atom core and optimized for IPTV digital set-tops, connected media players and digital TVs," said Kim. "With its performance and high-resolution graphics capabilities, CE manufacturers and software developers now have a platform for real innovation."

According to Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer and Senior Fellow, that innovation will accelerate in the next few years.

"By the year 2015, you can expect 15 billion consumer devices capable of delivering TV content with billions of hours of video available," said Rattner. "We'll need much more sophisticated ways to organize content and provide it on demand. Intel Labs researchers are working on evolving technology so people can get the TV content they want, when they want it and wherever they want it."

3D, advanced graphics and more
As consumer devices deliver more and more TV content, developers will need to blend together video, 3-D animation and rich graphics. And in turn, the importance of graphics and audio/video decoding in CE platforms becomes increasingly critical.

Kim disclosed that Intel and Adobe Systems are working together to port Adobe Flash Player 10, a key tool for content developers, to the new family of SoC media processors. This will result in future CE devices that are optimized for playback of graphics and H.264 video to enable for the first time a wide array of Flash Player 10-based applications on the television.

Rattner predicted that high-quality 3-D video will someday soon be consumed in the privacy of your own living room. Onstage, he spoke to a life-size 3-D version of 3ality Digital CTO Howard Postley about the intense computation and bandwidth required for capturing and managing 3-D TV in real time.

Both executives discussed how a new high-speed optical I/O technology from Intel, codenamed "Light Peak," will improve bandwidth and flexibility while greatly reducing complexity and cost for PC users downloading videos and other digital media. Postley said 50 copper-based cables on the set of a 3-D shoot today could be replaced with a single optical cable with Light Peak technology. In addition to its extreme speed, Light Peak technology has the unique ability to simultaneously transport multiple existing I/O protocols.

Personal TV, intelligent networks
With the massive amount of TV content delivered digitally today and in the future, personalization is critical. TV Network CBS developed a TV Widget, or small Internet application, to help viewers find and connect to premium content in a more customized manner. TV Widgets are made possible by the performance of Intel CE media processors and Widget Channel, a software development framework.

Delivering interactive product placements, games and on-demand video on non-traditional TVs, such as digital connected CE devices, will require innovation in how that content is actually distributed from TV service providers.

Joining Kim on stage was Malachy Moynihan, Cisco's vice president of video product strategy, Service Provider Video Technology Group, to discuss how the company is helping service providers evolve their current networks to a medianet, which integrates the best elements of the existing broadcast infrastructure with carrier-grade IP networks to provide such new services as unified video experience.

Intel unveils 45nm SoC for Internet TV

INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM, SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Intel Corp. today unveiled the Intel Atom processor CE4100, the newest SoC in a family of media processors designed to bring Internet content and services to digital TVs, DVD players and advanced set-top boxes.

The CE4100 processor, formerly codenamed "Sodaville," is the first 45nm-manufactured consumer electronics (CE) SoC based on Intel architecture. It supports Internet and broadcast applications on one chip, and has the processing power and audio/video components necessary to run rich media applications such as 3-D graphics.

"Traditional broadcast networks are quickly shifting from a linear model to a multi-stream, Internet-optimized model to offer consumers digital entertainment that complements the TV such as social networking, 3-D gaming and streaming video," said Eric Kim, senior vice president and general manager, Intel Digital Home Group. "At the center of the TV evolution is the CE4100 media processor, a new architecture that meets the critical requirements for connected CE devices."

CE industry rallies around Intel CE media processors
Joining Kim on stage during his keynote were executives from Adobe Systems, BBC (British Broadcast Company), CBS, Cisco and TransGaming. These and other companies are working with Intel to advance content, services and infrastructure for connected CE devices.

As TVs become more interactive, Adobe Flash is an important enabling technology to help content developers blend together video, 3-D animation and rich graphics. Intel is working with Adobe to port Adobe Flash Player 10 to the family of Intel CE media processors to optimize the playback of graphics and H.264 video to enable for the first time a wide array of Flash-based content on the television.

"The architecture of Intel media processors provides a powerful and innovative platform to showcase Flash-based applications in a vivid way," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe.

"Flash Player 10 combined with the performance of the Intel media processor and its support for standards such as OpenGL ES 2.0 offers a compelling environment for Flash-based games, videos and other rich Web content and applications." The companies expect Adobe Flash Player 10 to be available in the first half of 2010 for Intel media processor-based CE devices.

Malachy Moynihan, vice president for video product strategy, Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group, discussed how delivering premium video to the TV will require intelligent networks and content storage.

"Cisco is helping service providers evolve their networks to a medianet, integrating the best elements of the existing broadcast infrastructure with carrier-grade IP networks to provide new services like unified video experience," said Moynihan.

"The crucial components to enable a unified video experience include the need for an emerging monetization model across the video ecosystem as well as client devices with quality graphics and a high-performance processor to truly enhance the visual appeal for consumers."

On-demand gaming for TV
TransGaming President and CEO Vikas Gupta announced an on-demand gaming service called to be optimized for connected digital TVs and CE devices powered by Intel media processors.

"At TransGaming, we're in the business of enabling existing games to operate on alternative operating systems," said Gupta. "Since Intel CE processors run on Intel architecture, it's a fast and easy migration from the PC to the CE platform."

The service will offer a broad library of games such as sports, action and adventure and provide content developers with a software development kit to support the migration of existing games and the development of new games based on the Intel CE platform. It will help revolutionize the delivery and global consumption of video games and provide a turnkey monetization strategy for CE manufacturers and cable/satellite providers (MSOs).

TV widgets, interactive TV applications
Intel CE media processors provide a full-featured software framework called Widget Channel for the development of Internet applications, or TV widgets. Broadcast networks such as CBS are expanding the gallery of TV widgets to help their viewers find and connect to premium content in a more personalized manner.

"Navigation is the No. 1 challenge for today's television viewers," said George Schweitzer, president, CBS Marketing. "Intel's CE technology and our new TV Widget platform are designed to help people find the shows they want and discover new programs that are relevant to their interests. What's more, the TV Widget gives us another platform to connect and interact with our audience while delivering an exciting new television experience."

Intel is working with the industry to expand Widget Channel to provide consumers a range of services such as movies, music, games and personal videos. TV Widgets and services shown at IDF were from Accedo Broadband*, The Associated Press*,*, CBS*, CinemaNow*, Dailymotion*, Immediatek*, Mediafly, MyVideo*, Netflix*, PlayJam*, RadioTime*, RallyPoint*, ShowTime Networks*, Tagesschau* and WhereverTV.*

Intel Atom processor CE4100
The CE4100 processor can deliver speeds up to 1.2GHz while offering lower power and a small footprint to help decrease system costs. It is backward compatible with the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 and features Intel Precision View Technology, a display processing engine to support high-definition picture quality and Intel Media Play Technology for seamless audio and video.

It also supports hardware decode of up to two 1080p video streams and advanced 3-D graphics and audio standards. To provide OEMs flexibility in their product offerings, new features were added such as hardware decode for MPEG4 video that is ready for DivX Home Theater 3.0 certification, an integrated NAND flash controller, support for both DDR2 and DDR3 memory and 512K L2 cache.

The CE SoC contains a display processor, graphics processor, video display controller, transport processor, a dedicated security processor and general I/O including SATA-300 and USB 2.0.

Cypress’s EZ-Color HBLED controller family enables fast design for WAC Lighting

SAN JOSE, USA: Cypress Semiconductor Corp. today announced that WAC Lighting, a leading manufacturer and designer of track, recessed, undercabinet, decorative and monorail lighting, has selected Cypress’s EZ-Color high-brightness LED (HBLED) controllers to control the LEDs in its new color-changing tape light system.

Based on Cypress’s flexible PSoC programmable system-on-chip, the EZ-Color solution enabled WAC Lighting designers to quickly introduce the energy-efficient INVISILED PALETTE system to the display and accent lighting markets.

INVISILED PALETTE uses the CY8CLED02 EZ-Color controller to manage red, green and blue diodes to create unique color-changing capabilities. With EZ-Color’s patent-pending PrISM (Precise Illumination Signal Modulation) technology, the color changes are programmed in a constant, smooth transition with adjustable speed among the three colored diodes and can be stopped at any point for a custom color effect.

The PrISM modulation technology also significantly reduces low-frequency flicker and radiated electro-magnetic interference (EMI)—common problems in LED lighting designs.

"The Cypress EZ-Color solution provided us the flexibility and ease-of-use of the PSOC architecture while integrating the color mixing algorithms we required for our INVISILED PALETTE system,” said Shelley Wang, President of WAC Lighting and the 2009 recipient of the Residential Lighting Industry Leadership Award. "The smooth color-changing effects of the EZ-Color solution help PALETTE stand out from the competition.”

“WAC Lighting’s innovative LED lighting systems are a great showcase for Cypress’s EZ-Color family,” said Curtis Davis, vice president of Cypress’s PowerPSoC Division. “The PALETTE system shows how our EZ-Color solution streamlines design with HBLEDs while also bringing smart lighting effects to the market.”

Intel unveils fastest laptop chips ever with new Intel Core i7 mobile processor

INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM, SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Intel Corp. introduced its revolutionary Intel Core i7 Mobile Processor and Intel Core i7 Mobile Processor Extreme Edition, bringing Intel’s award-winning and super-fast Nehalem microarchitecture to the mobile market.

These processors in addition to the new Intel PM55 Express Chipset, provide the best laptop experience for intense gaming, digital media, photos, music, business applications and other multi-threaded software that hungers for faster processing speed. The chips also boost overall performance when using several of these applications simultaneously.

"With intelligent features like Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and a host of others, Intel has revolutionized the laptop PC processor, delivering performance when you need it, energy efficiency when you don’t," said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group. "For the first time, mobile users can choose a laptop that delivers Internet-server like speed, right in their laps for the most demanding tasks, from intense gaming to digital video editing and social media applications."

Formerly codenamed "Clarksfield," Intel Core i7 mobile processors offer Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which can accelerate the processor clock speed up to 75 percent to match workloads, as well as better performance on highly threaded applications with the power of Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. The new Intel Core i7 mobile processors also include two-channel DDR3 1333 MHz memory support and full 1 x16 or 2 x8 PCI Express 2.0 graphics.

Whether users are editing a video, composing a song, playing a video game or updating their Facebook status with the latest YouTube video craze, Intel Core i7 mobile processors adapt to provide the right processing power for the task, with more performance and flexibility to match their on-the-go needs.

Laptops with Intel Core i7 mobile processor Extreme Edition support Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (Intel XMP) and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, the ultimate tuning utility making it possible to overclock3 and fine tune your laptop for incredible performance and battery life optimizations. In addition, the Intel PM55 Express Chipset enables high-end workstation and gaming laptops to support features such as Intel® Matrix Storage Technology, Intel® High-Definition Audio, and increased I/O interfaces.

Pricing and availability
Leading OEMs including Asus, Dell, HP and Toshiba began shipping laptops today based on Intel Core i7 mobile processors, with additional systems from OEMs available in the coming months. 1ku pricing for the Intel Core i7-920XM, Intel Core i7-820QM and Intel® Core i7-720QM mobile processors is $1,054, $546 and $364, respectively.

Intel's priority: A total mobile computing experience

INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM, SAN FRANCISCO, USA: At the developer conference, Intel demonstrated how from handhelds and netbooks for light-computing to the balanced performance and style of ultra-thin laptops to full-function laptop computing, the company delivers the right combination of priorities for every mobile experience.

The Intel Developer Forum keynote by David (Dadi) Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group, also marked the debut of three new super-fast and intelligent Intel Core i7 processors for laptops.

"Staying connected on an increasingly broad array of mobile devices has become the most exciting and quickly evolving part of technology," said Perlmutter. "Intel is delivering the total mobile experience on each device, offering different levels of performance and power in sleek form factors coupled with compatibility, a superior mobile Internet experience and embedded WiMAX wireless broadband. We're truly taking mobility to the next level of cool."

Based on Intel's award-winning Nehalem microarchitecture, the new Intel Core i7 processors and a new chipset include such features as Intel Turbo Boost Technology and Intel Hyper-Threading2 Technology. The quad-core chips deliver unmatched processing power on-the-go for the most demanding PC users who create digital video, play intense games or run compute-intensive business applications.

Perlmutter also highlighted Intel's next generation of mobile processors, codenamed "Arrandale," which brings the Nehalem microarchitecture to mainstream laptops. These chips will integrate the dual-core CPU and graphics in the package and incorporate the 32nm manufacturing process and second-generation high-k metal gate transistors for increased performance and power efficiency for mainstream mobile PCs. This integration of platform components will continue into the future with a fully monolithic processor on 32nm, codenamed "Sandy Bridge."

Citing a combination of architectural, design and process enhancements, Perlmutter detailed progress with Intel's "Moorestown" platform, scheduled for 2010 and targeting MIDs and smartphones. He discussed some of the innovative techniques that Intel is implementing, such as Distributed Power Gating, for improved performance and major reductions in power and thermal envelope.

These technologies help to achieve up to a 50x improvement in platform idle power reduction compared to Intel's first generation "Menlow" platform. The reductions are enabling Intel to establish new thresholds in ultra low power while making it possible to run the full Internet and media-rich applications in handheld devices.

Perlmutter also touched on Intel's third generation ultra-low power platform, codenamed "Medfield." Expected in 2011, Medfield will be a single-chip 32nm system-on-chip (SoC) design that will enable a much smaller form factor and lower power designs than Moorestown, helping extend Intel squarely into smartphone segments.

Perlmutter demonstrated a new high-speed optical cable technology ready by next year to connect mainstream electronic devices such as laptops, HD displays, cameras, video players, iPods*, docking stations and solid-state drives (SSDs) to each other using optical fiber rather than copper wires, paving the way for a new generation of extreme input and output (I/O) performance.

Developed by Intel and codenamed "Light Peak," this proposed technology will spawn a new generation of extreme computer I/O performance, delivering 10Gb/s of bandwidth, with the potential ability to scale to 100Gb/s over the next decade. At 10Gb/s, a user could transfer a full-length Blu-ray* movie in less than 30 seconds. The company intends to work with the industry to determine the best way to make this new technology a broadly available standard.

In addition, Perlmutter announced Intel® Anti-Theft Technology3 (Intel® AT) version 2.03, an intelligent technology in PC hardware that disables laptop PC and access to encrypted data if it's lost or stolen. Collaborating with key security ISVs, Intel AT will enable enhanced data protection, PC theft deterrence for consumers as well as a broad number of consumer and business laptops from leading PC OEMs in 2010.

James: Developing for Continuum of Intel platforms
In the day's second keynote, Renee James, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, unveiled the Intel Atom Developer Program. This effort encourages independent software vendors and developers to create mobile applications. Intel is partnering with manufacturers, including Acer and ASUS, to create multiple application stores where applications and application building blocks for Intel-based netbooks and handhelds will be sold.

"The Intel Atom Developer Program will drive new innovative applications for consumers and new revenue streams for software developers," said James. "The new program facilitates the creation of applications that consumers can use with confidence knowing they were optimized and validated for Intel Atom processor-based devices."

Microsoft Silverlight and Moblin
Additionally, operating system support for Microsoft* Silverlight will be expanded to include Moblin early next year. Moblin is an open-source operating system project for netbooks, handhelds, smartphones and in-car computers.

Using Silverlight's cross-platform foundation, developers will be able to write applications once and have them run on Windows and Moblin devices, expanding the reach of Silverlight applications to more devices and consumers, and thus demonstrating the continued push into PC, TV and phone.

Demonstrating industry momentum for netbooks and the Moblin operating system, James announced the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v with Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition pre-installed will be available starting Sept. 24. James also announced that ASUS and Acer have launched – and Samsung planning to launch – Moblin version 2-based netbook devices.

Multiple operating system vendors, including Canonical, CS2C, Linpus, Mandriva, Novell, Phoenix and Turbolinux, announced production-ready Moblin version 2-based operating systems are now available.