Thursday, May 3, 2012

2HApr. mainstream NAND flash average contract price falls 2-9 percent due to slow season effect and seesaw-battle price negotiations

USA: According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, 2HApr. inventory replenishment for China’s Labor Day holiday was not as expected. Furthermore, aside from restocking for certain new tablet PC and smartphone models hitting the market in 2Q12, most system product and memory card application markets remain sluggish, affected by the 1H slow season.

Moreover, NAND Flash price has fallen dramatically since the beginning of the year, which has already impacted NAND Flash suppliers’ profit margins. Thus, since the beginning of April buyers and vendors have taken opposing stances on price negotiations - some firms have still not reached a consensus on contract price for some chips by the end of April. Therefore, the average mainstream NAND Flash contract price decreased about 2-9 percent in 2HApr roughly.Source: DRAMeXchange, Taiwan.

TrendForce provides the following analysis of supply and demand factors affecting the NAND Flash market:

1. Looking at demand, based on the release schedule of new processors, operating systems, and low-cost 20nm-class-process SSD products, many manufacturers are not likely to significantly increase shipments of new ultrabook, smartphone, and tablet PC models until 4Q12. Therefore, restocking of related NAND Flash application products will not increase markedly until mid-3Q12.

2. As for supply, due to market demand that has been weaker than expected in 1H12 and the potential effect of delayed release of some system products in 2H12, many NAND Flash suppliers have indicated they plan to carefully manage 2012 capital expenditures and bit growth, as well as temporarily suspend or slow wafer expansion plans or reallocate a portion of product lines to non-memory IC products.

Additionally, some NAND Flash suppliers will gradually decrease the sales portion of memory cards and UFDs in channel market, which have relatively lower demand, favoring instead embedded applications such as eMMC, mSATA and SSD – this will increase the sales portion of system product application revenue, reducing the impact of price decline on profitability.

Hopefully, excess inventory from 1H12 will be digested before the peak sales season in 4Q12 and the market oversupply situation will improve.

In summary, although the 2Q12 NAND Flash market remains in a state of oversupply, as NAND Flash suppliers’ profits were impacted by 1Q12 price decline, and new 20nm-class-process products’ yield rate, performance, and reliability all require some time to improve, makers will be less willing to adopt aggressive price-cut policy in 2Q12.

Therefore, NAND Flash contract price will continue to show a slight downtrend in the 2Q12 slow season, but price is expected to stabilize in early 3Q12 due to recovery of inventory restocking demand caused by some system product clients’ new model releases.Source: DRAMeXchange, Taiwan.

Dongbu HiTek to showcase specialized BCDMOS and analog CMOS chip technologies at PCIM Europe

SEOUL, KOREA: Dongbu HiTek announced that it will present new insights into its best-in-class Analog CMOS and BCDMOS processing/design technologies at the PCIM (Power Conversion Intelligent Motion) exhibit and conference, which commences its three-day run on May 8th in Nuremberg, Germany.

In addition to showcasing its best-in-class analog and mixed-signal semiconductor process technologies in the main exhibit hall (Booth 764), the Korean company will be participating in a “DC/DC Conversion” panel discussion on May 9th (Booth 670, 12:20-13:20) and making UHV 700V BCDMOS presentations two other days as follows:

May 8th (Foyer Ground Floor, 15:30-17:00) Poster Dialogue Session
“Design & Optimization of Robust 700V DR-LDMOS Using Thin Epitaxial Technology”
Presenter: Bon-Keun Jun, Dongbu HiTek Senior Manager, Process Development

May 10th (Booth 670, 14:40-1500) Forum Program
“UHV 700V Technology for High Efficiency Power IC”
Presenter: Lyes Djama, Dongbu HiTek European Marketing Director)

During the May 9th panel discussion, Dongbu HiTek will introduce a specialized Analog CMOS process (AN180X) for achieving highly efficient DC/DC conversion. Panel participants from Texas Instruments, Intersil, International Rectifier and Infineon are also expected to discuss their respective DC/DC conversion technologies.

Dongbu HiTek’s specialized BCDMOS technologies at the 0.35-micron node continue to emerge best-in-class across diverse applications. During PCIM, the company will be exhibiting two options for its superb UHV 700V process: an N-Epi version for industrial, automotive, military and medical electronics; and a Non-Epi version for lighting and power supply applications. The N-Epi process is ideal to implement gate drivers, motor drivers, solar energy inverters and IGBT modules; the Non-Epi version is well suited to implement ADCs, DC/DC converters and PFC controllers.

The company will also showcase four superb single-chip BCDMOS solutions: a high-voltage motor driver for industrial applications; and three others that address advanced automotive applications including Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS) to control headlights, Automatic Power Folding System (APFS) to control side-view mirrors and a Heated Steering Wheel Controller (HSWC).

Dongbu HiTek technologists will be on hand to discuss each of these specialized process technologies in greater detail, and how they can be fully leveraged to speed time to market and reduce overall manufacturing costs.

Arasan Chip Systems announces MIPI compliant low latency interface (LLI) IP solution

SAN JOSE, USA: Arasan Chip Systems Inc., a leading provider of Total IP Solutions, announced the availability of their MIPI LLI controller IP along with a matching Type 1 M-PHY, the latest additions to its prominent MIPI portfolio.

Both the Applications Processor and the Baseband Processor for mobile platforms are complex SOC's. Although the two chips are often integrated into one SoC by a number of chip vendors, a number of high end mobile chipsets are still split into two separate processors.

They each have their own system level memory to allow efficient cache refills. LLI is a chip-to-chip link layer interconnect protocol that allows efficient , low-latency cache refills from the DRAM associated with a companion chip, thereby removing the need for two separate sets of DRAM's and substantially reducing the cost of mobile platforms. LLI requires M-PHY Type 1 as the physical layer.

Arasan has developed a combined LLI controller and M-PHY Type 1 solution, which can be configured for a variety of host buses (like AHB, AXI and OCP), and bandwidth/latency requirements across multiple traffic classes. Using up to six lanes of M-PHY's this solution offers up to 17 Gbps bandwidth in each direction, with only one clock domain crossing in the LLI controller. Customers are given a choice of either source synchronous or independent clocking in the M-PHY's for clock and data recovery mechanisms in the analog receivers.

Benchmark announces tablet reference design based on TI's OMAP 4 processors

ANGLETON, USA: Benchmark Electronics Inc., a leading integrated contract product design and manufacturing service provider, announced that the company's design engineering team has created a reference design for a tablet platform based on the OMAP 4 applications processors from Texas Instruments Inc. (TI).

This reference design, called the Grizzly Tablet, can now be leveraged by customers in the key end markets that Benchmark serves, such as medical and industrial control equipment, including aerospace and defense. The Grizzly Tablet will be showcased at the TI Technology Tech Day at the River Centre in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 2, 2012.

By selecting Benchmark's reference design as a building block, customers have access to TI's OMAP 4 processors for differentiated solutions targeting applications such as telemedicine, rugged military and industrial applications, security applications and monitoring systems.

"Benchmark's status as a Platinum Member of the TI Design Network provides early access to this cutting-edge family of OMAP 4 processors for our customers. The Grizzly Tablet reference design offers the combination of design flexibility and state-of-the-art technology with great value and performance," said Mark Troutman, VP of US Design Engineering Services for Benchmark Electronics.

"As a Platinum member of TI's Design Network, Benchmark plays an important role in providing access to a broader base of customers interested in working with our leading OMAP processors. Benchmark's experience and track record of designing, integrating and manufacturing electronics products accelerates the design process, and helps customers bring proven, solid products to market," said Mike Schoonover, OMAP Industrial Business Development manager, TI.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Active-Semi announces three high performance quasi-resonant (QR) mode PWM ICs for “Green Power” AC/DC adapter apps

SAN JOSE, USA: Active-Semi announced the release of the new ActiveQR family of high performance QR mode secondary side regulator (SSR) ICs. These devices integrate benchmark protection features, offer fast load dynamic response, achieve accurate overload protection (OLP) and improve efficiency and EMI performance.

The ACT510, ACT511 and ACT512 belong to the patented ActiveQR Family of Universal-input AC/DC off-line controllers for general purpose adapter applications. The ACT510 and ACT511 are designed for Flyback topology working in discontinuous conduction mode (DCM) with full load switching frequency of 120kHz and 65kHz respectively. The ACT512 may be designed to work in either continuous conduction mode (CCM) or DCM at full load. This improves the efficiency in higher power applications, up to 60Watts, at a lower cost point.

"We have been very pleased with the ACT512's performance, especially in efficiency margin and protection coverage,” said A. Cao, manager of Technical Dept. of DareGlobal. “I was impressed that such extensive protection and QR mode control could be integrated into a tiny SOT23-6 package. The circuit design is easy and neat. Normally, such a performance controller requires SOP-8 package with more complex and expensive circuit design."

“At Active-Semi, we focus on developing innovative charger solutions as well as general purpose adaptor solutions,” said Peter Huang, director, AC/DC Marketing and Applications at Active-Semi. “With our unique architecture, the feedback system can monitor an extensive range of abnormal fault conditions and provide protection upon these conditions. We provide value to the end customer in both cost and performance. In 12V/2A applications, we can improve efficiency by 2 percent with standby power below 90mW and fast load dynamic response. This is one of the lowest standby power levels achieved in its class.”

All three products are sampling today.

Sample pricing for the ACT510-US-T is $0.18 each; for the ACT511US-T, it is $0.19 each and for the ACT512. $0.16 each.

INSIDE Secure named cool vendor by Gartner

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE: INSIDE Secure, a leader in semiconductor solutions for secure transactions and digital identity, announced it has been named a "Cool Vendor" in the latest "Cool Vendors in Semiconductors, 2012" report published on April 25, 2012 by leading analyst firm, Gartner Inc.

In the new report, written by Gartner analysts Jim Tully, Ganesh Ramamoorthy and Mark Hung, Gartner recognizes INSIDE Secure as an innovative, impactful and intriguing vendor. INSIDE Secure is one of the pioneers in near field communication (NFC) technology, and has developed a unique ability to provide a complete end-to-end NFC solution with its lineup of secure element, NFC controller and software stack offerings.

"As a leader and innovator in NFC, we are pleased by Gartner's recognition. We consider it a testament of our long-standing commitment to the NFC market and the technological advances we have brought to it," said Remy de Tonnac, CEO for INSIDE Secure. "With our MicroRead and SecuRead NFC hardware, the industry's only commercial-grade, royalty-free, open-source NFC protocol stack, an extensive suite of OEM and carrier NFC apps and our ecosystem partnerships, INSIDE Secure is uniquely able to provide complete NFC solutions."

Dual-core processors power nearly 20 percent of smartphones in 2011

BOSTON, USA: Dual-core processors, which power ultra high-end smartphones, gained strong traction in 2011, accounting for nearly 20 percent of total smartphone applications processors shipped, according to, “Smartphone Multi-Core Apps Processor Market Share: Samsung Leads with 60 Percent Volume Share in 2011,” from the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies (HCT) service.

This Strategy Analytics research shows that Samsung led the dual-core smartphone applications processor market in 2011, with 60 percent volume share, followed by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and NVIDIA. Samsung’s success in dual-core processors can be attributed to its strong sales at Apple and in Samsung’s own Mobile Handset Division.

Stand-alone applications processors accounted for 90 percent of total dual-cores shipped in 2011. Single-core applications processors are much more likely to be integrated—72 percent of total single-core processor chips shipped were integrated with baseband applications processors in 2011.

Sravan Kundojjala, senior analyst, commented: “Strategy Analytics would advise NVIDIA to focus on high volume tier-one design-wins in 2012 in order to maintain its first-mover advantage with quad-core processors. NVIDIA, whose Tegra 2 smartphone shipments declined 8 percent at the end of 2011--compared to shipments in the first half of the year -- lost momentum, despite being early to market with dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors.”

Stuart Robinson, director of Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service, said: “Qualcomm captured 16 percent volume share in the dual-core smartphone applications processor market in 2011 on the strength of its dual-core Snapdragon applications processor products MSM8x60 and APQ8060. Strategy Analytics believes that Qualcomm is well-positioned to make significant share gains in 2012 with the help of its LTE-integrated dual-core Snapdragon processor MSM8960.”

Kundojjala continued, “Strategy Analytics anticipates dual-core applications processor penetration into mainstream smartphones will accelerate through 2012 and into 2013, and new ARM architectures such as Cortex-A5 will help dual-core penetrate entry-level smartphones at the start of 2013.”

CEA-Leti promotes LETI-3S (Silicon Specialty Solutions) concept

GRENOBLE, FRANCE: CEA-Leti announced a focus on a new collaboration mode for a wide range of industry oriented customers from start-ups to manufacturers.

The research oriented unique CEA-Leti’s world-class process and metrology tool set should also offer:
* Advanced single step processes to high end process modules to realize some or the entire product or simply make a proof-of-concept demonstration;
* Flexible customer owned processes to meet small manufacturing requirements, through prototyping or small pre-series before transfer to commercial foundries;
* Equipment access through the expertise of CEA-Leti engineers.

LETI-3S for Silicon Specialty Solutions is targeting start-ups, component integrators, fabless or fablite companies, equipment or consumable suppliers. Other entities should be concerned such as foundries or research centers with a limited processes offer, micro and nanotechnologies companies who don’t want low-volume activities, and high-value silicon wafers dealers.

3S addresses following main domains:
* Deposition.
* Front Side/Back Side cleanings, wet etch and stripping.
* Lithography with dual side alignment capability. LETI-3S can provide generic masks but usually works on customer designs adapted to CEA-Leti lithography tools.
* Etching.
* Implantation, epitaxy, diffusion.
* CMP, bonding, grinding, dicing.
* Advanced in-line metrology.

LETI-3S is operated on the Minatec Campus in Grenoble on 24/7 200mm and 300mm technological platforms. Lower wafer sizes should be available thanks to an innovative holder technology. LETI-3S can provide substrates or work on customers wafers, pre-processed or not, through stringent contamination protocols.

The ISO9001 certification reinforces CEA-Leti’s leadership position as an industry oriented research center. LETI-3S ensures a full traceability from process flow conception to products delivery. SPC, FMEA, audits or conformance certificates to specifications are available according to the type of inquiry.

“LETI-3S is totally in accordance with the CEA-Leti missions to create and to transfer innovations to the industry“, said Laurent Malier, CEO of CEA-Leti. “This is a great opportunity for us to give a simple access to our resources and thus enlarge significantly the panel of our industrial partners on different markets in our application domains.”

Cavium announces shipment of OCTEON Fusion - industry's most powerful “base station-on-a-chip” family

SAN JOSE, USA: Cavium Inc. announced initial shipments of OCTEON Fusion small cell base station-on-a-chip family of SoC’s to Telecom Equipment Manufacturers (TEMs). The OCTEON Fusion family delivers breakthrough capacity and throughput for LTE small cell base stations, including micro, pico and enterprise femto base stations, through a high performance multi-core architecture.

OCTEON Fusion CNF71XX integrates Cavium’s award-winning OCTEON multi-core architecture along with purpose-built Baseband DSP cores, extensive LTE hardware accelerators and digital front end (DFE) features into a single chip.

The first release of this innovative new family of silicon includes four high performance MIPS64 cores and six DSPs, along with baseband hardware acceleration units interconnected with a low-latency crossbar and shared memory subsystem, allowing service of more than 128 connected users while delivering line-rate throughput for Uplink and Downlink. Compared to alternate solutions available today, OCTEON Fusion provides up to 4x greater performance within the same power and cost envelope.

Augmenting the macro cell network with a very large number of small cell base stations is essential to solving the mobile broadband capacity crunch and delivering 4G data throughput in a cost effective manner. For carriers to effectively deploy such a large and distributed radio access infrastructure, base stations need to be compact, inexpensive, easily manageable and energy efficient. Most of the TEMs and carriers are working to implement small cell based network topology and according to industry analysts, the small cell base station semiconductor market is expected to reach over $1 billion by 2016.

“With the shipment of OCTEON Fusion CNF71XX, service providers now have available unmatched carrier grade feature set and performance on all layers of LTE protocol in their small cell base stations,” said YJ Kim, GM of Cavium’s Infrastructure Products Group. “Increasing 4G momentum and consumers’ insatiable demand for mobile data are causing service providers to accelerate small cell deployments. OCTEON Fusion along with Cavium’s fully integrated and proven FusionStack™ LTE protocol software deliver standout performance while accelerating time to market for our TEM customers and their service provider customers.”

OCTEON Fusion’s innovative power efficient architecture allows the same scalable architecture to be deployed on both indoor and outdoor radio access solutions. Additionally, OCTEON Fusion maintains the same OCTEON architecture used in OCTEON II SoC’s that are widely deployed by several Tier 1 wireless OEM’s in their macro base stations and radio network equipment, enabling seamless reuse of existing software modules.

Cavium is currently sampling OCTEON Fusion CNF71XX to select customers. The OCTEON Fusion reference platform ships with comprehensive RF solutions that work in multiple bands and a complete set of fully optimized deployment ready software.

Fairchild's smart high-side switches provide designers reliable alternatives to discrete solutions for driving automotive apps

SAN JOSE, USA: In today’s automotive applications, designers need to reliably and safely switch high currents into grounded resistive or inductive loads. This includes applications such as incandescent lamps, motors, and heaters. To do this currently, they either have to rely on discrete or electro-mechanical solutions, or are hampered by limited solutions in the marketplace.

Fairchild Semiconductor, a leading global supplier of high performance power and mobile products, has developed a smart high-side switch family that specifically addresses advanced electrical load control in automotive body electronics. The family provides an alternative to discrete MOSFET solutions, integrating protection and diagnostic features in order to reduce component count and PCB complexity, while offering better system reliability.

The FDDS100H06_F085 smart high-side switch is an N-channel power MOSFET with charge pump, ground-referenced CMOS-compatible input and diagnostic output with integrated protection functions. The diagnostic feedback capability of the FDDS100H06_F085 provides system control options to minimize impact under various fault conditions.

The FDBS09H04A_F085A and FDDS10H04A_F085A are smart high-side switches incorporating an N-channel power MOSFET device featuring a charge pump, current controlled input and diagnostic feedback with load current sense and integrated Smart Trench chip-on-chip technology.

eASIC enables 3X increase in energy efficiency for astrophysical simulation supercomputer

SANTA CLARA, USA: eASIC Corp., a provider of NEW ASIC devices, announced that Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Hitotsubashi University, has successfully demonstrated a 3X increase in energy efficiency for a green supercomputer used for performing astronomical simulations. By leveraging eASIC’s low power Nextreme-2 NEW ASIC devices, Tokyo Institute of Technology was able to achieve an energy efficiency ratio of 6.5 GFLOPS/Watt for its GRAPE-8 supercomputer.

The key component in achieving the highest energy efficiency ratio for the GRAPE-8 system is the use of eASIC’s Nextreme-2 NEW ASIC devices, which are commonly used for replacing FPGAs for high volume and power sensitive applications. Manufactured using a low-power 45nm LP process, and employing single via programming which eliminates the need for power hungry SRAMs that FPGAs require for programming look-up tables and routing, eASIC devices typically enable FPGA users to achieve up to 80 percent lower power consumption. eASIC’s unique GreenPowerVia technology also enables users to completely turn off any logic and memories that are unused in a design.

“eASIC’s devices have enabled us to take a giant step forward in resolving the power issue with next generation supercomputers,” commented Junichiro Makino, Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology Graduate School of Science and Engineering. “Standard cell ASIC was prohibitively expensive and FPGA power consumption simply could not allow us to beat the previous record of 2.1GFLOPS/Watt which was held by IBM’s BG/Q green supercomputer. eASIC’s NEW ASIC allowed us to achieve a new record of 6.5 GFLOPS/Watt,” added Makino.

“This great accomplishment by Junichiro Makino and his team is testament to the innovative power saving technology eASIC has developed,” said Jasbinder Bhoot, VP of Marketing, eASIC. “The energy efficiency numbers they are demonstrating are very impressive. In many industries ranging from wireless infrastructure to enterprise storage, we are helping customers overcome the power problems caused by FPGAs. When low-power consumption is paramount, like Tokyo Institute of Technology’s GRAPE-8 processor, eASIC’s Nextreme-2 devices are the ideal choice.”

Broadcom announces industry's lowest power, highest performance 100GbE multi-rate Gearbox PHYs

IRVINE, USA: Broadcom Corp. has announced the industry's lowest power and highest performance multi-rate 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) physical layer transceivers (PHYs) for next-generation data center, enterprise and core networks.

The new Broadcom BCM84790 and BCM84793 gearbox PHYs extend Broadcom's industry-leading portfolio of 10GbE, 40GbE and now 100GbE physical layer devices while offering the first multi-rate interface for 4-lane (4x25 Gbps) and 10-lane (10x10 Gbps) bi-directional transmissions.

The low power 40 nm CMOS architecture dissipates only 2.5 watts per port, delivering power savings of more than 35 percent as compared to previously available solutions. The BCM84790 features a space-saving 17x17mm BGA package specifically engineered to support CFP network applications. The BCM84793 features a 19x19mm BGA package with the ability to support 10-lane bi-directional transmissions at 10 Gbps each. This added flexibility ensures support for future-generation networking formats such as CFP2 and CXP.

Optimized for IT professionals who design and manage high-bandwidth data center and enterprise networks, the BCM84790 and BCM84793 gearbox PHYs have the ability to multiplex and demultiplex data across four 25 Gbps channels to (or from) ten 10Gbps channels. Both devices can also be configured to support four bi-directional lanes at 10Gbps for 40GbE repeater applications, support Ethernet and optical transport networking, and are compliant with the IEEE 802.3ba standard for 100GbE and ITU OTL 4.4 signaling.

Spansion appoints new executive VP and GM of global business

SUNNYVALE, USA: Spansion Inc, a leading provider of Flash memory solutions, has appointed Glenda Dorchak as executive vice president and general manager of Global Business. Dorchak will play a key leadership role in maximizing growth opportunities in embedded markets and oversee global sales and marketing.

"Glenda has deep expertise in embedded markets and a reputation for strategic business development and strong customer engagement," said John Kispert, president and CEO of Spansion. "Her experience will be valuable to Spansion and our customers as we continue to expand our market opportunities and product portfolio to meet our customers' evolving requirements."

Dorchak is an industry leader in corporate strategy, executive management and marketing for embedded markets. Most recently, she held CEO positions at VirtualLogix and Intrinsyc Software. She spent five years at Intel in vice president and general management positions of the Communications Group, Broadband Products and the Consumer Electronics Group. Dorchak also held various sales, marketing, product management and finance roles at IBM, and is currently a board member of Mellanox Technologies.

"Spansion is in an exciting period of growth, with industry leading products and a relentless focus on delivering innovative solutions which require high performance memory-intensive systems that enable our customers to deliver the best-in-class products and user experience," said Dorchak. "I have been impressed with the market leadership and customer loyalty Spansion has achieved in the embedded market. I am thrilled to work with this talented team to accelerate our growth and advance Spansion forward in its next phase of growth."

Triad Semiconductor deploys Numetrics analytics software

CUPERTINO, USA: Numetrics, the leading provider of analytics tools for semiconductor R&D organizations, announced that Triad Semiconductor, a fabless semiconductor company specializing in mixed-signal IC products, has deployed Numetrics’ fact-based, project planning software.

The Numetrics solution generates reliable, analytics-driven estimates of IC design complexity, project duration, key schedule milestone dates and engineering staffing requirements for new projects. Triad is integrating Numetrics into its R&D processes to ensure world-class development productivity and schedule predictability.

“Triad's mission is to make low-cost mixed signal IC design available to system-level designers. Our customers target their designs to Triad’s ever-expanding line of Via Configurable Arrays (VCAs),” said William Pratt, VP of Engineering. “Numetrics’ IC design productivity and resource planning tools allow us to get the maximum number of VCAs to market in the compressed time frames that our customers have come to expect from Triad.”

Using models calibrated with vast amounts of industry data plus Triad’s own project data, Numetrics’ fact-based project estimation tools enable engineering managers to generate the most reliable project plans possible. With Numetrics’ software, a project plan can be optimally balanced to reconcile its competing constraints, including resource availability, product functionality, time-to-market and development cost, to enable maximum engineering efficiency. Numetrics tools have been applied to over 2,000 production semiconductor IC projects from over 50 semiconductor and electronics companies.

“We’re delighted Triad has selected our solution to ensure optimal deployment of its R&D resources, a cornerstone for maximizing productivity and on-time schedule performance,” said Ron Collett, Numetrics’ president and CEO. “I’m fully confident that Triad will gain a competitive advantage from our fact-based planning and benchmarking tools.”

Cosmic Circuits announces silicon-proven PLLs in multiple process nodes

BANGALORE, INDIA & CAMPBELL, USA: Cosmic Circuits has announced the silicon availability of PLLs in multiple process nodes.

Cosmic Circuits offers a broad portfolio of differentiated Analog IP cores in nanometer technology nodes covering Data-Converters, Analog-Front-End platforms for Wireless and Audio, Power-Management, Clocking and MIPI Interfaces.

The system-clocking PLLs are implemented in 110nm and 28nm process technology, and will offer SoC designers a wide range of analog and digital PLLs to choose from – these include PLLs that support input frequencies ranging from 32 kHz- 2000 MHz without requiring any external components, PLLs that occupies extremely low core area, and spread-spectrum PLLs for EMI suppression.

Sundararajan Krishnan, director of IP, said: “We are very committed to a PLL roadmap that extends into the advanced process nodes and invest a lot of time in characterizing the IPs across PVT conditions to achieve silicon proven status. We are glad that our 110nm and 28nm developments have reached fruition and are getting integrated in SoCs. We now offer a complete PLL portfolio in process technologies ranging from 0.18um to 28nm. Our PLLs are being used by leading customers across the world and detailed silicon characterization reports are available to customers on request.”

Competition heats up, mobile DRAM headed toward era of low profits

TAIWAN: According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablet PCs, DRAM makers are eagerly expanding mobile DRAM capacity, which not only improves profitability but lowers risk from commodity DRAM production as well.

Smartphone shipments are forecasted at 148 million for Q2, a 48 percent YoY increase. As for hardware specifications, quad-core chips, Android 4.0 (ICS) and LTE are in the spotlight this year, further increasing smartphone market share and mobile DRAM demand.

Looking at the supply side, Korean DRAM manufacturers have a strong foothold on the mobile DRAM market. Samsung and Hynix’s combined revenue encompasses 70 percent of the mobile memory market, and the makers are expected to begin mass producing LPDDR3 in the second half of this year. The new product will be used not only in smartphones and tablet PCs, but ultrabooks as well.

Although concerns over Elpida’s bankruptcy protection filing have not yet dissipated, the Japanese maker is actively working on mobile DRAM production to increase turnover and market share. Elpida’s LPDDR3 schedule is only slightly behind that of the Korean suppliers. As for Taiwanese makers, currently there is one supplier manufacturing LPDDR2 8Gb on the 3xnm process – hopefully they will be able to grab a share of the market from the mobile memory leaders.

Taking a look at end demand, mobile phone makers like HTC, Nokia, Sony, Samsung, etc. are all introducing new flagship models this quarter. Additionally, demand for mid to entry level mobile phones is strong on the Chinese market – MTK has released its MT6575 series chip, while Qualcomm is targeting the mid to entry level market with its MSM7227A. Chinese mobile phone manufacturers are producing their own branded products to take a slice of the market, with no lack of wallet-friendly high-end models.

TrendForce indicates, 4Gb-8Gb is enough to meet memory requirements for Android 4.0 and Windows 8. In the next 6 to 9 months, even if smartphone content per box does not increase, because Q2 shipments were better than expected (an 8.8% QoQ increase), demand will show a rising trend.

As the commodity DRAM market continues to be in a state of oversupply, even if Elpida concerns have not yet been resolved, DRAM makers are gradually reallocating capacity to specialty DRAM products. As a result, DRAM contract price has risen to the current price of US$20. However, in terms of cost structure, staying profitable remains a challenge. Turning to mobile DRAM is a logical option, but with so many makers jumping on the bandwagon, Q2 mobile DRAM contract price has fallen by 10-15 percent QoQ.

Even if DRAM manufacturers continue to shrink process technology and increase yield rate to lower cost, mobile DRAM price and profitability will quickly approach that of commodity DRAM – mobile memory is inevitably headed towards an era of low profitability.Source: DRAMeXchange, Taiwan.

Growth of China's IC industry slows with growth rate of 9.7 percent in 2011

BEIJING, CHINA: According to CCID Consulting, the global semiconductor market lacked momentum in 2011. By the end of 2011, the global semiconductor market was valued at $300.94 billion, with a slight growth of 0.88 percent year-on-year.

In 2011, the world's semiconductor product structure experienced the following slight changes: market shares of sensors and discrete devices kept rising, with a growth rate of 17.43 percent and 10.94 percent, respectively; however, IC experienced a slight shrink, mainly due to the price falls.

Affected by different factors at home and abroad, the sales revenue of China's IC market slightly grew by 9.7 percent, which still outplayed the global market.

In terms of product structure, the market share of memory reached 21.3 percent in 2011, almost 3 percent down from 2010, The loss was attributable to the following two reasons. First, the mainstream PC DRAM products suffered a 50 percent fall in their prices in 2011.

Second, the bankruptcy of Japan's Elpida caused a new round of integration and merger and further enhanced the giant players’ monopoly power in the memory market. In contrast to the DRAM products, the NAND Flash products, driven by the popularization of smart phone, Pad and MID, witnessed a soaring growth in their sales volume.

Under such circumstances, the memory market decreased by 3.1 percent in 2011 year-on-year. Besides, the market share of ASSPs increased, while CPU’s output experienced a fast growth, owing largely to the rapid increase in China's laptop output in 2011.

In terms of application structure of China’s IC market, computer, telecom and consumer electronics remained the dominant application fields in 2011, with a combined market share of 87.5 percent. The computer-related IC market continued to see a stable growth in 2011, with an annual growth rate of 9.2 percent. Meanwhile, IC card overtook automotive electronics to become the fastest-growing application field in 2011.

As for brands, Intel was still the top brand in China's IC market. Hynix Semiconductor, stuck to the third place, experienced a 12 percent decrease in its market size growth due to the price falls of memory products. Renesas, whose MCU production for automotive electronics was affected by the East Japan earthquake, saw a 2.8 percent decrease in its growth rate. Qualcomm was ranked among the top ten in China's IC market with a growth rate of over 30 percent, thanks to the rising popularity of its mobile terminal products.

Development trends of China's IC market
In the future, China's IC market is expected to maintain a grow rate of 9 percent, mainly driven by the development of electronic products like PC, mobile phone and LCD TV. In addition, the development of emerging sectors such as Internet of things, cloud computing, new energy, semiconductor lighting, medical electronics and security electronics will provide new momentum for China's IC market.

In terms of technology, the 22nm chip is supposed to begin commercial sale next year, while the R&D of 14nm chips has already commenced. The processors will largely adopt the multi-core architecture, and new 22nm processor products will emerge. The memory products will also see smaller dimensions and more advanced packaging.

Microchip and SMSC announce the acquisition of SMSC by Microchip

CHANDLER & HAUPPAUGE, USA: Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions, and Standard Microsystems Corp. announced that Microchip has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Standard Microsystems Corp. for $37.00 per share in cash, which represents a total equity value of about $939 million, and a total enterprise value of about $766 million, after excluding SMSC’s cash and investments on its balance sheet of approximately $173 million.

The acquisition has been approved by the Boards of Directors of each company and is expected to close in the third quarter of calendar 2012, subject to approval by SMSC stockholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

“We believe SMSC’s smart mixed-signal connectivity solutions aimed at embedded applications are an ideal complement to Microchip’s embedded control business,” said Steve Sanghi, Microchip’s president and CEO. “This acquisition will expand Microchip’s range of solutions as SMSC contributes exciting new products and capabilities in the automotive, industrial, computing, consumer and wireless audio markets, significantly extending our served available market.”

“We are excited by the strategic possibilities presented by this acquisition,” continued Sanghi. “SMSC in its most recent fiscal year ending February 29, 2012 reported net sales of $412 million, non-GAAP gross margin of 54.4 percent of sales, and non-GAAP operating profit of 12 percent of sales. We expect this acquisition will be accretive to Microchip’s non-GAAP earnings in the first full quarter after completion of the acquisition. We look forward to completing this transaction in the third calendar quarter of 2012.”

“This transaction represents a compelling opportunity for SMSC employees, customers and stockholders by combining the leading market position and world class operational excellence of Microchip Technology with the world class smart mixed-signal connectivity solutions from SMSC,” said Christine King, president and CEO of SMSC. “We are pleased to become part of Microchip Technology, a premier company in the semiconductor industry.”

YTL and GCT Semiconductor collaborate to launch world's first WiMAX + HSPA 4G smartphone

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA & SAN JOSE, USA: YTL Communications, the leading 4G mobile Internet provider in Malaysia, and GCT Semiconductor, a leading designer and supplier of advanced 4G mobile semiconductor solutions, announced the launch of a new WiMAX + HSPA 4G smartphone, Eclipse, enabled by GCT’s WiMAX single-chip solution, GDM7205. YTL’s converged 4G smartphone Eclipse is making its debut on YTL’s Yes 4G network today.

YTL’s first converged 4G Android smartphone offers unmatched communications freedom with superior 4G speed and IP-telephony capabilities. The Eclipse, which seamlessly switches between WiMAX and 3G/GSM networks, is the first 4G-enabled all-IP phone encompassing VoIP and messaging, in addition to carrier-grade video conferencing capabilities.

“This revolutionary device will provide users with amazing possibilities. Not only does it embody the advanced telephony and high speed 4G data connectivity our Yes network has to offer, it elegantly supports legacy 3G/GSM telephony at the same time,” said Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications. “The Eclipse stretches the boundaries of communications and puts our world-class 4G network in the hands of smartphone users.”

“We’re pleased to continue working closely with our partner YTL to offer its customers a state-of-the art WiMAX smartphone that provides global roaming capabilities on 3G and GSM networks,” said Dr. Kyeongho “KH” Lee, president and CEO of GCT Semiconductor. “We continue to deliver innovative solutions for WiMAX technologies, and are dedicated to providing customers with turnkey market-proven single-chips with low power consumption, high performance and small form factor.”

Yes, a brand under YTL Communications, offers the fastest 4G mobile internet with voice service in Malaysia and is a global frontrunner in mobile 4G. Yes is the first mobile operator to bring the worlds of mobile Internet and mobile telephony together in one service. Launched in November 2010, Yes offers the lowest mobile rate for both postpaid and prepaid packages in the industry and currently covers over 70 percent of the population in Peninsular Malaysia. With its robust 4G network and a fully-converged mobile service, Yes is one of the most advanced wireless networks in the world. Yes was also the winner of the ‘Broadband InfoVision Awards 2011’ under the ‘Best New Service’ category.

GCT’s GDM7205 implements MIMO and all MAC and PHY features. Based on GCT’s industry-proven CMOS radio frequency (RF) technology, this compact solution offers a highly integrated, low-power transceiver which minimizes the number of external RF front-end components. It also includes a Mobile WiMAX baseband with high performance dual-processors and an impressive array of peripherals for connectivity. GDM7205 satisfies the high processing demands of multimedia data processing and wireless connectivity while minimizing power consumption.

Analog Devices’ nanoDAC+ converters offer industry’s best D/A converter performance and smallest packages

NORWOOD, Analog Devices Inc. has introduced a series of quad 16-, 14- and 12-bit D/A converters in space-saving 16-lead surface-mount LFCSP or leaded TSSOP packages. ADI’s new AD568xR nanoDAC+ series of quad D/A converters has the industry’s best DC performance (INL, offset error and gain error) and smallest package size, with a choice of on-chip or external reference and SPI or I²C control interface.

Applications such as PLC I/O cards, digital oscilloscopes, signal generators and optical modules that require low power, rail-to-rail, single-supply D/A converters will benefit from the AD568xR series’ industry leading performance.

“Customers, who previously had to trade off board area to achieve higher levels of digital-to-analog accuracy and reference drift performance now have a solution that meets all of their requirements,” said Donal Geraghty, director of Precision D/A Converters, Analog Devices. “The AD5686R delivers four D/A converters with 16-bit accuracy and a 2-ppm/°C reference in a tiny 3mm x 3mm package.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boise State, Micron Foundation to educate new generation of math and science teachers

BOISE, USA: Boise State University and the Micron Foundation have teamed up to entice Idaho's brightest science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students into the state's classrooms as a new generation of teachers who excel in technical subjects.

The new program, called IDoTeach, is designed to meet a desperate need for Idaho science and math teachers in coming years by attracting a largely untapped pool of talented college students majoring in STEM subjects into secondary education careers.

"This is a significant shift in the way we prepare math and science teachers," said Louis Nadelson, a Boise State education professor who is part of the team spearheading the creation of the IDoTeach program at Boise State. "We've found that many students majoring in STEM are interested in teaching but do not pursue it as a career for a variety of reasons. This program will help identify those students early in their academic career so we can foster and support any interest in teaching and hopefully guide these technically-minded students into careers as teachers."

With $300,000 in initial funding from the Micron Foundation, IDoTeach will replicate an innovative and highly successful teacher preparation program created at the University of Texas at Austin that has been duplicated at 29 universities around the country, including University of California, Berkeley, Louisiana State University, University of Houston and Florida State University. IDoTeach is the only replica of
the University of Texas program in the eight-state Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountain region of the country.

"The Micron Foundation is excited to support the IDoTeach program at Boise State as we believe educators can inspire students to pursue a world full of possibilities," said Dee Mooney, executive director of the Micron Foundation. "These future educators with their solid STEM backgrounds will further bring hands-on and real-world applications into the classroom, sparking a passion in the next generation of
scientists, engineers and mathematicians."

The Micron Foundation's support of IDoTeach is the latest strong history of support for education and Boise State.

XMOS simplifies audio system design with real-time debugging tools

BRISTOL, UK & BURLINGAME, USA: XMOS, developer of the industry’s first event-driven 32-bit embedded processor, announced the release of its new XMOS Development Environment (XDE) tool suite with enhanced support for real-time system design.

Audio interfacing and signal processing systems require low-latency transport and predictable processing of data. To address this need, XMOS development tools incorporate the unique XScope and XMOS Timing Analyzer (XTA), which allow designers to verify functionality, meet timing and tune audio processing. The tools also include updated compilers for C, C++ and XC, a multi-core debugger, simulator and flash programmer, and are accessible from the command line.

XScope real-time instrumentation exports user-specified data from the target device using an XMOS-powered High Speed USB 2.0 debug adapter. XScope can capture up to one million samples per second and visualize them in a software oscilloscope on the host; fast enough to monitor high-quality multi-channel audio at sample rates of 192kHz.

The unique XTA tool statically analyzes software and accurately reports execution times, enabling hard real-time systems to be developed quickly and easily. The tool not only allows timing to be closed on interfaces, but also guarantees timing for audio signal processing functions, ensuring samples are never dropped.

“Designing embedded systems is becoming increasingly challenging, with more stringent requirements on functionality and timing, and ever more complex software,” said Mark Lippett, XMOS VP of engineering. “This new release of the XDE makes it even easier to rapidly develop and maintain differentiated embedded systems using XMOS devices. Tool advancements are allowing an increasing number of XMOS users to take products from prototype to production weeks, and sometimes months, faster than alternative approaches.”

XDE release 11.11 software development tools are immediately available for Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX and Linux operating systems and include support for the latest XS1-S High-Speed USB integrated devices. The development tools are available for download, free of charge.

Maxim to demo newest technology for lighting control and optical sensing

Lightfair 2012, SUNNYVALE, USA: Maxim Integrated Products will attend Lightfair International in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 9-11, 2012, and will debut a new reference design that is a complete solution for the control and power measurement of two outdoor luminaires.

Lightfair International is the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow and conference. Maxim will also demonstrate integrated circuit (IC) solutions for optical sensing, LED drivers/controllers, and powerline communications (PLC).

Maxim demonstrations will showcase

* The MAX16840 LED driver for MR16 and 12V AC lamps and the MAX16841 LED controller, which enable smooth dimming and support different voltage requirements worldwide.
* The MAX2992 G3-PLC powerline transceiver. Customers can learn how Maxim’s G3-PLC communications protocol is used in lighting control and why the IEEE association adopted G3-PLC as a new industry standard.
* The MAX44000, MAX44005, and MAX44009 optical sensors will illustrate diverse capabilities by integrating an ambient light sensor (ALS), an infrared (IR) proximity sensor, an RGB color sensor, and temperature sensors.
* The 78M6613 reference design will showcase how this energy-measurement IC monitors and quantifies where power is used or needed at every node in a lighting system.

Atrenta ships 4.7 release of SpyGlass platform

SAN JOSE, USA: Atrenta Inc., a leading provider of SoC Realization solutions for the semiconductor and electronic systems industries, announced the availability of release 4.7 of its SpyGlass RTL analysis and optimization platform.

This latest release of SpyGlass delivers automated RTL power reduction that is, on average, 2X more effective across a broad range of designs when compared to previous releases. Run-time and memory usage have also been enhanced in 4.7 – customers have reported running 280 million gate designs flat through SpyGlass in four hours.

Many of the analysis features of SpyGlass have also been improved. UPF 2.0 support has been extended in SpyGlass Power Verify. A unique power intent-aware CDC analysis has been introduced that enables early verification of CDC issues around isolation logic at RTL. Glitch detection reporting has been enhanced and SpyGlass DFT DSM now provides at-speed testability analysis that is more comprehensive. SpyGlass Constraints analysis now enables designers to consolidate SDCs associated with different modes into a single SDC through an SDC mode merge capability.

New features in SpyGlass 4.7 include an improved user interface for SpyGlass Physical that provides designers the capability to quickly analyze and pinpoint logical congestion issues within their RTL. Also included in this release is a unique design complexity analysis addition to SpyGlass Advanced Lint based on cyclomatic metrics. The Atrenta Console graphical user interface also provides several usability enhancements for netlist and schematic viewing.

“The SpyGlass platform is helping our customers produce higher quality RTL, resulting in faster time to market and improved IP reuse," said Mike Gianfagna, VP of marketing at Atrenta. "The 4.7 release of the platform contains many enhancements and several new features that respond directly to our customer’s requests. I am confident the new version will see wide deployment.”

GE intros high speed data transfer module

HUNTSVILLE, USA: GE Intelligent Platforms announced the SPR507B 4-Channel serial FPDP interface PMC/XMC module. Designed for high speed remote data transfer at the industry’s fastest rates – in applications, for example, where the input from multiple sensors, such as in radar or sonar, is to be gathered for back-end processing – it can allow valuable chassis slots to be saved, resulting in smaller and lighter solutions.

Available as either a PMC module for legacy systems or as an XMC module for more recent systems, the SPR507B uses a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA to help it deliver up to 4.25 Gbaud per link, or a total bandwidth across its four ports of around 1.4 Gigabytes/second. It also benefits from GE’s extensive experience in thermal management and ruggedization, allowing it to be more easily deployed in confined spaces where cooling can be a challenge and where the environment is subject to extremes of heat, shock, vibration and so on.

The low latency protocol used in serial FPDP and the noise immunity of the fibre-based data transport is the ideal combination for applications which require a dedicated data link to run between sources of data, such as a high speed digitizer, to a remote data processing station. The SPR507B allows for fibre lengths up to 10km in length with the choice of single mode fibre.

"We believe the SPR507B delivers a transfer rate that is 30 percent faster than the industry standard, making it a compelling option for those customers for whom speed is of the essence," said Dan Veenstra, product manager, GE Intelligent Platforms. "However, the SPR507B isn't just about delivering the industry's highest performance. It's about its flexibility, ease of use and SWaP characteristics - and GE's ability to help our customers reduce program risk, and minimize long term cost of ownership."

The flexible architecture of the SPR507B allows for each fibre link to be configured independently, providing for multiple baud rates to be simultaneously supported. Each link can operate in either direction.

The SPR507B includes 1 GByte of high speed on-board storage in a FIFO (individual per channel) configuration. The FIFO is programmable in depth, allowing an application to fine tune system latencies to achieve optimal performance.

Another benefit of the SPR507B design is the ability to update the serial FPDP implementation at some point in the future. Since the SPR507B is built around a central FPGA, future updates to the sFPDP specification can be implemented as a firmware update, such as the VITA17.2 specification (currently in draft) which allows for key additional features such as channel bonding.

Handset RF front end market to double to $10 billion

CAMPBELL, USA: A new forecast published indicates that multi-mode, multi-band handsets and MIMO will drive staggering growth in the number of RF components shipped for mobile devices. By 2017, annual sales of 3 billion mobile devices will drive 20 billion different bands and operating modes.

"LTE is driving dramatic change," explained Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts. "Because LTE frequencies are so fragmentary around the world, and MIMO is used for all LTE devices, the value of RF components in a typical smartphone will grow from $6 to $10 during the next five years.

"To deal with the huge complexity in RF front ends, mobile OEMs will be introducing multiple new technologies. Multi-mode, multi-band power amplifiers (MMPAs), Envelope Tracking (ET), Antenna Tuning and Impedance Match Tuning, CMOS PAs, and Uplink MIMO are among the new techniques to squeeze performance out of the handset.

"Mobile Experts completed a survey of more than 50 companies in order to analyze the entire RF front end market. We feel that looking at only one segment is inadequate, because all of these new technologies are intertwined. We have analyzed this market down to individual frequency bands."

GigOptix expands global sales presence into South America and Eastern Europe

SAN JOSE, USA: GigOptix Inc., a leading fabless supplier of semiconductor and optical components that enable high-speed information streaming, has expanded its global sales presence with customer engagements in both Eastern Europe and South America.

Dr. Avi Katz, chairman and CEO of GigOptix, and Andrea Betti-Berutto, CTO of GigOptix, have been invited to participate in a Government-Industry workshop titled “Towards Terabit per Second Optical Networking: International Workshop on Trends in Optical Technologies” in San Paulo, Brazil on May 9-10, 2012, and Betti-Berutto will present the GigOptix technology approach to the topic on Thursday, May 10 at 2:20 p.m. local time. The participation in this workshop closely complements the growing interest in GigOptix products for 100G and beyond in the region.

Moreover, GigOptix is now shipping production units of the LX8901 and LX8220, a 100G DPSK and a 40G DQPSK TFPSTM Mach Zehnder modulator, respectively, to aerospace and communication customers located in Eastern Europe. “The LX8901 is unique in that it provides a low drive voltage over a very wide optical bandwidth of up to 65GHz,” commented Betti-Berutto, “making it uniquely suited for a number of ultrahigh frequency applications in the field of microwave photonics such as antenna remoting, RF beam steering and ultrahigh frequency signal sampling.”

“Five years ago, GigOptix’s customer base was located in the traditional optical development centers, mainly in North America and Europe,” stated Padraig OMathuna, GigOptix’s VP of Marketing. “It is exciting to see the growth in optical communication development as we have extended our reach to the Japanese and Chinese markets over the last couple of years, and now spreading into the new fast growing regions, as the global economy expands. GigOptix is dedicated to supporting the growth of high-speed end-to-end information streaming targeting telecom and datacom optical communications, military, aerospace, ASIC and RF microwave and millimeter wave systems and we look forward to working closely with these highly innovative new companies as they expand into new optical communication markets.”

TriQuint wins $12.3 million GaN DARPA contract to develop ultra-fast power switch technology

HILLSBORO & RICHARDSON, USA: TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to lead a $12.3 million development program focused on ultra-fast gallium nitride (GaN) switch technology for the Microscale Power Conversion (MPC) program. TriQuint’s revolutionary new GaN modulator has the potential to enable highly-efficient RF transmitters substantially smaller than current solutions.

TriQuint was selected by DARPA as the prime contractor for MPC Technical Area I, which seeks to develop a high-speed, DC-to-DC switch (modulator) and related process technology based on the company’s innovative enhancement-mode GaN transistors. TriQuint’s technology aims to improve the integration of power switches with advanced RF amplifiers to facilitate ultra-high efficiency, reduced-size amplifiers for radar and communications applications.

TriQuint has been a pioneer in GaN development and research since 1999. TriQuint currently leads multiple GaN process and manufacturing technology initiatives for DARPA including the Nitride Electronic NeXt-Generation Technology (NEXT) program as well as endeavors for the US Air Force, Army and Naval laboratories.

TriQuint is already exploring and bringing derivative devices to market made possible by milestones achieved in its many GaN programs. “The break-through performance demonstrated in ‘NEXT’ has helped us develop new devices, like our GaN power switches, that will open up additional radar and communications applications. We can substantially improve performance in these types of systems,” said TriQuint VP and GM for Defense Products and Foundry Services, James L. Klein. “This work is also leading to lower voltage GaN-based products. We see many exciting opportunities to develop more advanced RF amplifiers with integrated power switches.”

The enhancement mode power switching device for the MPC program will be designed to have a blocking voltage of 200 volts, ultra-low dynamic on resistance of 1 ohm-mm and a slew rate of 500 volts per nanosecond. These capabilities will provide state-of-the-art solid-state technology. RF amplifiers employing these switches will target 75 percent system efficiency at X-band (8-12 GHz).

TriQuint is teamed with Rockwell Collins, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Northrop Grumman—Technical Area II contractors—to create a new generation of RF power amplifiers that use contour modulation for very high efficiency performance that exceeds the capabilities of devices now available. Design approaches focusing on miniature system-in-a-package or monolithic integration to combine TriQuint’s switch / modulator with the power amplifier micro-system will be given preference.

Axcelis Optima HDx high current implanter selected as process tool of record by major chipmaker

BEVERLY, USA: Axcelis Technologies Inc., a leading supplier of innovative, high-productivity solutions for the semiconductor industry, announced that its flagship Optima HDx high current implanter has been selected as process tool of record by another of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers. The system will be used in high volume manufacturing of FLASH devices.

"This is a significant achievement for the company, as it is a testament to the system's ability to deliver the precision performance and productivity required for the customer's most critical device technologies," said CEO and chairman, Mary Puma.

"The Optima HDx raises high current process performance to a whole new level, while simultaneously boosting overall system productivity. Earlier this year, our flagship high energy system, the Optima XEx was selected as process tool of record at the same site. We are excited about this new win and look forward to continuing to expand our high current and high energy installed base."

The Optima HDx high current implanter provides solutions for device manufacturers highest dose requirements with the versatility and extendibility to provide solutions beyond today's 22nm technology node.

LSI intros next-gen Axxia network accelerator card for enterprise and cloud datacenters

MILPITAS, USA: LSI Corp. announced the Axxia network accelerator AXP3420 card, designed to accelerate critical networking tasks in enterprise and cloud datacenters. The AXP3420 card plugs into a standard PCIe slot to accelerate network functions such as application recognition and security, and improves networking performance for servers and networking equipment.

The AXP3420 offloads networking functions from the host processor to improve performance and lower power consumption, providing "intelligence" that is important as the growth in network traffic driven by social networking, mobile broadband and enterprise applications is straining the ability of datacenter networking equipment to keep up.

The AXP3420 is designed to deliver:
* Easy-to-deploy high-performance network acceleration in servers and x86-based networking equipment.
* Deterministic, predictable network performance for datacenters by offloading complex networking tasks.
* Rapid software development, including production-ready software for application recognition, security and other real-world networking functions.
* Software compatibility with the entire range of Axxia communication processors and network accelerator cards.

Apache Design releases fourth-generation RedHawk for sub-20 nm power sign-off

PITTSBURGH, USA: ANSYS subsidiary Apache Design Inc. has introduced the RedHawk-3DX to meet the power, performance and price demands of low-power mobile, high-performance computing, consumer and automotive electronics. This fourth-generation power sign-off solution delivers greater accuracy, capacity and usability for full-chip dynamic power and reliability simulation to manage power consumption and improve power delivery efficiency of advanced integrated circuit (IC) designs.

The release of RedHawk-3DX extends previous generations' capabilities to address sub-20 nanometer (nm) designs with 3+ gigahertz performance and billions of gates. It is also architected to support the simulation of emerging chip and packaging technologies using multidie three-dimensional ICs (3D-ICs) for smart electronic products.

"For more than a decade, RedHawk has been the industry standard for solving critical power integrity issues and is used as a sign-off solution by most of the world's top 20 semiconductor companies," said Dr. Andrew Yang, president of Apache Design, and VP and GM of ANSYS. "As power, performance and price drive advancements in semiconductors, our customers need best-in-class solutions to stay competitive. The release of RedHawk-3DX demonstrates our strong commitment in continuing to deliver innovative technologies to meet our customers' next-generation low-power requirements and capacity challenges."

Sign-off accuracy and coverage
To ensure the performance of next-generation ICs, engineers need greater power simulation accuracy and a more comprehensive understanding of power behavior scenarios. RedHawk-3DX improves the accuracy and coverage of dynamic power analysis by providing enhanced logic-handling capabilities. Its new event- and state-propagation technologies with vector-based and VectorLess modes utilize both the functional stimulus and statistical probability to determine the switching scenario of the design.

The fast event-propagation engine uses register transfer language (RTL)-level functional stimulus to perform cycle-accurate voltage drop simulation. The robust state-propagation engine for the VectorLess mode enables time-domain transient analysis without actual input stimulus and includes proprietary techniques to eliminate underestimation of toggle rates associated with traditional activity-based propagation approaches. RedHawk-3DX also supports flexible mixed-excitation mode, in which some blocks use RTL or gate-level vectors while the rest of the design uses the VectorLess methodology.

Sub-20 nm design requirements for power and signal electromigration (EM) analyses are driving the need for a more accurate reliability sign-off solution. RedHawk-3DX advances EM modeling technologies by delivering current direction-aware, metal topology-aware and temperature-aware EM checks, and by expanding its capabilities to support leading foundries' complex 20 nm EM rules.

Actions Semiconductor launches ATM701x product family

ZHUHAI, CHINA: Actions Semiconductor Co. Ltd, one of China's leading fabless semiconductor companies that provides comprehensive mixed-signal system-on-a-chip (SoC) and multimedia digital signal processing (DSP) solutions for portable consumer electronics, announced the introduction of its new ATM701x product family.

Following an effective sampling program and positive customer response, the ATM701x product family was successfully launched in the China and worldwide markets in April 2012 and is ramping up volume production with selective customers in May 2012.

Actions' ATM701x product family supports the latest version of the Android OS also known as, Ice Cream Sandwich. With the CPU core running up to 1.2GHz, high performance 3D GPU and full spec 1080P video encode and decode engine built-in, ATM701x is well suited for the Tablet market as well as other Android-based applications like game consoles, Internet TV boxes and automotive applications.

In addition to providing outstanding hardware capability, ATM701x's solution is also equipped with the excellent software capabilities to fulfill end user's needs. For example, the fast boot up mechanism can shorten the Android OS power up lead time from 50 seconds to 10 seconds. Additionally, the support of Adobe Flash will enhance the web surfing capability.

In the consumer electronic market, people look for good quality products at the lowest cost. This is another strength of ATM701x. The ATM701x family supports 8bit/16bit DDR3 and the latest 60bit ECC MLC/TLC NAND Flash.

Bundling with the companion chip ATC260x, this two chip combination has an integrated HDMI transmitter (TX), low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) interface, Power Management Unit (PMU), Analog Audio Codec, Class-D amplifier and Ethernet MAC plus PHY. The printed circuit board assembly (PCBA), contains limited external components, which translates into overall cost savings.

"Our goal is to provide a powerful solution with differentiated features and the most competitive total bill of materials (BOM) cost," stated Dr. Zhenyu Zhou, CEO of Actions Semiconductor. "Together with the user friendly development kit, the ATM701x product family provides the best choice for our customers to create new products for different market applications."

ST's industry-unique sensors enable high-shock detection in black boxes and hockey helmets

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: STMicroelectronics unveiled the world’s first motion sensor that measures very high accelerations along all three axes at ultra-low current consumption. ST’s H3LIS331DL accelerometers address the need for precise shock detection up to 400 g2 in space- and power-constrained applications, from car black boxes to medical monitoring devices and sports equipment.

There is a need to detect and measure high-g shocks in a broad range of applications. Whereas existing high-g shock-detection solutions are mostly based on single- or dual-axis, power-hungry ‘airbag-type’ sensors, ST’s new high-g accelerometers deliver both the three-dimensional precision and ultra-low current consumption optimized for battery-operated applications.

Power-stingy, precise high-shock detection devices open new possibilities for portable medical instrumentation and concussion monitoring in high-impact sports like ice hockey, American football or car racing. ST’s high-g sensors can also significantly improve crash-detection capabilities in event data recorders (black boxes) and freight monitoring systems, as well as enhance anti-shock protection functionality in consumer electronics.

ST’s high-g accelerometers provide three-axis motion sensing across selectable from ±100 g up to ±400 g full-scale ranges, and boast excellent stability over time and temperature. An on-chip IC interface converts the acceleration data into a 12-bit digital bit stream that is transmitted with high reliability to a dedicated microcontroller chip through a standard SPI or I2C protocol.

The H3LIS331DL combines a novel sensing-structure design with the market-proven low-power interface of ST’s LIS331DLx acceleration sensors, the industry-standard devices that have shipped in several hundred million units to date.

Samples of ST’s high-g accelerometers are available and volume production is expected to start by the end of Q2 2012. Unit pricing is $5 for volumes in the range of 1,000 pieces. Further pricing options are available for larger quantities.