By Mark LaPedus
Qualcomm has the highest market share for baseband solutions in handsets, resulting in a position far out in front of its competitors. ST-Ericsson has strong products on the market with competitive features. But one analyst at ABI Research questions why ST-Ericsson was broken up just as it finally came out with a highly competitive product, which was based on FD-SOI.
The worldwide semiconductor foundry market totaled $34.6 billion in 2012, a 16.2% increase from 2011, according to final results by Gartner. TSMC maintained the No. 1 spot in the rankings in 2012. Strong performance on 32nm yields and the availability of sub-45nm wafer capacity at the Dresden, Germany, fabs allowed GlobalFoundries to advance to the No. 2 position in 2012. UMC‘s market share decreased due to reduced wafer shipments. Driven by the wafers consumed by Apple, Samsung moved up four spots to the No. 5 position with 175.5% growth in 2012.
At this year’s Symposium on VLSI Technology, Intel will report technical details of its embedded DRAM with 22nm technology on bulk silicon wafers. Intel realized a 0.029mm2 DRAM cell capable of meeting >100us retention at 95 C. In the DC-DC converter session, Intel will present a switched capacitor step-down converter designed in a 22nm tri-gate CMOS technology. The VLSI Symposium is slated for June 11–14 in Kyoto, Japan.
At the VLSI event, STMicroelectronics and CEA-LETI will report six transistor SRAM (6T-SRAM) cells for high-density and low-voltage. The technology is fabricated at the 28nm node using FD-SOI technology for the first time.
At the VLSI Symposium, IBM and GlobalFoundries will report a SiGe channel tri-gate pFET with aggressively scaled fin width and gate length dimensions. It is fabricated using SiGe on an insulator substrate. Excellent electrostatic control down to Lg= 18nm and Wfin<18nm has been reported.
At the event, IMEC and GlobalFoundries will present the first demonstration of strained germanium channel pFETs fabricated on SiGe strain relaxed buffers, which is surrounded by STI region. Also, they introduced raised SiGe source/drain structures (Ge concentration= 75%) with an implant-free quantum well, replacement metal-gate process and germanide in contacts to solve void issues.
In addition, STMicrolectronics, Samsung, GlobalFoundries and IBM will report a 64nm pitch BEOL integration and material strategy. A self-aligned-via (SAV) approach was exploited for single pattern via extendibility, enabling via placement at CPP with a single mask.
SEMI reported that for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012, the worldwide photovoltaic manufacturing equipment book-to-bill ratio remained well below parity, at 0.45, for the seventh consecutive quarter. Booking levels continue to be low as PV manufacturers grapple with oversupply across the supply chain.
Khaled Juffali Company (KJC), a Saudi Arabian investment company, and Soitec, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in driving solar industry growth in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Under the MOU, the two companies will create a joint venture to market and sell concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Hwa Chong Institution emerged as the winner of the Applied Materials Clean Tech Competition in Singapore. The project focused on utilizing calcium carbonate found in clam shells to remove toxic metal ions from waste water.
The separate hardware and software teams in companies are notorious for not being on the same page, thereby putting product development times and cost at risk. Mentor Graphics CEO Walden Rhines outlined some new and practical solutions to the problem.
Mentor Graphics announced the release of the Mentor Embedded Sourcery CodeBench Virtual Edition product, a native software environment for developing embedded systems pre- and post-silicon. The tool provides a tighter connection between hardware and software co-development, but allows software developers to use existing programming tools with extensions.
Cadence announced results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013. Cadence also completed its previously announced acquisition of Tensilica.
Advantest will acquire W2BI, a provider of system level test automation software focusing on wireless communications.
Shipments of smart glasses may rise to as high 6.6 million units in 2016, up from just 50,000 in 2012, for a total of 9.4 million units for the five-year period, according to an upside forecast from IMS Research.
The worldwide mobile phone market grew 4% year over year in the seasonally slow first quarter of 2013 as smart phones out-shipped feature phones for the first time, according to IDC. Nokia, BlackBerry and HTC have dropped out of the top rankings.