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Semiconductor Industry News

27 January 2016

Amazon Enters Semiconductor Business With Its Own Branded Chips

A secretive Amazon.com Inc. unit broke its silence Wednesday about plans to market computer chips and related components to other companies. Annapurna Labs, an Israeli company purchased by Amazon last year that is now based in Silicon Valley, said it is targeting customers designing home equipment like Wi-Fi routers, data storage gear and media-streaming devices. Some of its technology is already available in commercial products, Annapurna said. It cited manufacturers that include Asustek Computer Inc., Netgear Inc. and Synology Inc.

Altair Semiconductor Expands Global Operations, Opening New R&D Center in Taiwan

Altair Semiconductor (altair-semi.com), a leading provider of LTE chipsets, today announced the opening of a research and development (R&D) center in Taiwan to support the company’s technical advancement in the major Asian growth-center. “The opening of a R&D facility in Taiwan represents our commitment to expanding our global footprint and our desire to bring next-generation LTE solutions to today’s market,” said Eran Eshed, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Altair Semiconductor. “We are rapidly expanding our customer footprint, many of which are designing innovative products based on our IoT chipset. We intend to further enhance the service we provide to this growing community and tap into the highly qualified talent pool that exists in Taiwan.”

Headquartered in Israel, Altair Semiconductor has six worldwide offices, including four in Asia: China, Taiwan, Japan, and India. R&D teams, spread throughout the company’s corporate network, work to develop next-generation LTE chipsets for the IoT/M2M and broadband markets.

Apple Scales Back Orders For Its iPhones

Shares of Apple Inc. extended their descent on Wednesday, amid news that the company is scaling back orders for its iPhones. Apple’s stock fell 2% to $100.70 in afternoon New York trading. Concerns about the iPhone have weighed on Apple, with its shares down 15% over the past month. The stock fell 2.5% to $102.71 on Tuesday, after Japan’s Nikkei newspaper initially reported a potential cutback in phone orders. Apple’s plans to scale back sent ripples throughout the multibillion-dollar industry that supplies and builds the company’s phones. A Chinese provincial capital promised Foxconn Technology Group —which assembles iPhones—more than $12 million in subsidies to minimise layoffs at there, according to a government document.

Intel acquires Ascending Technologies, an Autopilot Drone Maker

Intel Corp. said Monday it has purchased drone maker Ascending Technologies, a 75- employee company that focuses on professional-grade drones that automatically detect and avoid obstacles. Intel did not disclose the price but said all employees are receiving offers to join Intel. In a blog post, the chip company said the acquisition of the Krailling, Germany-based company lets it “integrate the computing, communications, sensor and cloud technology required to make drones smarter and more connected.” Some of Ascending Technologies products already use Intel’s RealSense 3D camera. The company sells its products, which can be used for visual inspections of hard-to-reach places and 3D mapmaking, to companies and researchers.

Multi-Touch Display Features 3D Gesture Control

Microchip Technology Inc. has teamed up with Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. (SiS) to deliver what they flaunt as complete projected-capacitive touch (PCAP) and 3D-gesture interface modules that promise to speed development and lower costs. The modules will make it easier to design multi-touch and 3D gesture displays with Microchip’s GestIC technology, which offers a hand tracking range of up to 20cm from the display surface, noted the companies. Hand gestures are universal, hygienic and easy to learn. In addition, they enhance safety by reducing the need for precise hand-eye coordination.

Samsung, LG Expand Battlefield to Auto Electronics           

Samsung has created a new department specializing in automotive electronics in its organizational shake-up last week, more than two years after perennial rival LG launched a vehicle components division. That means Korea’s top two electronics companies have found yet another area in which to battle it out following decades of intense competition in the home appliance, handset and other sectors. The automotive electronics industry is growing fast as smart car technology evolves. Self-driving cars being developed by Apple and Google and the Tesla electric vehicle are spurring development in the field.

Samsung Puts 3D NAND Production Line in Xi’an Into Full Operation

Samsung Electronics’ Xi’an plant in China, which is the main production base of 3D NAND flash memory chips, has achieved the initial wafer production target of 100,000 sheets a month based on its stable market demands. This is the maximum figure possiblewith the current production facility. The company, which has ordered 3D NAND manufacturing equipment this year, will make an additional investment in the 3D NAND production line from next year.

According to industry sources on Dec. 20, the wafer production of Samsung Electronics’ Xi’an plant in China has reached 100,000 sheets on a monthly basis a year and a half after starting a full operation. Its monthly production stood at 10,000 to 20,000 sheets last year and passed the 50,000 mark in the third quarter of this year. The latest figure has far surpassed its previous forecasts of 60,000 to 70,000 sheets. It means that the demand of 3D NAND flash products is growing greater than expected. In fact, Samsung Electronics has recently been using 3D NAND products in microSD cards as well as servers and solid state drives (SSDs) for consumers, expanding its application areas. The company is also planning to use them in mobile devices, including smartphones, in earnest from next year.

ST’s Digital Power Amps Promise Clear Audio For Cars

STMicroelectronics has unveiled its second generation power amplifiers that promise to streamline the design for car radio system suppliers and deliver better listening experiences to drivers and passengers, even in more compact cars. ST’s second-generation FDA801 and FDA801B 4-channel class-D1 amplifiers with digital input convert the digital audio source directly into high-quality, cabin-filling sound. The digital input gives immunity to GSM noise, improves sound quality, saves component costs and simplifies system design, indicated the company.

The power amplifiers combine superior audio quality and increased energy efficiency, as well as the unique real-time measurement of speaker impedance via the digital impedance metre (FDA801B), which represents a quantum leap in automotive diagnostics compared to any other audio amplifier, the company added.

First WiFi Kiosks set to land on New York’s streets

The world’s fastest and largest municipal WiFi network is being rolled out in New York by a consortium of investors including Google, in the latest attempt by the internet company to shake up the US telecoms market.

LinkNYC will provide free-to-use connections with speeds of up to one gigabit per second through a network of 7,500 wireless hotspots that will be located on the sites of old telephone boxes. The speeds on offer will be roughly 20 times faster than the typical broadband service in New York. The first of two “Link kiosks” will be unveiled on Tuesday on Third Avenue: the nine-foot towers will act as WiFi transmitters for a new superfast fibre network to replace the copper wires that once connected the phone boxes. Each kiosk will also include a hands-free phone, an Android tablet for web browsing, and two digital screens for displaying advertisements, which will be sold to fund the service.

2,500 More Wi-Fi Hotspots to rise across India

The government is embarking on a huge project to connect the country to the Internet by installing 2,500 Wi-Fi hotspots in 256 locations by the next fiscal, Indian Express quoted Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Prasad added that in the next six to seven months, the government targets to reach as much as 50 crore Internet subscribers. According to the minister, mobile penetration today stands at 100 crore, while Internet penetration is 40 crore. In the past it took them almost four years to reach 30 crore, and less than a year after that to achieve 40 crore. This time, Prasad aims to cross 50 crore in half a year.

In-Building Mobile Data Traffic To See 6-Fold Growth By 2020

ABI Research has released a report predicting the rapidly increasing adoption of 4G and WiFi that will drive monthly in-building traffic to 53 exabytes per month by 2020. With the majority of mobile traffic either originating or terminating indoors today, WiFi is considered a robust access technology for mobile data offload, stated the market research firm. In 2015, WiFi offload traffic from mobile devices continued to exceed 4G mobile traffic, and, by 2018, WiFi traffic is set to exceed all 2G, 3G and 4G cellular traffic combined.

Sweet Tooth? Print Yourself Some Chocolate

Students at the Samara State Aerospace University have created an experimental 3Dprinter to make large chocolate figures. In January it will be tested, and soon this technology will be available in one of the city’s restaurants.

The breakthrough consists in a novel way of supplying and cooling the chocolate in the 3D printer. This solves the main problem of “printing” large figures when the chocolate “ink” melts and is unable to freeze properly.

The students created the new system in collaboration with the head chef at a local restaurant.

Dark, white, or milk?

“We simultaneously use several cooling systems,” said Vera Panova, one of the printer’s developers. “The first is a sort of big hair drier that blows from different sides. The second is production intervention — we add certain products and the chocolate cools faster; not in ten m

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