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Nokia Launches New ReefShark Chipsets For 5G


Nokia on Monday unveiled a new set of 5G chipsets, called ReefShark chipsets, that reduce the size, cost and power consumption of operators’ networks and meet the massive compute and radio requirements of 5G.

At present the Finnish firm is working with 30 operators and will make the ReefShark chipsets commercially available in the third quarter of 2018.

The chipsets incorporate Nokia Bell Labs artificial intelligence (AI) innovations as well as Nokia’s extensive capabilities in antenna development for mobile devices and base stations.  The ReefShark chipsets are built using silicon developed by Nokia in Oulu, Espoo and Tampere, Finland as well as Sunnyvale, California.

ReefShark chipsets for radio frequency (RF) units such as the radio used in antennas significantly improve their performance. This results in halving the size of massive MIMO antennas. ReefShark chipsets also reduce power consumption in baseband units by 64%, compared to such units in use today.

The ReefShark chipsets for compute capacity are delivered as plug-in units for the commercially available Nokia AirScale baseband module. AirScale is software upgradeable to full 5G functionality, and these plug-in units triple throughput from Nokia’s already market-leading 28 Gbps today, to up to 84 Gbps per module. Additionally, AirScale baseband module chaining supports base station throughputs of up to 6 terabits per second, which will allow operators to meet the huge growing densification demands and support the massive enhanced mobile broadband needs of people and devices in megacities.

AI in 5G networks enables real-time radio monitoring and optimization and the ability to apply techniques such as network slicing to meet the service level demands of new business cases. Nokia is developing technology with common interfaces and toolkits allowing service providers to implement machine learning applications in their networks.

Neil McRae, BT Chief Architect, said “By incorporating ReefShark into our network we will leverage the huge network performance improvements that will allow us to unleash the full potential of 5G.”

Henri Tervonen, CTO of Nokia Mobile Networks and head of R&D Foundation said: “With ReefShark, Nokia has created a clear competitive advantage. Its combination of power, intelligence and efficiency make it ideally suited to be at the heart of fast arriving 5G networks.”

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Sasken Finds A Place In Zinnov Leadership Zone


Bengaluru based technology firm Sasken said that research firm Zinnov has put the company in the leadership zone among semiconductor and telecommunication category.

In the study – Zinnov Zones 2016-PES, the research firm analysed companies in various fields like consumer electronics, mechanical engineering, embedded systems, aerospace, construction, telecommunication, semiconductor, industrial automation and transport. Companies are ranked on the basis of their R&D practices, breadth, innovation and ecosystem connect.

“Sasken’s DNA is its commitment to understand and leverage technology to solve today’s problems for our customers. The speed at which technology changes, and the hypercompetitive business environment we operate in, poses many challenges. Zinnov Zones 2016-PES rating positions us as the best-in-class technology leaders which is backed by our commitment to invest continually in staying au courant,” said Sanjiv Pande, VP and head marketing, Sasken.

“Sasken’s strong capabilities in embedded enabled them to provide cutting-edge solutions in in-vehicle-infotainment and telematics. Sasken’s inherent strengths in the semiconductor and telecom space and its strong platform capabilities have helped them deepen their relationship with semiconductor vendors and OEMs,” said Zinnov Partner and practice head Sidhant Rastogi.

Besides leadership zone, Sasken has also been featured in the execution zone for automotive, consumer electronics and industrial automation.

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“IoT Seminconductor Business To Touch $15 Bn By 2020” – Uday Dodla, Qualcomm India

Uday Dodla Qualcomm India


Internet of things seems to be on a mission mode. And if there is any company that is pioneering this momentum, globally as well as in India, it undoubtedly has to be Qualcomm. We spoke to Uday Dodla, the man who leads the San Diego headquartered technology firm’s IoT operations including drones, smart devices, wearables and smart cities in India, as its Director for Product Marketing. He also is the man who spearheads Qualcomm’s in Design India challenge – an incubator program for hardware companies. His views :

Q. What are your views on the adoption of Internet of Things, both globally as well as in India?
We see good momentum and expect further growth in various areas such as smart cities, cameras and drones, home control and automation, home entertainment, wearables, and voice and music – both within India and globally. We are also seeing products becoming more intelligent and capable at the edge – doing more locally and sending only the relevant data to the cloud. Analysts estimate the installed base of IoT devices to be more than 20 billion units by 2020.

Q. Can you guess the market size of IoT in India?
Globally, we estimate the serviceable addressable opportunity for our semiconductor business to be about $15 billion in IoT by 2020. While we don’t provide a split by region, India is important not only for the size of the country, but also for the opportunity to collaborate with companies and organizations in benefiting from the global opportunity.

Q. How is your company positioned in this scheme of things? Where does exactly it fit in the ecosystem?
We are uniquely positioned with our scale and expertise in connectivity and compute to deliver the technologies needed in IoT, helping customers commercialize their products faster and more cost-effectively. What makes Qualcomm different is the depth of our portfolio, platforms and partnerships.

Q. You company is a pioneer in many technological revolutions- both for enterprises as well as for end users. What are the areas you see IoT can serve both these consumers in near future?
Areas such as Healthcare, Automotive and Drones & Robotics will see more adoption with clear consumer benefits. We are actively engaged with industry relationships in these areas.

Q. In immediate future, what are the IoT solutions/products you see for end users?
I think we will see connected devices becoming more prevalent as technology becomes easier to adopt and deploy wherever and whenever. Solutions such as smart meters, connected cars, surveillance cameras, wearables for health & safety will see increased adoption.

Q. Wearables did not take off well as expected. Where do you see the industry missed the bus?
We continue to see the wearables segment as a growth opportunity. We have seen strong adoption of Qualcomm technologies in wearables, with more than 100 design wins including our technology. Snapdragon processors already power more than 80 percent of all Android Wear smartwatches.

We have design wins for smart watches, fitness trackers, sports watches and kid watches. We are seeing strong growth in all of these areas. We are particularly excited about the opportunity in 4G/LTE connected, location enabled targeted purpose devices like kid trackers and elder care watches. We believe there is strong growth in these devices.

Additionally, the acquisition of CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) last September has brought a wealth of product and talent to Qualcomm, particularly for wearables. CSR’s leading Bluetooth and GPS products are already in a wide range of wearables products, and they are a perfect complement to Qualcomm processors and connectivity products.

Q. Where do you see governments as a customer and how the Indian government is looking at this?
We are focused on making India an important part of our IoT product journey. We have multiple corporate initiatives such as the Ventures Fund and the Design in India programs to spur the design and development of electronics products in India that benefit the ecosystem. This goes hand in hand with the Digital India/Make in India initiatives of the Government of India.

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Worldwide Semiconductor Capital Spending To Decline 2% In 2016

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Worldwide-Semiconductor-Capital-Spending-To-Decline-2%-In-2016Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline 2 percent in 2016, to $62.8 billion, according to Gartner.

This is up from the estimated 4.7 percent decline in Gartner’s previous quarterly forecast.

“While the first quarter 2016 forecast has improved from a projected decline of 4.7 percent in the previous quarter’s forecast, the 2 percent decline in the market for 2016 is still bleak,” said David Christensen, senior research analyst at Gartner.

“Excess inventory and weak demand for PCs, tablets, and mobile products continue to plague the semiconductor industry, resulting in a slow growth rate that began in late 2015 and is continuing into 2016,” added Christensen.

“The slowdown in the devices market has driven semiconductor producers to be conservative with their capital spending plans,” said Mr. Christensen.

“This year, leading semiconductor manufacturers are responding to anticipated weak demand from semiconductors and preparing for new growth in leading-edge technologies in 2017,” commented Christensen.

In addition, the aggressive pursuit of semiconductor manufacturing capability by the Chinese government is an issue that cannot be ignored by the semiconductor manufacturing industry. In the last year, there has been consolidation and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity with specific offers from various Chinese-based entities, indicating the aggressiveness of the Chinese. This will dramatically affect the competitive landscape of global semiconductor manufacturing in the next few years, as China is now a major market for semiconductor usage and manufacturing.

Looking forward, the market is expected to return to growth in 2017. Increased demand for 10 nanometer (nm) and 3D NAND process development in memory and logic/foundry will drive overall spending to grow 4.4 percent in 2017.

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Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue To Decline Again: Gartner


Worldwide-Semiconductor-Revenue-Expected-To-Decline-AgainWorldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total $333 billion in 2016, a decrease of 0.6 percent from 2015, according to Gartner.

This is following a decline of 2.3 percent in 2015 due to weakened demand for key electronic equipment, elevated inventory levels and the continuing impact of the strong dollar in some regions.

“For only the second time in its history, the worldwide semiconductor market is expected to have two consecutive years of revenue decline,” said James Hines, research director, Gartner.

“We expect a decline of 0.6 percent in 2016 as the industry waits for the next demand driver to emerge,” added Hines.

Lowered estimates for production of PCs, ultramobiles and smartphones is reducing the demand for semiconductors in 2016, and no significant near-term driver has appeared to offset the reduction in demand in these key semiconductor markets.

While there are emerging opportunities for semiconductors in the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable electronics, these markets are still in the early stages of development and are too small to have a significant impact on overall semiconductor revenue growth in 2016.

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Worldwide Semiconductor Foundry Market Grows 4.4 Percent In 2015


Worldwide-Semiconductor-Foundry-Market-Grows-4.4-Percent-In-2015Breaking a three-year double-digit-growth streak, the worldwide semiconductor foundry market grew 4.4 percent in 2015 to achieve $48.8 billion in revenue, according to final results by Gartner.

“In 2015, semiconductor device market revenue declined due to excess IC inventory, poor demand for mobile products and PCs, and slowing tablet sales,” said Samuel Wang, research vice president, Gartner.

“The slowdown in the device market has driven semiconductor producers to be conservative in placing wafer orders to foundries. Foundry growth was only possible from the high wafer demand by Apple and the revenue conversion of a few integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) to foundries,” added Wang.

Among the top players, the leader, TSMC, grew 5.5 percent in 2015, driven by the success of 20 nm planar and 16 nm Fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) technologies serving the need of application processors and baseband modem chips. Global foundries moved into the No 2 position with 9.6 percent of the market. The No 3 position went to UMC with $4.5 billion revenue, representing 9.3 percent of the market.

Top 10 Worldwide Semiconductor Foundries By Revenue (US $ Mn)
1. TSMC – 26,566
2. Globalfoundries – 4,673
3. UMC – 4,561
4. Samsung Electronics – 2,607
5. SMIC – 2,229
6. Powerchip Technology – 985
7. TowerJazz – 961
8. Fujitsu Semiconductor – 845
9. Vanguard International – 736
10. Shanghai Huahong Grace Semiconductor – 651
Source: Gartner

Price competition in advanced process technologies in 2015 was exceptionally strong, not only on the 28 nm node, as more foundry suppliers have started the production volume of 28 nm polySiON technology, but also on 65 nm and 40 nm. In contrast to the highly utilized 200 mm fabs from fingerprint ID chips and power management ICs, the low 300 mm fab utilization rates at some large foundries have triggered their willingness to run more 0.18-micron wafers in the 300 mm fabs.

“On a quarterly basis, foundry revenue changed quarter to quarter in 2015. The normal seasonal pattern of a very strong second quarter was not obvious, while most foundries continued to revise their business outlook during each quarter’s earnings release,” said Wang.

“The peak inventory level for the semiconductor industry continued to push out during 2015, from the second quarter to the third quarter, and through the rest of the year,” added Wang.

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TSMC To Set Up 12-inch Fab Facility At Nanjing


TSMC-To-Set-Up-12-inch-Fab-Facility-At-NanjingTSMC and the municipal government of Nanjing, China today signed a Fab investment agreement to set up fab facility at Nanjing.

This agreement affirms that TSMC will make an investment in Nanjing valued at $3 billion to establish TSMC (Nanjing), a wholly-owned subsidiary managing a 12-inch wafer fab and a design service center.

TSMC’s 12-inch fab site in Nanjing will be located in the Pukou Economic Development Zone. Planned capacity is 20,000 12-inch wafers per month and the facility is scheduled to commence production of 16 nm process technology in the second half of 2018.

As a technology leader, TSMC began volume production of 16 nm process technology for customers in 2015 and accounted for more than half of the global foundry market for production of 14/16 nm technology wafers in that year.

Further significant increases in global foundry market share of the 14/16 nm technology production is forecast for 2016. TSMC also holds the largest foundry market segment share in China with more than 100 Chinese customers.

“With our 12-inch fab and our design service center in Nanjing, we aim to provide closer support to customers as well as expand our business opportunities in China in step with the rapid growth of the Chinese semiconductor market over the last several years,” said Dr Morris Chang, chairman, TSMC.

“We look forward to stronger collaboration with our customers to further expand our market share in China,” added Chang.

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Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue Declines 1.9 Percent In 2015


Worldwide-Semiconductor-Revenue-Declines-1.9-Percent-In-2015Worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled $333.7 billion in 2015, a 1.9 percent decrease from 2014 revenue of $340.3 billion, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

The top 25 semiconductor vendors’ combined revenue increased 0.2 percent, which was more than the overall industry’s growth. The top 25 vendors accounted for 73.2 percent of total market revenue, up from 71.7 percent in 2014.

“Weakened demand for key electronic equipment, the continuing impact of the strong dollar in some regions and elevated inventory are to blame for the decline in the market in 2015,” said Sergis Mushell, research director, Gartner.

“In contrast to 2014, which saw revenue growth in all key device categories, 2015 saw mixed performance with optoelectronics, nonoptical sensors, analog and ASIC all reporting revenue growth while the rest of the market saw declines. Strongest growth was from the ASIC segment with growth of 2.4 percent due to demand from Apple, followed by analog and nonoptical sensors with 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent growth, respectively. Memory, the most volatile segment of the semiconductor industry, saw revenue decline by 0.6 percent, with DRAM experiencing negative growth and NAND flash experiencing growth,” commented Mushell.

Intel recorded a 1.2 percent revenue decline, due to falls in PC shipments however, it retained the No 1 market share position for the 24th year in a row with 15.5 percent market share. Samsung’s memory business helped drive growth of 11.8 percent in 2015, and the company maintained the No 2 spot with 11.6 percent market share.

Rank – Company – 2015 Estimated Revenue ($Mn)
1. Intel – 51,709
2. Samsung – 38,855
3. SK Hynix – 16,494
4. Qualcomm – 15,936
5. Micron – 14,448
6. Texas Instruments – 11,533
7. Toshiba – 9,622
8. Broadcom – 8,419
9. STMicroelectronics – 6,890
10. Infineon – 6,630
11. Others – 153,182
Total – 333,718
Source: Gartner

“The rise of the US dollar against a number of different currencies significantly impacted the total semiconductor market in 2015,” said Mushell.

The NAND market continued to deteriorate throughout the year. As a result, revenue grew only 4.1 percent in 2015, fueled by elevated supply bit growth that resulted in an aggressive pricing environment. The tumultuous NAND pricing environment rippled through most of the NAND solutions, particularly solid-state drives (SSDs), which continue to encroach on hard-disk drives (HDDs).

The ensuing price war in SSDs further pressured the profitability of the NAND flash makers amid the biggest technology transition in flash history — 3D NAND. While 3D NAND commercialization was modest, it was limited to only one vendor — Samsung. Modest revenue gains have not stopped investment in NAND flash and 3D technology, with all vendors continuing to spend aggressively in the technology and most with new fabs.

After 32 percent revenue growth in 2014, the DRAM market hit a downturn in 2015. An oversupply in the commodity portion of the market caused by weak PC demand led to severe declines in average selling prices (ASPs), and revenue contracted by 2.4 percent compared with 2014. The oversupply and the extent of ASP declines could have been significantly worse if Micron Technologies’ bit growth had performed in line with its South Korean rivals. Fortunately for the market, the company saw negative bit growth due to its transition to 20 nm, sparing the industry from an even more severe downturn.

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Worldwide Semiconductor Capital Spending To Decrease In 2015


Worldwide-Semiconductor-Capital-Spending-To-Decrease-In-2015Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline one percent in 2015, to $63.9 billion, according to Gartner.

This is a down from the 2.5 percent growth predicted in Gartner’s previous quarter’s forecast. The forecast for 2016 is unchanged at a 3.3 percent decline over 2015.

“We are continuing to see weakness in end-user electronics demand in response to an uncertain economic environment, which is putting a damper on 2015 spending,” said Takashi Ogawa, research vice president, Gartner.

“Next year we are anticipating DRAM manufacturers to respond to oversupply conditions with dramatic deductions in their investment plans,” added Ogawa.

Capital investment policies of leading semiconductor vendors have maintained a cautious attitude against the background of sluggish electronics demand. Intel has announced further capital spending cutbacks since Gartner’s previous forecast update, as have outsourcing companies (foundry and semiconductor assembly and test services [SATS]) and integrated device manufacturers (IDM).

Capital spending in memory will decrease by $0.8 billion compared with Gartner’s second-quarter forecast. The spending forecast in the DRAM sector has a strong downward adjustment to only 0.2 percent growth for 2015 from 29 percent in the last forecast, as PC and ultramobile demand slows more significantly.

“In the DRAM market, weak end-market conditions combined with new foundries coming on line at Samsung and SK Hynix have created a weaker market than anticipated in our last forecast,” said Ogawa.

“As a result, we anticipate that DRAM manufactures will move more quickly from investing in new capacity to a maintenance and upgrade existing capacity mode of operation,” commented Ogawa.

In the NAND sector, the latest forecast upgrades growth for spending to 0.1 percent in this year from negative 19.4 percent in the previous forecast. Gartner predicts that memory manufacturers will switch 10 percent of capacity investments from DRAM to NAND in late 2015 and 2016. DRAM manufacturers will respond to weak market conditions by slowing investments in late 2015 and early 2016.

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Worldwide Semiconductor Sales to Reach $348 Bn


Worldwide-Semiconductor-Sales-to-Reach-$348-Bn-in-2015Worldwide semiconductor sales is forecast to reach $348 billion in 2015, a 2.2 percent increase from 2014, but down from the previous quarter’s forecast of four percent growth, according to Gartner.

“The outlook for the major applications that drive the semiconductor market, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, have all been revised downward. This, combined with the impact of the strong dollar on demand in key markets, has resulted in a lower semiconductor forecast for 2015,” said Jon Erensen, research director, Gartner.

“The typical second quarter bounce did not materialize this year, and as a result, the semiconductor industry is more back-end loaded and dependent on a strong third-quarter rebound, driven by Windows 10 and the ramp-up to the holiday season,” added Erensen.

Smartphones and solid-state drives (SSDs) will continue to drive semiconductor market growth, while the traditional PC segment will experience the greatest decline, with production units down 8.7 percent in 2015, slightly weaker than the previous quarter’s forecast.

“Inventory in the PC market remains high despite vendors looking to clear the supply chain in anticipation of Windows 10 and Intel’s Skylake products. Any issues with the launches of Windows 10 or Skylake in the third quarter of 2015, which are expected to reinvigorate PC sales, could lead to further decline,” said Erensen.

In the smartphone market, Apple’s iPhone is the bright spot for the market with strong unit growth and increasing average selling prices (ASPs), driven by the strong performance of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, lackluster performance in high-end Android smartphones and general softness in the smartphone market in China will continue to impact growth.

Although the wearables market, including smartwatches, head-mounted displays (HMDs), smart glasses and Bluetooth headsets, is a growing industry, revenue for wearables semiconductors — processing, sensing and communications chips — will represent only one percent of total semiconductor revenue by 2019. Smartwatches are the top semiconductor growth in the near term.

From a device point of view, DRAM continues to be one of the primary growth drivers of the overall industry. DRAM revenue is expected to increase 3.8 percent in 2015, following a 32 percent increase in 2014. However, Gartner expects an oversupply to develop in 2016 as limited new capacity comes online and technology migration continues. DRAM industry revenue is expected to decline 17.4 percent in 2016 and 7 percent in 2017.

“The typical second-quarter bounce did not materialize this year, and as a result, the semiconductor industry is more back-end loaded and dependent on a strong third-quarter rebound, driven by Windows 10 and the ramp-up to the holiday season,” said Erensen.

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