When Will It Be Done?


Design teams have done remarkably well in getting chips out the door on time, despite growing complexity at each new node and an increase in the number of features and IP blocks that need to be integrated into designs. There has been plenty of grumbling, along with dire warnings about the future of Moore's Law and the impact of industry consolidation. The reality, though, is that the volume ... » read more

MEMS Microphones: A Bright Spot Among Commoditized Consumer Sensors


MEMS microphones have emerged as a bright spot among consumer sensors, which in general are going through a rapid commoditization and profit-squeezing trend. To understand what’s driving the MEMS microphone market, consider that the Apple iPhone 7 and 7S each have 4 MEMS microphones. As reported by System Plus Consulting, the latest iPhones have “a front-facing top microphone, presumably f... » read more

Antenna Design Grows Up


Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna issue represents a classic example of what can go wrong in modern antenna design. Put one in the wrong place, and a seemingly insignificant part can turn a cool new product into a public relations nightmare. Ever since antennas dropped out of sight, most consumers don't give them a second thought. In the 1960s, almost every home had a rooftop antenna. Fast forward ... » read more

Testing For Security


Ever since the IoT became a household name, people have been strategizing about ways to utilize non-secure devices to mount an attack. The first instances of using electricity to overload a device's circuits, thereby neutralizing existing security features, came to light in some of the earliest car hacking incidents. These are basically side-channel attacks using what amounts to an electroni... » read more

Quality Issues Widen


As the amount of semiconductor content in cars, medical and industrial applications increases, so does the concern about how long these devices will function properly—and what exactly that means. Quality is frequently a fuzzy concept. In mobile phones, problems have ranged from bad antenna placement, which resulted in batteries draining too quickly, to features that take too long to load. ... » read more

What Next For OSATs


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss IC-packaging and business trends with Tien Wu, chief operating officer at Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering ([getentity id="22930" comment="ASE"]), the world’s largest outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) vendor. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s the outlook for the IC industry in 2017? Wu:... » read more

AI Storm Brewing


AI is coming. Now what? The answer isn't clear, because after decades of research and development, AI is finally starting to become a force to reckon with. The proof is in the M&A activity underway right now. Big companies are willing to pay huge sums to get out in front of this shift. Here is a list of just some of the AI acquisitions announced or completed over the past few years: ... » read more

The Week In Review: IoT


Market Research There will be 8.4 billion connected things in use this year, a 31% gain from 2016, and leading up to 20.4 billion connected devices in 2020, according to Gartner. The market research firm estimates worldwide spending on endpoints and services will hit nearly $2 trillion in 2017. Greater China, North America, and Western Europe account for two-thirds of the IoT installed base th... » read more

Fix Processes, Then Silos


Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, was a big proponent of what he called a "boundaryless corporation." It was a good sound bite, but it pales in comparison to former Intel CEO Andy Grove's philosophy of working out of a cubicle, just like the rest of his staff. While it's great to have corporate buy-in for breaking down silos, which are vertically integrated, the real problem for semiconductor c... » read more

OSAT Biz: Growth And Challenges


Amid a challenging business environment, the outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) industry is projected to see steady to strong growth in a number of packaging segments this year. Right now, the [getkc id="83" kc_name="OSATs"]—which provide third-party IC-packaging and test services—are seeing brisk demand for both legacy and advanced chip packages. In addition, IDMs continu... » read more

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