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

Intel To Buy Mobileye


Intel today said it would acquire embedded vision leader Mobileye for roughly $15.3 billion in equity—$14.7 billion in "enterprise value"—setting the stage for a huge push by the chipmaker into the autonomous driving market. Intel has been dabbling in the automotive market for some time, starting with an unsuccessful bid to replace 8-bit microcontrollers with low-end processors. With the... » 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

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

Why Auto Designs Take So Long


Designing chips for the automotive market is adding significant overhead, particularly for chips with stringent safety requirements. On the verification side it could result in an additional 6 to 12 months of work. On the design side, developing the same processor in the mobile market would take 6 fewer man months. And when it comes to complex electronic control units (ECUs) or [getkc id="81... » read more

Big Data On Wheels


By Jeff Dorsch & Ed Sperling All kinds of chips are going into driver-assisted and autonomous cars. On one side are arrays of sensors, which are generating huge amounts of data about everything from lane position and proximity to other cars to unexpected objects in the road. On the other side are the chips required to process that data at blazing speed. As the market for PCs and mobil... » read more

The Path To (Virtually) Zero Defective Parts Per Million


Despite thorough wafer and package testing, a small number of defective ICs can make their way into systems. These test "escapes" often return as field failures, increasing costs and eroding profit margins. They can also present a hazard if deployed in safety-critical systems, which is why companies purchasing semiconductors for automotive, medical, or aerospace applications often demand a zero... » read more

The Return Of Time Sharing


As early as the 1960s, it wasn't uncommon to hear that transistors would be free. Those were pretty bold statements at the time, considering most computers in those days cost $1 million, required special rooms, and budding computer scientists usually had to sign up to use mainframe computers for one-hour time slots—often in the middle of the night or on weekends. Still, those predictions ... » read more

Better Chips, Better Cars


There are literally thousands of electronic components in a new car, and those numbers are only going to increase as cars become smarter, safer, greener, and increasingly connected. As automakers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies shift their focus from mechanical to a combination of mechanical and electrical, there is an ongoing race among fabless companies to come up with innovative technolog... » read more

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