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The Future Of Mobile PC Is Here


The smartphone has fundamentally changed the way other types of computing devices are being designed. Focus on energy-efficient compute, portable form factor, long battery life, and connectivity has spread far wider than just the smartphone in your hand. Nowhere has this design influence been more significant than in the area of notebook PC. The era we are just now entering is that of th... » read more

Hedging The Chip Industry


The chip industry has changed significantly since the last big downturn. And while there is no indication a downturn is on the horizon, analysts are beginning to ask questions about what comes next. Inventory is building at systems companies because of weaknesses in some of the key markets such as mobile phones and tablet computers, and there is a growing risk of trade wars due to recently impo... » read more

2017 Off To A Good Start, January Up 10.6% Year Over Year


January 2017 semiconductor sales exceeded $29 billion, representing a 10.6% increase over January 2016 and a decline of 10% from December 2016. The average weekly industry ship rate for January was $7.3 billion. Extending this ship rate for the year would produce an annual revenue of $380 billion or 10% growth. Semico is forecasting a couple of slow months and some price degradation on a few ke... » read more

GMK: Rethinking The Audio Jack


The lowly audio jack, taken for granted since the days of the transistor radio, is getting a lot of attention these days. Apple thought so little of it, in fact, that it eliminated it altogether with its iPhone 7, choosing to run analog signals through the power cable rather than keeping a separate audio jack. Now GMK, a fabless semiconductor startup in Korea, is taking the reverse approach—r... » read more

Making Phones Better


Beneath a smartphone's slick packaging is some interesting, highly sophisticated technology that makes the user experience what it is today. Much of that experience relies on satisfying our ever growing desire for more data capacity for video, social media and the like. Providing that capacity relies on robust filtering to receive just your data stream amongst many nearby other streams. But tha... » read more

Confronting Design Challenges With Smaller Thermal Envelopes


For design engineers, physics giveth but physics can also taketh away. Consider leading-edge smartphones. Outside the improved performance that each generation gives consumers, the handsets themselves get thinner, sleeker, lighter. The reduction in the Z height is effectively a given with each new generation. In 2010, the HTC Nexus One was 11.5mm thick; this year, the Mate 8 is 7.9mm. Rem... » read more

After Smartphones…Less?


As the rate of growth for smartphone sales slow, questions arise regarding the impact that slower growth will have throughout the semiconductor supply chain. Over the past decade, the 1 billion-plus smartphone market has driven the need for more advanced manufacturing process technologies, new input materials and the need for more fab capacity. It has even legitimized new players into the suppl... » read more

What’s After Smartphones?


One of the unique things about the semiconductor industry is that it has fueled the digital revolution almost entirely by focusing on its core competencies of performance, power and area. There are few, if any, industries that can tie global growth and success to what amounts to an almost isolationist business model. Salespeople have to sell those chips, of course. Marketers have to create ... » read more

Racing To Design Chips Faster


A shift is underway to develop chips for more narrowly defined market segments, and in much smaller production runs. Rather than focusing on shrinking features and reducing cost per transistor by the billions of units, the emphasis behind this shift is less about scale and much more about optimization for specific markets and delivering those solutions more quickly. As automotive, consumer e... » read more

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper


Sometimes the most intriguing market growth comes in “unsexy” applications. Take the mobile market for example. Overall growth rates are cooling, as you’d expect with a maturing market. But in 2020, 1 billion smart phones are expected to ship in the entry-level category. This implies an 8% compounded annual growth rate, making entry mobile the most rapidly expanding mobile market segme... » read more

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