The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Cohu buys Xcerra; KLA-Tencor expands; iPhone X is top seller.


Test and packaging
In a major surprise, Cohu has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Xcerra for approximately $796 million. With the deal, Cohu will enter the ATE market. Last year, a group from China entered into a definitive agreement under which it would acquire Xcerra. But the U.S. blocked Xcerra’s sale to the Chinese group. Ironically, at one time, Cohu was reportedly lobbying to block that deal. Now, Cohu is making a bid to buy Xcerra.

Advantest has extended the performance of its V93000 tester with the FVI16 floating power VI source. This will allow for testing power and analog ICs used in automotive, industrial and consumer mobile-charging applications.

National Instruments (NI) has announced SystemLink, an application software technology for use in distributed systems management. SystemLink helps improve operational efficiency and decrease maintenance costs through a centralized interface for automating tasks, such as software deployment, remote device configuration and system health performance monitoring.

Astronics reported its financial results for the three months ended March 31. Orders for the test systems segment in the quarter were $15.3 million for a book-to-bill ratio of 1.06:1.

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) has completed a share exchange pursuant to which a new holding company, ASE Industrial Holding Co., has been formally established. As reported, ASE has merged with Siliconware Precision (SPIL).

KLA-Tencor has acquired the Nanolndenter product line from Keysight Technologies. This is an instrument for nanoscale mechanical testing. In a move to expand into the process equipment and other new businesses, KLA-Tencor recently entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Orbotech for approximately $3.4 billion

Cadence Design Systems, Coventor, X-FAB and Reutlingen University have announced the grand prize winner of the Global MEMS Design Contest 2018. A team from ESIEE Paris and Sorbonne University received the grand prize award for designing a MEMS-based energy harvesting product using electrostatic transduction.

PDF Solutions, a provider of process-design integration technologies to enhance IC manufacturability, has reported its first fiscal quarter results ended March 31.

In a video, Bloomberg interviewed Tom Caulfield, the new chief executive of GlobalFoundries. Caulfield talks about the direction and challenges for the company.

TowerJazz has release its 300mm 65nm BCD (Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) process, an advanced power management platform for up to 16V operation and 24V maximum voltage. This technology is manufactured at TowerJazz’ 300mm fab in Uozu, Japan.

Qualcomm is preparing to cease the development of processors for data-center servers, according to a report from Bloomberg. For this, Qualcomm has been developing Arm-based processors.

TDK has acquired Faraday Semi LLC, a supplier of power semiconductor ICs. Faraday Semi’s solutions incorporate semiconductors in advanced packaging technologies such as TDK’s semiconductor embedded in substrate (SESUB).

Separately, On Semiconductor has acquired SensL Technologies, a supplier of silicon photomultipliers, single photon avalanche diodes and LiDAR sensing products.

Meanwhile, Adesto has acquired S3 Semiconductors, a supplier of mixed-signal and RF chips.

Market research
Despite fears of expensive pricing, Apple’s iPhone X was the world’s best-selling smartphone model in the first quarter of 2018, shipping about 16 million units during the period, according to Strategy Analytics.

Xiaomi’s Redmi 5A and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus were the world’s top-selling Android smartphone models in the period, according to the research firm. In total, global smartphone shipments reached 345 million units in the first quarter, down 2.4% from the like period a year ago, according to the firm.

Juha Winter, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “We estimate the Apple iPhone X shipped 16.0 million units and captured 5% marketshare worldwide in Q1 2018. For the second quarter running, the iPhone X remains the world’s most popular smartphone model overall, due to a blend of good design, sophisticated camera, extensive apps, and widespread retail presence for the device. Apple has now shipped almost 50 million iPhone X units worldwide since commercial launch in November 2017. The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus shipped 12.5 and 8.3 million units, respectively, for second and third place. The previous-generation iPhone 7 shipped a respectable 5.6 million units for fourth place. Combined together, Apple today accounts for four of the world’s six most popular smartphone models.”

Linda Sui, another analyst at the firm, added: “We estimate Xiaomi Redmi 5A shipped 5.4 million units for fifth place and 2% marketshare worldwide in Q1 2018. Xiaomi has become wildly popular across India and China. Xiaomi is selling a huge volume of smartphones through online channels, with key retail partners including Flipkart and JD.”

Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics, added, “We estimate Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus shipped 5.3 million units for sixth place and 2% marketshare worldwide in Q1 2018. Samsung’s new flagships, Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, only started shipping toward the end of the first quarter, but shipments are already off to a very good start. The S9 Plus delivers an attractive, bezel-less, curved-screen design, a rich portfolio of software apps, and best-in-class retail distribution across dozens of countries. We expect the S9 Plus to become the best-selling Android smartphone globally in the second quarter of 2018.”

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