The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Inflating the numbers; Fujimura’s observations; GF foundry deal; Applied’s award; ATE order.

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A market research firm once said if you want to sell a lot of market studies, you have to report big numbers. And some competitors have done just that, according to Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts. In fact, some research houses inflated their smartphone shipment numbers, saying that the figure reached 1 billion in 2013, Strauss said. So, did 1 billion smartphones really ship last year? “No! Sure 1.6 billion cellphones shipped last year, but only about half (840) million of them were actually ‘smartphones,’ ” Strauss said in a research note. “Most other analysts lump the 2G voice-centric budget, 2G and 3G midrange and 3G feature phones into one category they call ‘feature phones.’ Those analysts assume that all of the so-called ‘feature phone segment’ is being rapidly displaced by smartphones, which is not true.”

A new issue of the Fine Line Video Journal is out. In a video, Aki Fujimura, CEO of D2S, reviewed the latest buzz at the SPIE Advanced Lithography Conference—including EUV, DSA and mask shot count reduction efforts.

Toshiba will collaborate with GlobalFoundries in the manufacture of Toshiba’s so-called Fit Fast Structured Array products. Initial products will be manufactured using GlobalFoundries 65nm-LPe and 40nm-LP processes, with plans to extend the collaboration to the company’s 28nm high-k/metal-gate technology. Toshiba’s products, developed in collaboration with BaySand, can be configured simply by customizing the design of a few metal layers.

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted in February a book-to-bill ratio of 1.00, according to SEMI. A book-to-bill of 1.00 means that $100 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

Applied Materials announced that it was named a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance.

Advantest has received an order from HiSilicon Technologies, a Chinese producer of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and other chipsets for communication networks and digital media, for a V93000 tester equipped with Advantest’s Pin Scale Serial Link (PSSL) digital channel card.

Intel has demonstrated silicon results for its 1 to 16 Gbps 14nm general-purpose SerDes. This 14nm SerDes is the first in a family of SerDes that will include 10 to 32 Gbps high-speed SerDes and 1 to 10 Gbps low-power SerDes. The 1 to 16 Gbps SerDes is part of Intel’s foundry offering.

MKS Instruments has agreed to purchase the assets of Granville-Phillips, a division of Brooks Automation, for $87 million in cash. Granville-Phillips is a provider of vacuum measurement and control instruments.

Hittite Microwave has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the assets of the Keragis, a provider of high-power, wideband amplifier modules.

ChaoLogix, a semiconductor technology provider focused on developing embedded security and low-power design intellectual property, introduced ChaoSecure technology that deters side channel attacks on semiconductor chips.

In February, RF Micro and TriQuint announced a definitive merger agreement. The merger solidifies the combined entity’s lead in the defense sector, according to Strategy Analytics.

ABI Research forecasts 200 million branded tablet shipments this year-a 20% gain year-over-year from the 166 million shipments in 2013.

Starting this month, LCD TV panels are swinging into tight supply, according to DisplaySearch.

Over the past three years, solar photovoltaic (PV) installed system prices, module prices, and module production costs have all fallen by more than 50%. A shakeout of uncompetitive PV cell manufacturers has caused the number of suppliers to decline from 250 in 2010 to 150 in 2013. According to Solarbuzz, PV demand will shift into a classic supply-driven market in 2014.