The Week In Review: Manufacturing And Design

Debate over texting in cars; tablet app processor race; green ATE firm; adapting to test; critical IC testing issues.

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Blocking cell phone use and texting while driving have been proposed by the U.S. government and for good reason. About 10 people a day are killed in “distraction-affected” car accidents in the U.S., according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a result, some companies are developing technologies that can block texts while driving. But according to Strategy Analytics, blocking text messages or phone calls is the wrong path to achieve safer driving.

The global tablet processor market grew 30% year-on-year to reach $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013, according to Strategy Analytics. In order, Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung and MediaTek are the top five tablet applications processor vendors in terms of revenue, according to the firm. Apple maintained its dominance in the tablet applications processor market with 40% revenue share in Q3 2013, followed by Qualcomm with 13% revenue share and Intel with 8%.

ABI Research says that Intel has a leading position in the mobile processor technology race, as the chip giant launched the first 22nm mobile application processor. The 22nm quad-core application processor (Intel Z3740D) was found in a new Dell tablet.

Abu Dhabi’s ATIC plans to invest up to $10 billion over the next two years in GlobalFoundries‘ New York fab, according to reports.

Advantest America was ranked No. 2 on Bloomberg’s list of publicly traded technology companies that use the most green energy in their U.S. operations. Bloomberg rates companies based on “the percentage of their total annual electricity that comes from green power.”

At a recent workshop organized by the Collaborative Alliance for Semiconductor Test (CAST), a SEMI special interest group described a path towards a technology called adaptive test. The members of CAST include AMD, Advantest, Amkor, LTX-Credence, Qualcomm, Roos Instruments, STMicroelectronics, Teradyne, Toshiba and others.

The recent and first-ever SEMI Malaysia Forum was sold out. At the event, the presenters talked about the critical assembly and test issues for the industry.

The following list highlights Applied Materialstop 10 blog posts for 2013 based on readership. In one blog, Applied Materials describes a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Seagate has entered the hard-drive test equipment business, which puts the company in direct competition against Teradyne. Seagate has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Xyratex. Xyratex has developed a tester for hard disk drives. The acquisition of this business will further strengthen Seagate’s vertically integrated supply and manufacturing chain for disk drives.

Pall has entered into a definitive agreement with ATMI to acquire its ATMI LifeSciences business for $185 million. ATMI’s electronics materials unit is also on the block.

Acer announced the appointment of Jason Chen as president and CEO. Chen was previously senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. 

Solar photovoltaic (PV) demand is poised for explosive growth in 2014, and is set to reach 49 gigawatts (GW), up from 36 GW in 2013, according to NPD Solarbuzz.