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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

TSMC cuts outlook; LPDDR5; Intel-Micron breakup part 2.

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Chipmakers
TSMC has reduced its outlook for 2018 revenue and capital spending, according to Bloomberg. The company blamed the outlook on sluggish “mobile and digital currency mining demand,” according to the report.

Samsung has developed the industry’s first 10nm-class 8-gigabit LPDDR5 DRAM. The 8Gb LPDDR5 boasts a data rate of up to 6,400 megabits-per-second (Mb/s), which is 1.5 times as fast as the mobile DRAM chips used in current mobile devices (LPDDR4X, 4,266Mb/s). With the increased transfer rate, the new LPDDR5 can send 51.2 gigabytes of data, or approximately 14 full-HD video files (3.7GB each), in a second.

Micron and Intel are going their separate ways again, this time in 3D XPoint. The companies have agreed to complete joint development for the second-generation of 3D XPoint technology, which is expected to occur in the first half of 2019. Technology development beyond the second generation of 3D XPoint will be pursued independently by the two companies.In January, Intel and Micron ended their long-running 3D NAND joint development partnership. The companies agreed to complete the development of their third-generation of 3D NAND technology. Beyond that, both companies will develop 3D NAND independently.

Texas Instruments has announced the resignation of Brian Crutcher as president, chief executive and a member of the board. The board has named Rich Templeton, the company’s chairman, to reassume the roles of president and CEO. “Crutcher resigned due to violations of the company’s code of conduct. The violations are related to personal behavior that is not consistent with our ethics and core values, but not related to company strategy, operations or financial reporting,” according to TI, who did not elaborate.

Xilinx has acquired DeePhi Technology, a Beijing-based start-up with capabilities in machine learning and system-level optimization for neural networks.

Lattice Semiconductor will discontinue its millimeter wave business. This is expected to result in approximately $25 million of primarily non-cash restructuring and impairment charges in the second quarter of 2018, and an annualized reduction in operating expenses of approximately $13 million.

Fab tools
PDF Solutions has announced that Gerald Yin has joined the company’s board. Yin is chairman and chief executive of Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment (AMEC). He also serves on the board of PDF Solutions Semiconductor Technology (Shanghai), a subsidiary of PDF Solutions.

Market research
Here are some staggering stats: “IC Insights forecasts that the 2018 global electronic systems market will grow 5% to $1.622 trillion, while the worldwide semiconductor market is expected to surge by 14% this year to $509.1 billion, exceeding the $500.0 billion level for the first time. If the 2018 forecasts come to fruition, the average semiconductor content in an electronic system will reach 31.4%, breaking the all-time record of 28.8% that was set in 2017,” according to the firm.

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Strategy Analytics finds that on-device edge AI technology is growing fast among smartphone vendors. Physical cores, such as Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and software frameworks like Qualcomm’s Neural Processing Engine (NPE), are driving smartphone growth. These technologies use algorithms to offload AI computation to several processors (CPU, GPU and DSP), according to the firm.

“Edge AI computing where AI processing is brought from the cloud to smartphones, is increasing the need for on-device AI solutions,” said senior analyst Ville-Petteri Ukonaho. “Advantages of on-device edge AI computing include lower latency, better data privacy and overall lower power consumption.

“Due to their greater capability to handle complex AI computations, physical AI cores make up the majority of on-device AI smartphone volumes with over 95% share of on-device AI processing solutions,” said Ukonaho.

Ken Hyers, director at Strategy Analytics, added: “A smartphone equipped with on-device AI can perform key tasks more efficiently. On-device AI can perform tasks such as taking pictures with sharper images and better videos, improve communication and better sense surroundings, making smartphones of the future more useful tools for users.”



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