The Week In Review: Oct. 18

EUV woes; SoC security; 16nm reference flows; Applied’s display tools; Toshiba’s SOI switch; Intel cuts CapEx


By Mark LaPedus & Ed Sperling
The problems continue with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. ASML promised to deliver an 80 Watt power source by year’s end. Now, the company said it only will have a 70 Watt source by mid-2014. “We are focusing on reaching the 70 Watts by the middle of next year,” said Peter Wennink, ASML’s CEO, in a conference call to discuss the company’s results. ASML blamed the problem on the delay of certain components for the source.

Synopsys teamed up with TSMC on a 16nm custom design reference flow that includes voltage-dependent design rules. The flow includes support for TSMC’s finFET layout rules, device models and analysis for electromigration and IR drop.  Synopsys also rolled out a new ARC processor for safety-compliant automotive systems.

Mentor Graphics’ RTOS now contains partitioned and protected memory regions, adding system reliability and better performance for safety-critical systems. The software is built on an analyzer tool, which provides trace support to analyze variations across the system, a key way for adding security into devices.

Along the same lines, Jasper Design Automation rolled out a formal verification application that detects security vulnerabilities in SoCs. The security path verification application allows designers to specify, analyze and verify design constructs and different scenarios that can affect security of the chip.

Applied Materials announced new systems for manufacturing large-size and ultra-high definition displays. The AKT-PiVot 55K DT PVD, AKT-PiVot 25K DT PVD and AKT 55KS PECVD systems extend Applied’s leadership in metal oxide films and technologies for smaller and faster thin-film transistors (TFTs).

Erix Yu, country president of Applied Materials in Taiwan, gave a speech to students from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in southern Taiwan. “Students who are equipped with not only the profession but communication skills, work ethics, and project management capabilities may exceed in the high-tech challenges of the future,” he said.

Using RF-SOI technology, Toshiba has announced an SP10T RF antenna switch for the smartphone market.

Intel posted in-line results for the quarter, but it also lowered its capital spending. It also delayed one of its 14nm processor rollouts by a quarter. “It was simply a defect density issue,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel’s new CEO, on a conference call. “We have got back now and added additional fixes, gotten back onto that curve, so we have confidence that the problem is fixed.”

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) posted mixed results for Q3, but provided a weak outlook for Q4 amid a slowdown in the smartphone business. TSMC Chairman and CEO Morris Chang also discussed the company’s CEO succession plans. TSMC may announce a new CEO by mid-2014. If or when that happens, Chang said he will remain firmly in charge of the company as chairman.

Samsung Information Systems America, a Samsung Electronics U.S. R&D Center, announced its plans for expansion and relocation to a new 8.5-acre campus in Mountain View, Calif. Last month, Samsung Semiconductor announced the expansion of its San Jose operations. Beyond Silicon Valley, Samsung is continuing to expand its U.S. facilities, with new employment opportunities.

Analog Devices has signed a definitive agreement to sell the assets of its MEMS microphone product line to InvenSense for $100 million in cash.

According to Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek, Samsung and Spreadtrum captured the top-five revenue share spots in the smartphone processor market in Q2 2013. Qualcomm maintained its dominance in the smartphone applications processor market with 53% revenue share, followed by Apple with 15% share and MediaTek with 11% share in Q2 2013.

During the third quarter of 2013, end-market demand from the global solar PV industry reached a new Q3 record of 9 GW. This record demand is up 6% quarter-over-quarter and almost 20% year-over-year, according to Solarbuzz.

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