Items tagged with semiconductors

Foxconn is attempting to acquire Toshiba's semiconductor business though it is not going at it alone. According to multiple reports, both Apple and Amazon have joined forces with Foxconn to grab a piece of the sale, with each company offering up an untold amount of financial backing to help push the deal through.It is also said that Taiwan's Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision, has partnered with Sharp in its bid. Foxconn acquired Sharp last year in a deal worth in the neighborhood of $3.5 billion."Foxconn can confirm that we have submitted a bid for Toshiba's chip business with a number of strategic partners," the company told Reuters. It is not willing to discuss specifics of the deal,... Read more...
IBM has teamed up with semiconductor equipment suppliers and manufacturing bigwigs GlobalFoundries and Samsung to develop a new process for building silicon nanosheet transistors. This new process paves a path to 5-nanometer, with the subsequent "fingernail-sized" chips packing a staggering 30 billion transistors inside. Hooray for keeping Moore's Law intact. Image Source: Connie Zhou via IBM "This announcement is the latest example of the world-class research that continues to emerge from our groundbreaking public-private partnership in New York," said Gary Patton, CTO and Head of Worldwide R&D at GlobalFoundries. "As we make progress toward commercializing 7nm in 2018 at our Fab 8 manufacturing... Read more...
In the high stakes game of semiconductors, technologies related to processor nodes are closely guarded secrets as companies try to trump one another with die shrinks and other advances in silicon research and development. As you might imagine, espionage can be a problem. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) believes it was an issue with a former employee who it accuses of stealing 28nm trade secrets.TSMC believes an ex-employee identified only as Hsu stole information about the company's 28nm process technology when he was being head hunted for employment at Shanghai Hueli Microelectronics (HLMC), a competing semiconductor manufacturer in China. Hsu had accepted a job at HLMC but... Read more...
The word from South Korea is that Samsung plans to invest $6.98 billion (8 trillion South Korean Won) into extending its high-tech semiconductor production lines. Specifically, Samsung is looking to remain on the cutting edge by making supplemental investments into its 10-nanometer production lines while building out new facilities capable of producing 7nm semiconductors.Samsung has some empty space located in Hwasung-si that it plans to fill with equipment than can fabricate 10nm chips. It has already ordered the necessary machinery from major domestic and foreign partners. The investments will kick in next month, while the equipment Samsung ordered will arrive sometime in the first half of... Read more...
Samsung today announced that it has begun mass producing its Exynos 9 series 8895 application processor (AP), the first processor chipset built on an advanced 10-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process. It is expected that the Exynos 8895 will find its way into one of the versions of Samsung's next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, which is slated to arrive sometime after Mobile World Congress. According to Samsung, the move to a 10nm FinFET process node comes with an improved 3D transistor structure that allows for up to a 27 percent bump in performance while consuming 40 percent less power compared to 14nm technology. Samsung also says the Exynos 8895 is the first processor of its kind to... Read more...
Samsung has some big decisions to make. The company finds itself in the midst of a reorganization effort following its global recall of Galaxy Note 7 handsets, and where it goes from here is very much up in the are. Behind closed doors, the company is said to be considering a split, and now it's being reported that Samsung is likely to spin off its foundry business division.The news from South Korea, Samsung's home territory, is that it will shake up its System LSI division in order to grow its semiconductor business and become a leaner outfit. If the reports are true, Samsung will separate its design and manufacturing arm into a new business and divide or spin it off to the fabless and foundry... Read more...
Mobile chip maker Qualcomm has inked a definitive agreement to purchase NXP Semiconductors in a deal valued at around $47 billion. The board of directors of both companies gave unanimous approval for the acquisition, which will see Qualcomm buy all of NXP's stock at $110 per share, an 11.5 percent premium over NXP's closing price on Wednesday. Should the deal receive regulatory approval, Qualcomm will be in position to become a major player in the fast growing connected car market. NXP is a leading chip maker in the automotive industry with mixed-signal semiconductor solutions for in-vehicle infotainment, networking, and safety systems. The company's products are found in 14 of the top 15 infotainment... Read more...
Advanced Micro Device's tally for its fiscal third quarter reached just $1.3 billion. That represents a jump of 23 percent from the same quarter a year prior on strong demand for its semiconductors used in game consoles, and it beat out what analysts were expecting. That's the good news. The bad news is that it wasn't enough for AMD to pull a profit. Just the opposite, AMD's loss for the quarter climbed to $406 million, or $0.50 per share, more than doubling the $197 million loss, or $0.25 per share, it posted in the third quarter for 2015. It's also a big swing from the $69 million profit ($0.08 per share) AMD posted just a quarter ago on revenue of a little over $1 billion. AMD says the decline... Read more...
Shrinking semiconductors to 10-nanometers is no easy task—just ask Intel, which pushed back the release of its 10nm Cannonlake architecture until 2017. Samsung, however, is having better luck with it. The South Korean outfit announced on Monday that it has begun mass product of system-on-chip (SoC) products based on its 10nm FinFET technology. Samsung is leading the charge in FinFET production, at least in mobile. It mass produced the first FinFET mobile chips back in January of last year, and now it's leading the charge with 10nm FinFET production. This isn't lost on Samsung, which is all too happy to brag about its achievements. "The industry’s first mass production of 10nm FinFET technology... Read more...
It's a pretty remarkable thing that, for the most part, Moore's Law has been accurate for over 50 years, helping to set the pace for processor design for several decades. However, Moore's Law is in serious trouble of being broken if, as a group of researchers predict, transistors stop shrinking within the next five years. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) recently put the final touches on its 2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), a collaborative report that surveys the technological hurdles and opportunities for the semiconductor industry through 2030. In it researchers surmise that companies will no longer find that it makes good fiscal sense to continue... Read more...
Samsung could use a financial boost after a decline in mobile profit led to the company posting an overall loss last year. It has a new boss in charge of mobile, and to keep the cash flowing (and investors happy), Samsung will produce 14nm CPU and GPU semiconductors for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) starting in 2016.AMD currently has all its chips in one basket, so to speak, that basket being GlobalFoundries. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) also used to build chips for AMD, though yield and supply woes forced AMD to look elsewhere for help, and right now it's looking in the direction of Samsung.Adding Samsung would give AMD two sources for 14nm semiconductors, including its new... Read more...
Samsung's been in somewhat of a sales funk ever since the launch of its Galaxy S5. Consumers had grown bored with the recycled design of the Galaxy series, and though the premium overhaul of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sparked renewed interest in the company's flagship phone line, manufacturing troubles prevented Samsung from selling as many devices as it could have. Despite it all, however, Samsung managed to increase its operating profit last quarter, much to the delight of investors.Consolidated sales are expected to reach 51 trillion Korean won (around $44.37 billion in U.S. currency) for the third quarter of 2015, up from 47.4 trillion Korean won (~$44.2 billion) in the same quarter a year... Read more...
IBM Research on Thursday announced that it has produced the semiconductor industry's first 7-nanometer node test chips with functioning transistors. The accomplishment was a joint effort with partners GlobalFoundries, Samsung, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. It's also an important milestone in IBM's $3 billion research initiative announced last year. The initiative is a five-year plan that calls for IBM to heavily invest in a pair of broad research and early stage development programs to push the limits of chip technology. Getting to 7nm was one of the goals, though it doesn't stop there -- IBM is also looking beyond, which will require new materials... Read more...
Three atoms thick. According to a paper published this week in the science journal Nature by a group of researchers from Cornell University, that is the breadth of the transistors that can now be produced using an experimental — and highly conductive — material called transition metal dichalcogenide (also called a TMD). We aren't talking five atoms thick, or even four (because any schmoe with a hobbyist chemistry set can do that), but transistors rendered at a thickness of just three atoms. As it applies to theoretical science and human achievement, the harnessing of TMD for practical use is quite remarkable. It is the prospective leaps that could potentially be made in technological hardware... Read more...
Intel is reportedly attempting to negotiate a deal to acquire Altera, an American company that designs and manufacturers FPGAs, or field-programmable gate arrays. The figure that's out there is $10 billion, and if it happens, it would be Intel's largest acquisition ever. It would also help Intel expand its presence in other marketsAltera's chips are often found in cellphone towers, along with military and industrial applications. These are all areas where Intel could make a ton of money, which also buys the company insurance against a changing landscape that's see the personal computer market lose some of its luster over the past several years.Case in point, Intel this month reduced its first-quarter... Read more...
It was a mixed set of announcements from AMD last night, with some positive news for the chip manufacturer, but some long-term projections that sent investors skittering. This was Lisa Su's first quarterly announcement after taking over the CEO position barely a week ago, and she opened with good news -- not only did AMD turn a small profit on the quarter -- $17M net income ($63M operating income) on revenue of $1.43B -- it's secured two new semi-custom deals expected to provide roughly $1B in revenue over the next three years. That works out to around $84M per quarter -- not an enormous amount, no, but a nice feather in AMD's overall business cap. AMD expects to ship this hardware for revenue... Read more...
The transistor is one of the most profound innovations in all of human existence. First discovered in 1947, it has scaled like no advance in human history; we can pack billions of transistors into complicated processors smaller than your thumbnail. After decades of innovation, however, the transistor has faltered. Clock speeds stalled in 2005 and the 20nm process node is set to be more expensive than the 28nm node was for the first time ever. Now, researchers at NASA believe they may have discovered a way to kickstart transistors again -- by using technology from the earliest days of computing:  The vacuum tube. No, really.  Stop laughing. Once upon a time, vacuum tubes were the fundamental... Read more...
The big news of the day, based on a leaked Intel roadmap, is that Broadwell won't launch in 2014. Instead, we'll see a Haswell refresh with unknown performance characteristics (slightly higher clocks are the best bet) and, late in the year, a "Haswell-E" server part on the X99 chipset. Ivy Bridge-E, the six-core LGA2011 CPU, is still set for later this year, on the X79 chipset. The big assumption coming out of this is that Intel has delayed 14nm production and that Broadwell wont' ship at all in 2014. Based on sources we've spoken to, this isn't accurate. The flaw in the current story is that it implicitly assumes that desktop is the focus of Intel's business and that the company would naturally... Read more...
Global semiconductor revenue saw a downswing in 2012 compared to one year prior, dropping 3 percent to $298 billion, according to preliminary results by market research firm Gartner. The top 25 players were collectively hit the hardest, as their revenue dropped 4.2 percent, surpassing the industry average and accounting for a smaller portion of the industry's total revenue. "Uncertainty about the state of the macroeconomy, coupled with ongoing inventory overhang, sent ripples through the semiconductor industry," said Steve Ohr, research director at Gartner. "The hardest hit areas include the PC supply chain, memory, analog and discrete components. The PC business, ordinarily a growth driver,... Read more...
You can certainly make the argument that tablets didn't catch AMD or Intel "flat-footed" (and we in fact did make that argument), but at the same time, you have to give companies like Qualcomm credit for being well prepared for the mobile boom that we now find ourselves in. To wit, Qualcomm is now the world's third largest semiconductor player, behind only Samsung (another mobile player) and Intel. According to IHS iSuppli, it was an overall miserable year for semiconductors with seven of the world's top 10 semiconductor suppliers seeing a decline in revenue. Qualcomm bucked that trend, and did so in dramatic fashion. "Qualcomm is set to end 2012 with a stunning 27.2 percent growth in semiconductor... Read more...
Samsung, the world's most active memory chip maker, announced today that it's begun constructing a new facility in Xi'an, China that will make use of advanced 10-nanometer class technology in producing NAND flash memory chips. The South Korean company said it's investing $2.3 billion in the new fab, marking the single largest investment by Samsung in China with a phased total investment of $7 billion. "It is a great honor to announce our groundbreaking at Xi'an, a city of tremendous historic and academic significance, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and China," Samdung Vice Chairman and CEO Dr. Oh-hyun Kwon said in a statement. "At this time, our memory... Read more...
Texas Instruments, maker of the popular OMAP processor line and those pricey calculators high school math teachers insist their students bring to class, announced fourth quarter revenue of $3.42 billion, net income of $298 billion, and earnings per share of 25 cents, all of which exceeded the company's expectations. "Revenue in the fourth quarter was higher than expected across all our major product lines, reinforcing our belief that we're at the bottom of this downturn. I'm pleased to say that despite the downturn and the lower factory utilization that came with it, cash flow from operations was strong and well above levels as compared with similar points in prior downturns. Our strategic focus... Read more...
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