Asian manufacturers are relocating their production from China while the Trump administration increases tariffs on products made in China, with another $200 billion in goods targeted in the latest round. Intel, which fabricates its microchips in the US yet relies on Chinese plants to assemble them into IC packages, says it would be impractical to move those facilities, since "it is too expensive to relocate established and integrated supply chains."
Taiwan-based AP Memory Technology says it will license some of its memory chip intellectual property, offer more IC design services and reduce its reliance on sales of low-power DRAM products. The fabless semiconductor company hopes to improve its gross margins and profits during the fourth quarter and the first six months of next year.
Paper-based electronics can help reduce the tide of toxic electronic waste, since it is biodegradable, and it can be folded to fit into small form factors, this analysis notes. Flexible bio-batteries, which can use bacteria to produce an electrical charge, are another element in reducing e-waste.
Huawei says its Kirin 980 artificial intelligence chip, made with a 7-nanometer process, will be in consumer devices for sale in India before the end of 2018. The chipset is fabricated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing from a Huawei design.
Graphcore, ThinCI, Wave Computing and Habana are among startups providing early silicon to potential customers, offering field-programmable gate arrays and system-on-a-chip devices that are optimized to perform machine learning tasks. Tractica forecasts the deep-learning chipset market will grow to $66.3 billion by 2025, up from $1.6 billion in 2017.
Samsung Electronics will reportedly trim plans to raise memory chip production capacity next year, reducing output to keep supplies tight while bolstering pricing for DRAMs and NAND flash memories. "There are only three major players left, and they have the power to control supplies," said Park Sung-shin of KTB Asset Management.
Analog Devices brought out the LT8708-1 line of bidirectional buck-boost switching regulator controllers, said to have 98% energy efficiency. Meant for use in all-electric autonomous vehicles, the chips can operate with 12-volt, 24V and 48V batteries.
Toshiba Memory and Western Digital formally dedicated the new Fab 6 in Mie, Japan, which will produce 3D NAND flash memory devices; construction of the facility began in February 2017. Adjacent to Fab 6 is the joint venture's memory research and development center, which opened in March.
Electric vehicles and other products are increasing demand for silicon carbide power semiconductors, leading producers of SiC-based devices to move from 4-inch wafers to 6-inch wafers to raise output. "SiC activities from the pioneers, such as Toyota and Tesla, have brought a lot of excitement and noise to the market," said Hong Lin of Yole Developpement.
Cryogenic etching technology seems to be ready to emerge from decades in R&D to provide production-level capability for making microelectromechanical system devices, 3D NAND flash memories and other ICs, this analysis notes. Lam Research's Rick Gottscho says of cryogenic etch, "It's been in the literature since the mid-1980s, but it was very much ahead of its time."
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