Saturday, June 13, 2009

Samsung- 5 nm is Not a Limit to Silicon Scaling

Speaking at IMEC's Technology Forum this week...Kinam Kim of Samsung Electronics asserted that he believes silicon scaling will continue far beyond the nanometer range....

Kinam Kim of Samsung Electronics noted that some people in industry say the limit of scaling is ~5 nm, to which he said, "I do not agree." In fact, he said he believes that there are various possible paths to overcome obstacles of silicon scaling to continue to grow the silicon industry far beyond the nanometer range. Kim, executive vice president and general manager of Samsung's Semiconductor R&D Center and Samsung Fellow, presented at IMEC's Technology Forum in Brussels, Belgium, this week.

Kim said that despite the global economic recession and slowdown of semiconductor markets, most notably memory, several emerging drivers exist in healthcare, IT, automotive, aerospace and robotics, and will be strong engines for silicon growth in the future. Healthcare alone will become predictive, preventive and personalized, using such technologies as biogenics. Advanced robots will use a variety of sensors, combined with computing power, to perform any number of tasks. It will be the incumbent applications of the semiconductor industry, well-known applications in wireless computing and entertainment, which will feed into these emerging applications... Samsung is optimistic that EUV double patterning (NA=0.25, 0.32, then 0.6) will take patterning to several nanometers in 2014.. Additional details

Laura Peters, Editor-in-Chief -- Semiconductor International, 6/4/2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Palm Pre Teardown

First look inside the Palm PreModular design leaves mysteries on battery, display

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A teardown of the Palm Pre reveals few surprises, but leaves two intriguing questions unanswered.It's not clear from a first inspection of the Pre's internals why the handset is delivering subpar battery performance in early reviews. Analysts are also scratching their heads over why Cypress Semiconductor is not providing technical information on what appears to be a new multi-touch display controller used in the cellphone.The Palm Pre went on sale June 6 after debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The handset has been of the most anticipated new cellphone designs since the iPhone, in part because Jon Rubinstein, the company's recently installed executive chairman, was the former vice president of engineering at Apple's iPod division. Additional details

Rick Merritt/ (06/07/2009 6:45 PM EDT) /

Sunday, June 7, 2009

SSD Market Share and Sales with Breakdown by Density

Revenues for the SSD market (including low-cost PC solutions) worldwide totaled US$585 million in 2008, rising over 100% from US$259 million in 2007, according to a recent report released by Gartner. PC applications contributed around 58% to the total market for SSDs last year.Samsung Electronics led the market with 31.7% revenue market share in 2008, up 14.8 percentage points from 16.9% in 2007, the Gartner report shows. The research firm attributed the significant share growth to increased adoption of Samsung's drives in mainstream PC models.STEC was second with 15.7% last year, according to the report. In addition to OEM orders placed by EMC and Sun Microsystems, STEC has recently cut into the supply chain with SSDs used in Apple's products. Meanwhile, SanDisk came in third with 9.4%, facing tougher competition from recent entrant Intel. Intel climbed to fourth with 6.9% in 2008, compared to less than 1% that it took in 2007.
See breakdown by sale, density, type (Low-cost PCs, Mainstream PCs, Enterprise SSD)

From Digitimes / Josephine Lien, Taipei; Jessie Shen,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shakeout in SSD Market

Learning Curve Leads to Shakeout in SSD Market
Septmber 1, 2008

Similar to many other new technologies I have observed since the first EEPROM, SSD will be slow to grow to large volume due to the learning required by suppliers and customers when new technologies are implemented. It will take a few years for SSD to evolve to a product ready for large volume markets. Some specific issues that will be needed to be resolved first are:

SSD is different from hard drive and it will take time to optimize SSD drive interaction with the system it will be used with.

1. Only after the differences between SSD and hard drive are fully understood (their interaction with the system they are used in, their reliability, etc), new products will be designed to take advantage of the inherent benefits of SSD.

3. Each major type of system that can use SSD (PC, Enterprise , Mobile, Media players) will have to go through these major learning cycles.

4. After the major stumbling blocks in each application types are ironed out, the SSD volume will take off.

All these factors are likely to slow the market penetration of SSD and are part of the reasons for the shakeout that is discussed below.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is Mobile Computing the Next Big Market? Semiconductor & Patent Expert Consulting
RMG and Associates
Insightful, timely, and accurate Semiconductor Technology Consulting
(408) 446-3040

1. Is Mobile Computing the Next Big Market?
2. Light and Cheap, Netbooks Are Poised to Reshape PC Industry /New York Times
3.Netbooks, smart phones: Will the twain meet? /EETimes
4. Lighter on Laps and Wallets /New York Times

1. Is Mobile Computing the Next Big Market?
April 15, 2009
A new market is being developed, driven by the increasing demand for convenient mobile internet access. Today this demand is being met by netbook computers and the iPhone and its competitors. Netbook computers are now selling more units than desktop computers. The consumer wants a device that is cheaper, lighter, smaller, and has a longer battery life than the traditional laptop. The demand for the iPhone grew quickly because of its ability to meet these needs in a user friendly platform.
Lighter on Laps and Wallets describes the myriad of ways that people today are using their netbook computers.

Ron Maltiel (408) 446-3040

Friday, May 1, 2009

Long Term Trends in the NOR and NAND Markets

1. Long Term Trend in the NOR and NAND Markets
2. What's next for Spansion? /EETimes
3. Spansion's Chapter 11 signals the erosion of the flash memory market / betanews

1. Long Term Trends in the NOR and NAND Markets
I believe the article about Spansion's Chapter 11 ... is missing the point of the real reason for the failure of Spansion. The key reason is that in the non volatitle market the NOR is on a shrinking growth rate pace compared to NAND's accelerating growth rate. As a result, the semiconductor companies that focused on NAND have been growing faster and have been more profitable than the ones that focused on NOR. The current global economic upheavl is just accelerating this trend.
This phenomena is mainly due to NOR’s higher cost and smaller memory size relative to NAND at every semiconductor technology node. A similar development took place in the SRAM and DRAM memory market in the past. SRAM and DRAM unit volume used to be equal in size, but as a result of DRAM being cheaper with a larger memory size, its current market size is about 10X the size of SRAM memory (even though SRAM is faster).
This growth trend in the volume of products and applications that use NAND and not NOR has been accelerating for several years. See the article below about the trouble that Intel had in selling NOR memories from May 2007
Barron's Eric Savitz column / May 2007
"Report Plan to Spin of NOR Business IN JV STMicro "Done Deal" Hynix Also Involved"
My comment at the time as seen in the link above -
"It would make sense for Intel to pull out of the NOR business, over the next several years NOR volume will drop to 1/10 of NAND volume..."

Another example indicating this long term trend impact of NAND on NOR is in What's next for Spansion
While the complete article is below, the relevant points are:
''In the fourth quarter a decline in end-user demand caused NOR unit shipments to plunge,'' Handy said. ''In all prior years NOR unit shipments have followed a cycle, with quarterly increases from Q1-Q4 before a seasonal drop-off in the first quarter. Last year NOR unit shipments collapsed in the fourth quarter to a level not seen since early 2005...
Some designs are even converting to NAND alone. Unless the high-density NOR is sold at a very low price, today's cheap NAND is likely to capture the bulk of the design's flash revenues,'' he said. ''One gigabyte of NAND today sells for only about 10 percent of the price it commanded in the middle of 2007. NAND's price slide is dragging down high-density NOR prices, vacuuming all the profit out of the market for the two leaders.''

Ron Maltiel
Providing timely and accurate consulting and business news for the semiconductor industry.