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A Tenuous Industry

Even when Intel was one of the world’s ten most valuable companies, and Gordon Moore was chairman of it, he still didn’t have his own parking space, complaining once: “We have so many people in Santa Clara that if you leave during the day, it’s difficult to get a parking space when you come back.” An unusual problem for someone ...

TSMC Tapes Out 10nm IC

TSMC has taped out a 10nm design for Apple, reports Digitimes. Certification of the process is scheduled for Q4 with customer samples in Q1 2017,and early volume in Q2 17. Shipping for revenue is slated for Q3 17. Called A11, the chip is destined for Apple’s phone launching Autumn 2017. Intel’s 10nm process was due for late this year but ...

ST Drops Down League Of Industrial Semi Suppliers

Intel passed ST to become the third largest vendor of industrial semiconductors, says Semicast Research. No,1 was TI and No.2 was Infineon. Renesas was No.5. Semicast defines the industrial sector to include traditional areas such as factory automation, motor drives, lighting, building automation, test & measurement and power & energy, as well as medical electronics and industrial transportation; the aerospace ...

Fable: The CEO Who Started Late

Silicon Valley start-ups are a young man’s game (unless you’re a VC) but one famous company founder started his first company at the ripe old age of 61. The company was based on an entirely new semiconductor product category which had been invented by a Zilog engineer while moonlighting at LSI Logic. He grew the company to over $1 billion ...

Californian Delusion

There’s something a bit repetitive about Intel and telecoms. At the turn of the century it spent $10 billion buying up telecoms companies in an attempt to get into the market. It failed to have much impact. Now, it seems, it has spent another $10 billion trying to get into wireless telecoms and has failed again. The wicked thought occurs ...

German Government Starts Electric Car Push

This month Germany’s electric car subsidy programme kicks off. The project gives subsidies to people buying electric cars and contributes to the installation of charging sites. Baader Bank reckons that the growth in electric and hybrid car manufacturing will add $300 million to the automotive IC TAM by 2019 with the main beneficiary being, of course, Infineon. The German government ...

Ten Smartest US Presidents

Thanks for this one to US engineer Libb Thims, an expert in compiling IQs, who assessed the ten smartest US Presidents: John Adams. 173 Thomas Jefferson 160 J.F.Kennedy 158 Bill Clinton 156 James Madison 155 Jimmy Carter153 Woodrow Wilson 152 Theodore Roosevelt 149 James Garfield 148 Chester Arthur 148

Rifle aimed at Snapdragon

Next week, Xiaomi is expected to announce its own ARM-based mobile processor called Rifle. Rifle is the answer to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor line but is not expected to be a rival to the upper echelons of the Snapdragon line-up. Not for a while anyway. The initial Rifle is expected to be targeted at the mid and low end of the ...

Radioactive Waste Converted Into Glass

A method of storing highly radioactive waste by converting it into an insoluble glass-like solid has been announced by the UKAEA. So, 55 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of April 12th 1961 Development work is being done by scientists and engineers of the Chemical Engineering Division at the Harwell Research Establishment. A pilot plant to handle ...

Intel’s Mobile Dilemma

Has Intel given up on mobile processors? It’s long been urged by Wall Street that it should. This time last year J P Morgan said mobile processors were a “money pit” for Intel while Morgan Stanley said intel needed $8-10 billion of mobile revenues to break even which “seems unachievable.” Morgan Stanley estimated Intel’s mobile opex at $3.7 billion on ...

The Knock On The Door

Another blow to the IoT is the US Supreme court’s decision that the police can search, via the internet, any computer within US jurisdiction. It is probably only a matter of time before our government passes a similar law. And, of course, the definition of what is within a country’s jurisdiction can be extended pretty widely. So anyone, anywhere in ...

Tsinghua rebuffed again

Poor old Tsinghua has had another investment bid rejected – this time by the Taiwan assembly house SPIL (Siliconware Precision Industries). Tsinghua had offered to buy 25% of SPIL for $600 million. The sale to Tsinghua would have thwarted a bid by fellow Taiwanese assembly company ASE to take over SPIL. The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission is currently considering two ...

The ST Hornet’s Nest

There was an interesting question at the ST results meeting earlier this week: “There was recently a Bloomberg report regarding the contract of the CEO,” asked an analyst, “if – I think your contract is expiring somewhere in May – and there were rumors – STM a new CEO. Any comments there or did I miss here something?” The last ...

Fable: The Company Which Took Too Long

24 years ago a company set up to make a roll-up OLED screen. Two private equity firms, Hilman and Kelso, in vested $133 million. Intel and others put in VC money. Philips and Uniax bought licences. Twelve years after founding, in 2004, it had an IPO on the NASDAQ which valued the company at $230 million. But, three years later, ...

Rewards

How many people ever get to say: “Revenue for the quarter was $50.6 billion, which was within our guidance range.” The CEOs of a handful of oil companies, the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Samsung, Toyota and, until recently, VW and Warren Buffett – and that’s about it. But these particular words reflectd disappointment – Q1 2015 sales had been $58 billion. ...

TSMC Dwarfs Foundry Rivals

Apple drove the entire foundry sales increase at TSMC in 2015, says IC Insights. Without Apple, TSMC’s 2015 foundry sales would have dropped by 2% as compared to a 6% increase. The top 13 IC foundries (pure-play and IDM) by foundry sales in 2015 were as follows: TSMC, by far, was the leader in foundry with $26.4 billion in sales ...

Top 10 Emerging Technologies 2016

Thanks to the MIT Technology Review for this one – the 10 emerging technologies which had the most significant breakthroughs last year or which are on the verge of them: Immune Engineering Precise Gene Editing In Plants Conversational Interfaces Re-Usable Rockets Robots that teach eachother DNA App Store SolarCity’s Gigafactory Slack Tesla Autopilot Power from the Air

Here’s Trouble

Here’s trouble: a hovering, tracking drone with a 13MP forward-looking camera and a 3MP downward-looking camera. Beijing start-up Zero Zero Robotics has raised $25 million to mass-manufacture a drone called The Hover Camera. It can hover or follow someone, or something, around. Zero Zero’s founders are two Stanford PhD graduates who raised an initial $1.7 million in angel funding within ...

Pocket Radios Will Soon be As Common As Wrist-Watches

Your correspondent A. R. Hobden, who alleges that “there is now a large section of the population unable to receive medium -wave transmissions which the local stations are intending using during daylight hours,” need not worry, for pocket medium-wave receivers will soon be as common as wrist watches.” So, 55 years ago started a letter in Electronics Weekly’s edition of ...

Productivity Gains Run Out Of Steam

There’s a kind of a worry going around that productivity has declined and the intriguing thing about it is that no one knows why. UK productivity, the value of the output produced per hour worked – rose at 2.2% a year for decades before the recession. Since the recession the growth rate has been 0.5%. It’s not just the UK, ...