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Xelerated's AX and HX family of network processor and programmable switches complements Marvell's existing product portfolio of packet processors, ARM-based SoCs, wireless and low-power physical layer devices. Both companies serve providers of infrastructure, data center and enterprise networking equipment.

IHS projects that global shipments of smart meters will triple during the same period, reaching 62 million units in 2016. The firm cited the capability of smart meters to save energy and to improve the efficiency of electrical grids for the growth projection.

Jacobo Carrasco Heres, industrial electronics research analyst for IHS, said through a statement that the original incentive for utilities to replace conventional meters with smart meters was energy savings. However, a more compelling incentive is the instrumentation of the grid,” Heres said. With the use of smart meters, utilities finally will have a well-mapped grid that will enable them to plan electrical generation and manage their resources more efficiently.”

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Logic ICs—mainly metrology ICs and communications ICs—stand to benefit the most from the growth of smart meters, IHS said. The next biggest opportunity is for microcomponents such as microcontrollers, digital signal processors and microprocessors, the firm said.

Smart meters also are making greater use of SoCs, which will integrate most of the functionality of the product into a single device, IHS said.

Although both smart meter shipments and the market for smart meter semiconductors will continue to expand in the coming years, revenue in both areas will flatten starting in 2015, according to IHS.

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The rollout of smart meters is being propelled by government support and regulations, IHS said. In the U.S., stimulus money from the Smart Grid Investment Grant program is driving the replacement of conventional meters with new smart models. Meanwhile, the European Union is targeting an 80 percent conversion to smart meters by 2020, representing shipments of 180 million units, IHS said.

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Despite these efforts and the rapid growth of smart meter shipments in the coming years, deployments actually are progressing more slowly than had been expected from a few years ago, according to IHS.

One factor slowing market growth is a lack of money, IHS said. Amid current economic conditions, investments in smart grids and smart meters are falling short of expectations in many cases, according to IHS.

A note from DRAMexchange said that Elpida has a total debt of about $6.26 billion and that 37.4 billion yen (about $485 million) of that debt is held by the Japanese government and is due to be repaid by the end of April 2012. Currently Elpida has cash of about 110 billion yen (about $1.43 billion), the note said.

The note added that rumors had been rife about Elpida; that it had been seeking a renewed bail-out from the Japanese government but also of Toshiba taking over the DRAM vendor. Elpida has been getting support from DRAM module partners Kingston Technology Company Inc. (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Powertech Technology Inc. (Taipei, Taiwan), the report said.

DRAMexchange said that the Japanese government is eager to help negotiate a partnership between Toshiba and Elpida in the belief that a converged DRAM and NAND flash memory strategy will better target tablet computers and solid-state disc drives and mimic what the South Korean giants have done. Both Samsung and Hynix make both DRAM and flash memory.

In addition there is the possibility of allying a larger Japanese memory company with Micron Technology Inc., which is also struggling. Such an alliance would help with DRAM and NAND flash manufacture by keeping costs down and help the companies break into the mobile DRAM market, DRAMexchange said.

Elpida and Micron’s combined wafer start capacity would be 328,000 wafer starts per month, surpassing that of number two Korean maker Hynix.

Imagination Technologies confirmed that Qualcomm was licensing the display IP from its PowerVR portfolio.Several months back, Wall Street pundits were speculating that Qualcomm might be readying itself to make an investment in Imagination’s GPU solution for use with Windows 8 devices.

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