<p>« Mon ambition est désormais de positionner Altis Semiconductor au centre d'un pôle microélectronique jouissant d'une résonance mondiale et bénéficiant des travaux de notre nouveau centre de recherche et développement. C'est ce qui nous permettra d'être les premiers à commercialiser des technologies innovantes telles que les MRAM », explique Elke Eckstein.</p>

There are just too many market segments, and with complexity will still come confusion. Incredibly, there's often not even agreement on placing a point-of-load converter right at the load to maximize efficiency, which is supposedly the reason for the POL's existence. All of this means varying bus voltages, new sublevel power bus architectures, more bus designs hugging the 3.3- and 5-volt regions, and step-up converter topologies driven from those lower bus voltages to power systems, just to name a few.

But other suppliers are experiencing an inventory buildup.

The first quarter of 2003 saw a slight pickup, but that seems to have slowed in the latter half of the second quarter,” said Brandon Ogilvie, manager of the marketing and e-business group at SaRonix LLC, Menlo Park, Calif. The inventory is expected to burn off over the next quarter, with the fourth quarter exhibiting an upturn similar to the first quarter of this year.”

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Another part of the picture is a supplier shakeout that some say is not likely to subside soon.

In May, AVX/Kyocera announced it would acquire a 100% share of rival Kinseki Ltd. (KSS) in a stock swap. The merged companies will have combined revenue of $397 million, surpassing Epson Co. Ltd. as the second-largest supplier behind leader NDK Co. Ltd., according to iSuppli.

Smyser said the combined company will become the largest supplier of TCXO oscillators for mobile phones, capturing 32% of a sector valued at $523 million. AVX/Kyocera and KSS are the second- and fourth-largest suppliers of TCXO oscillators, respectively.

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Most mergers have involved smaller companies. For instance, Valpey-Fisher Corp. acquired MF Electronics in April.

We've seen some consolidation, but it's not been the dramatic variety that ultimately can reshape an entire industry,” said Allen Pangaro, business unit director of the Timing Products Business Unit at Epson Electronics America Inc., El Segundo. That's because most of the companies involved so far have not held a significant overall market share or position.”

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Many smaller vendors that resell crystals and oscillators from low-cost suppliers in China and Taiwan could be threatened as those companies establish direct sales and marketing operations in the United States, according to Smyser.

In the late 1990s, lots of companies entered the market as resellers, but they ended up with too many products and too much inventory. Resellers are not going to survive. You have to be a manufacturer with a broad portfolio and a global presence,” he said.

All of Altera's HardCopy devices are based on a universal base-array with the same architecture as their FPGA counterpart. Only the top two metal layers are customized to implement the customer's design. Architectural enhancements in HardCopy devices include shorter path routes, reduced die size, and the removal of the silicon overhead associated with FPGA programmability, resulting in a 60 to 70 percent die size reduction compared to the original Stratix FPGA device.

HardCopy Stratix devices are manufactured on the same reliable, state-of-the-art 0.13 µm CMOS process as Stratix FPGAs. In partnership with TSMC, the world's largest wafer foundry, Altera continues to be the only FPGA vendor to ship the most advanced, all-layer-copper, 0.13 µm products in volume.

Availability and Pricing

The HardCopy Stratix device family includes five members ranging in density from 25,660 to 79,040 LEs. All devices are available in FineLine BGA packages. Customer designs will be accepted starting in Q3. Pricing is a function of the package option, device performance, and volume. Future volume pricing will range from $25 to $120.

About Quartus II 3.0 Software


Everyone in the manufacturing community is asking, 'How do I get my Ethernet to talk to my device networks on the factory floor?' ” said Tom Bullock, president of Industrial Controls Consulting (Fond du Lac, Wis.). They know that the leading-edge technologies are the ones that will allow host computers in a facility to communicate with devices and machines on the factory floor, as well as customers and suppliers on the outside.”

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