Acconeer AB

<p>Customers appear to be responding. Lantronix Inc., a designer and manufacturer of network-device servers, integrates capacitors and resistors into every product it manufactures and has used SMD's AIR program for more than six years. The program works so well for Lantronix that it currently orders 90% of its capacitor and resistor reels from SMD, and plans to purchase connectors from the distributor as well.</p>

With all these companies, Mediatek has adopted an approach of providing full reference designs to speed them to market. The handset maker typically specifies the industrial design, perhaps the display and the amount of memory. Mediatek’s engineers handle the rest, including a lot of the work customizing Google Android for the particulars of the design.

New libraries will need to be developed, IP transitioned to the FinFET structures, test chips run, and production volumes ramped up. At 14-nm, complex chips will cost $200 million to $500 million to design, and re-spins will cost $20 million to $50 million. The cost of failure will increase dramatically.

What's more, 14-nm FinFETs are not likely to be in high-volume production outside of Intel until 2016 to 2017. High-volume production will require lower power consumption and lower cost per gate than earlier generations of technologies.

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After 14-nm, there will be a range of new challenges (EUV, 450-mm, carbon nanotubes, etc). The semiconductor industry must be realistic that the supply challenges are becoming more difficult, and there will be a lengthening of the time to migrate to smaller feature dimensions.

The supply chain, which includes tooling vendors, reticle vendors, foundry vendors, IC product design companies and electronics products vendors, needs to adjust.

Apple has already adjusted in that the only real enhancement to the iPad from a hardware perspective is higher-resolution display.

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With the capex cost of 10,000 wafers per month at $1 billion, the cost penalties for the wafer vendors will be very high if the appropriate adjustments are not made.

Handel Jones is the founder and CEO of market research and consulting firm International Business Strategies Inc.

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Everyone who knows me knows that I have several passions – things within the industry that I care about. One of those is startups. They are the lifeblood of our industry, the place where most of the innovation happens and where new methodologies incubate. Another passion is prototyping. I was going to write a book on this subject before Synopsys beat me to it last year, but I am going to be doing a book preview on that just momentarily.

Despite these natural industry trends, one segment of the high-tech industry has continued to grow unabated since its inception – computing?more specifically, personal computing platforms, which by my definition would include PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Personal computing encompasses those devices that allow users to capture, create, and manipulate data.

Other devices and platforms could be lumped in as well, but PCs, smartphones, and tablets have become critical to our lies as versatile computing, communication, productivity, and entertainment solutions. In 2011, shipments of these platforms were just shy of 1 billion units according to market research firm In-Stat, and shipments are forecasted to grow to approximately 2.2 billion units by 2016.

The computing segment has gone through short periods of slower growth or declines resulting from general economic conditions, but typically returns to double digit growth rates to post a doubling in size every 4 to 5 years on average.

Much like other industries, the growth of the computing segment has been influenced by many factors, including productivity gains through the use of computing, growth of data communications and content, new products and platforms, rapid price declines, broad growth tied to technology advancements, higher standards of living worldwide, and population growth as a whole are just a few of the many factors. The unit numbers become even more astounding when you consider the installed base of devices.

With average lifespans ranging from 2.5 to 5 years for these platforms, the installed base could easily reach over five billion devices by the end of 2016. Some research firms have even more optimistic forecasts with the number of smartphones alone exceeding 10 billion during the same period.

In layman’s terms, the researchers were trying to show the behavior one would expect from a logical gate (AND, OR, NOT), by using physical principles.

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