What's new at the quiet giant of the analog world?
Maxim Integrated Circuits opened its events hall in Sunnyvale today for its first-ever editors and analysts briefing. Way overdue but there's no time like the present, and, as it turns out, the day's presentations were an eye-popping array of cool analog technologies that exist or are coming down the pike.
12:30p.m. PDT: Pre-event lunch. Old home week. John Donovan, John Blyler, Pallab, Paul Rako, Will Strauss, Jim Feldhan. Great to see everyone!
12:50: CEO Tunc Doluca takes the stage. Maxim cranks an average of a product a day every year, pouring 24% of every revenue dollar back into R&D to make it happen. (Other semiconductor vendors, please take note).
Doluca said the company has scrunched product development times in recent years 20 years, embraced new EDA tools and built a 0.18 nm BCD process for its products. Patent applications are up 50 % in the past two years.
Market share breakdown (with upside to come, Doluca said):
Maxim eyes growth in these areas:
Hunger for features
1:20: Kourosh Boutorabi, on the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) market:
As the ami market matures, you need to compete on cost. Economy becomes more important once that market becomes more mature.
Maxim will unveil its fourth-generation platform for smart meters in November. Approach will help eliminate current transformers now used in systems, reduce expensive copper use, shrink the enclosure, save power and resist tampering.
1:45: Maxim will begin sampling at the end of October an interesting power-line communications chipset for the smart grid, according to Bart DeCanne. The G3-PLC (the MAX2992), a 26-million transistor device, is designed to enable utilities to save millions on repeaters and concentrators. It's the industry's first globally compliant narrowband PLC chipset, he added.
"Gone are the days when Maxim was doing small analog jellybean parts," DeCanne said.
Combines PHY and MAC controller
Max effective data rate: >298 Kbps @10-490 kHz
Supports 2 UARTs and 2 SPI interfaces
Dynamic link adaptation to select optimum data rate based on channel condition
64-pin LQFP Package (10mmx10mm)
Operating temp: -40 to +85 C
2:15: Very cool existing product shout-out, courtesy of Seckin Ozdamar: The MAX9635 ambient light sensor with 22-bit ADC.
Operating current? 0.6uA (no typo). As such, the device is constantly calculating lux and there's no need to shut down the device. Here's a link to the datasheet.
Man, nice work, folks.
2:30: Coffee break. My EE Times colleague Mark Lapedus said we're grappling with a fire hose of information here. Indeed!
2:45: We're back and so is William Chu (pictured below), describing wireless HDMI solutions.
3:30: Brian Hedayati on the challenge of fuel gauging:
To measure battery capacity you need to measure flow. But problem is flow meters have offset errors. They can give you wrong information over time. Measuring voltage is not entirely accurate either. Battery characteristics change over time.
“Empty” is a moving target depending on load or temperature.
Maxim will roll out in its Q4 (next year) ModelGauge m3 that combines the company’s ModelGauge algorithm technology with a Coulomb counter.
Thanks for covering this while I was away--great update. And it once again shows that "analog" is much more interesting and versatile than "digital", and analog companies have much better application stories to tell!--Bill Schweber