This is a roundup of news or activities in the past few days that may be of interest to people.
Semico Research says that the analog market totaled $40 billion revenue in 2012 and is expected to experience a 9.5% dollar and a 6.4% unit growth for 2013. Growth in is two main areas. As the popularity of mobile electronic devices continues, analog power management chips continue to advance, improve performance and find new applications. Secondly, the world is still analog. Analog devices are required to interface with the real world as electronics move more deeply into retail operations, automobiles, the home and of course, the Internet of Things. Connectivity everywhere and all the time is finally becoming a reality and is the catalyst for continued analog market growth through the forecast period.
DesignCon 2013, which will take place January 28-31 in Santa Clara, Calif., will feature three visionary keynotes, two live teardowns conducted by the hardware repair wizards of iFixit and more than 120 in-depth tutorials, technical paper sessions, training sessions and panel discussions all customized for the chip, board and systems design communities. The 14-track DesignCon conference program addresses the pervasive nature of signal integrity at all levels of electronic design. Featuring more than 130 exhibitors, an educational forum sponsored by Agilent Technologies and the ever-popular Chiphead Theater, which will host two live product teardowns along with speed training demonstrations, panel discussions, the Best in Test Awards and DesignTOUR drawings, the DesignCon expo also features the in-depth and industry-specific content that adds to DesignCon’s reputation as the definitive annual event for the semiconductor and electronic design engineering communities.
IAR Systems has launched a new version of its development tools for Atmel AVR 8-bit microcontrollers. IAR Embedded Workbench for AVR, version 6.20, adds a new user-friendly text editor and source browser, new debugger functionality, and support for additional devices. The text editor facilitates coding through features such as code completion, parameter hints, code folding, block select and indent, bracket matching, zooming and word/paragraph navigation. The new and improved source browser simplifies project navigation New in the C-SPY® Debugger is support for attaching to a running target.
Cadence has introduced a new version of its functional verification platform and methodologies, which they claim, doubles the productivity of SoC verification over the previous release. Incisive® 12.2 delivers 2x performance, a new Incisive Debug Analyzer product, new low-power modeling, and hundreds of additional features needed to perform effective verification of today's complex intellectual property (IP) and SoCs. Other notable features include: an automated register validation app, simplified coverage data analysis, an enhanced low-power algorithm in the simulator that improves elaboration time and accurately models shutdown and recovery in low-power designs, an integrated digital-centric mixed-signal solution that uses real number models (RNM), and accelerated block and toggle coverage supported in Palladium XP.
Synopsys has announced a solution for FinFET-based semiconductor designs. The solution includes a range of DesignWare® Embedded Memory and Logic Library IP; silicon-proven design tools from the Galaxy™ Implementation Platform; and foundry-endorsed extraction, simulation and modeling tools. It also includes TCAD and mask synthesis products used by foundries for FinFET process development. The three-dimensional structure of FinFET devices represents a significant change in transistor manufacturing that impacts design implementation tools, manufacturing tools and design IP. Developed over a period of five years through engineering collaboration with leading foundries, research institutes and early adopters, Synopsys' FinFET solution delivers production-proven technologies to manage the change from planar to 3-D transistors.
Synopsys also announced that it has contributed the specification and definition of Python PCell (PyCell) API technology to the Interoperable PDK Libraries (IPL) Alliance. The contribution will benefit the custom design community by allowing IPL member companies to be directly involved in the evolution of the Interoperable Process Design Kit (iPDK) standard.
Faraday Technology and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) have announced that they have produced customer system-on-chip (SoC) ICs with a density of over 300 million gates. The 300 million gate-count IC was built on UMC’s volume production 40nm process. By comparison, a standard USB 3.0 IC controller chip has 12 million gates. The chip integrate over 100 types of IP into the design.
Worldwide microprocessor sales are expected to regain strength in 2013 and grow 12% to $65.3 billion after rising just 5% in 2012 to $58.2 billion due to weakness in standard personal computers and the shaky global economy, according to IC Insights’ 2013 edition of The McClean Report. Tablet processor sales are expected to grow 50% in 2013 to nearly $3.4 billion from about $2.3 billion in 2012, when revenues surged by 60%. Cellphone application processor sales are forecast to increase 28% in 2013 to $17.0 billion from $13.3 billion in 2012, when revenues climbed by 41%. In the larger mainstream MPU group—which includes x86 microprocessors for standard PCs, servers, and a variety of embedded processors, sales are forecast to rise 5% in 2013 to $44.9 billion from $42.6 billion in 2012, when this market category declined by 5%. This large MPU category will account for 69% of total microprocessor sales in 2013, while tablet processors are expected to represent 5% of the revenues, and cellphone application processors will be 26%.
Semiconductor revenue is projected to decline in the first quarter this year after chip inventory held by semiconductor suppliers reached record high levels near the end of 2012, according to an IHS iSuppli Semiconductor Inventory Insider market brief from information and analytics provider IHS. Overall semiconductor revenue is expected to be down 3 percent for the January to March period of 2013, on top of a decline of 0.7 percent during the fourth quarter last year. The pessimistic forecast follows after inventory reached exceedingly high levels by the end of the third quarter in 2012, amounting to 49.3 percent of revenue—more elevated than at any point since at least the first quarter of 2006.
Chip stockpiles among semiconductor suppliers had actually gone down during the final two quarters of 2011, showing a promising drawdown, but inventories steadily ticked up again after that, reaching 47.5 percent of total revenue in the second quarter before hitting the current peak in the third—the latest time for which full figures are available.
Lattice Semiconductor has announced an array of advancements to its software platforms, debuting new versions of Lattice Diamond® and iCEcube2™ design tools. The updated software features several advancements that improve power calculations and design productivity aimed at the creation of mobile and consumer, communication, and industrial systems that undergo fast design cycles, demand power efficiency, and have aggressive cost constraints. Features include a Power Calculator containing a matrix that displays the power consumption of each block and each power supply, and new algorithms speeding timing closure for multipass runs.
Mentor Graphics has a hardware emulation solution for ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor-based System-on-Chip (SoC) designs. This new solution, when connected to a Veloce(R) emulator, enables designers to test an embedded system containing ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processors, and accelerate their system-level verification to significantly increase their overall productivity. The new iSolve solution can be used with traditional in-circuit emulation (ICE) or high-performance transaction-based acceleration.
Carbon Design Systems has announced that it closed calendar year 2012, recording its sixth consecutive year of growth as more companies recognized the need for virtual prototypes with a path to accuracy. The growth can be attributed to 14 new customers, fueled by the adoption of Carbon Performance Analysis Kits (CPAKs), pre-built, easily extensible virtual prototypes introduced in May, and a $4 million investment from Samsung in September.Brian Bailey
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