BENGALURU, India A strong holiday season in the U.S. and Europe and strong sales around the Chinese New Year will go a long way toward determining whether oversupplies of DRAM and logic chips are reduced and the global chip industry has a better 2008, a company executive said.
If not, said Mike Splinter, president and CEO, Applied Materials Inc., 2008 does not look like a strong year for the semiconductor industry.
Capital expenditure spending on semiconductor equipment during 2007 was between 0 and 5 percent, while semiconductor revenue growth will end up between 5 to 10 percent.
"This year has not been a boom year for the semiconductor industry," Splinter said here. "This was not because there was no good increase in sales, but because of the heavy pressures on pricing. Roughly, DRAM prices fell by as much as 80 percent while logic prices fell by 50 percent."
Splinter predicted that flash memory will be the key future chip application, noting that flash sales have grown by 200 percent in the last two years as the technology becomes cheaper to integrate into a range of electronics.
"Flash is changing the form factor of everything it touches, and is increasingly driving hard-disk drives to applications of higher density," he added.
Video appears to be the next big consumer electronics technology driver, Splinter predicted. Still, the electronics industry must still overcome problems such as small screen size while deploying WiMax technology. Mobile video won't take off until until product designers figure out how to combine flash memory and WiMax, Splinter said.