SAN FRANCISCO -- The era of PC-driven semiconductor growth is fading and digital communications have taken over as the prime force fueling industry expansion, according to the president of Texas Instruments' Semiconductor Group.
Speaking at the Hambrecht & Quist Technical Conference here in San Francisco, TI executive vice president Richard Templeton said digital connections for both wireless and network solutions are placing greater importance on digital signal processing and analog chip technologies. Dallas-based TI (company profile) is on a well-publicized campaign to shift much of its chip business to DSP and related mixed-signal/analog solutions.
"That's great news for TI, because we are the world leaders in both of these DSP and analog semiconductor components," Templeton said.
"For the past two years, growth in the communications industry has surpassed that of personal computers," he said. "That trend is continuing so far this year."
TI said it believes total semiconductor revenues will grow only 5 percent in 1998, but it also is forecasting a 30 percent increase in sales of DSP and 20 percent growth in mixed-signal analog shipments worldwide. Templeton said much of this stronger growth will be driven by wireless and networking applications.
Templeton said sales of digital cellular telephones outpaces shipments of PCs for the first time in 1997. He added that more than 86 million digital phones were sold last year. TI said it expects to see this strong growth continue in 1998 with shipments of digital cellular phones increasing 45 percent to 125 million units this year.