Medium-term, long-term goals
: Many in the semiconductor industry have talked about a “platform” business as a concept for many years. But I heard last week ST-Ericsson
CEO Gilles Delfassy saying that “many OEMs have begun changing their
from buying components [from several suppliers] to
pre-integrated ‘platform’ chips from a single source.” This trend has
become increasingly clear only in the last year or so, he said. Do you
: Yes. Absolutely. Our customers are no longer interested
in handpicking individual components. They tell us to bring the entire
platform solution including everything from modem to application
processor and connectivity chips, all thoroughly tested to work well as a
smart phone platform.
: I don’t see Renesas’ SH core in your application processor. Whatever happened to that?
: It’s invisible to people, but it’s still there. SH
functions as a multimedia controller – controlling graphics and
The operating system, however, runs on ARM. As long as our customers use
the SH core, we will leave it in there, but once it becomes
unnecessary, we’ll take it out.
: Where are you manufacturing your modem and application processor chips, and which geometry are you using?
: Our current modem chip and application processor are
both using a 45-nm CMOS process, which are manufactured in two places –
TSMC and Renesas’ Naka fab. (the Naka fab was damaged by the recent
Our new single-chip modem/application processor will be mass produced in 2012 at TSMC using a 28-nm process technology.
: What do you see as Renesas Mobile’s challenge – in the medium term?
: Right now, we’re getting a lot of traction for our mobile SoCs.
We’re bombarded with requests. We also laid out our roadmap to 2013 to
our customers. Our challenge is all about execution – making sure to
develop products according to specs and on time.
: What about your long-term plans?
: Once our chips begin penetrating the mobile handset
market for LTE, we would like to contribute to the industry, by helping
to establish a new market where LTE chips get designed into a variety of
devices other than phones – connected to cloud services. Whether
machine to machine or client devices for the cloud services, we would
like to take a leadership role in the new era.
: Over the last six months, what have you learned from your Nokia colleagues?
: Nokia has brought to us both culture and infrastructure
that are truly global. Now at Renesas Mobile, you could have a boss in
Helsinki; and when you need help for your team, you don’t have to think
twice about getting someone from Bangalore.
They work together as a team remarkably well over such a diverse
geography and so many time zones. We have teams in Finland, Denmark, UK,
France, Germany, China, India, Taiwan and the United States, in
addition to Japan.
And obviously, most of our employees now need to be able to communicate in English.