Smartwatch Horse Race to Begin on Friday: The Apple v. Samsung battle expands

shutterstock 202426702 (230x230)Since both Samsung and Apple's public announcements and Samsung's release of their respective smartwatch strategies, the media has been awash with discussion about whether these devices will be flops or major CE hits. Until the numbers actually come in, all we can add is more speculation, but let's look at what's been successful in the market thus far and where IoT is taking us.

Read more: Smartwatch Horse Race to Begin on Friday: The Apple v. Samsung battle expands

 

Chipmaker Consolidations Continue with Intel & Altera on the Heels of NXP & Freescale

intel bldgRecent news of major chipmaker consolidations should dispel any doubt about the expanding and shifting nature of the semiconductor and electronics industry. On the heels of the news of NXP's moves to acquire Freescale, valued at roughly US $16.7 billion, we now have, at the end of March, the news that Intel is moving to acquire Altera, valued at US $10.5 billion. These two March deals follow the earlier news of Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion, Lattice Semiconductor and Silicon Image, Qualcomm and CSR, as well as Infineon and International Rectifier, among others in 2014. Importantly, as Bloomberg also comments, these strategic acquisitions will propel more moves by other chipmakers to ensure their market positions and capabilities through acquisitions this year.

Read more: Chipmaker Consolidations Continue with Intel & Altera on the Heels of NXP & Freescale

 

TSMC and Samsung - Capacity constraints and node challenges affecting chip manufacturing and supply

shutterstock 126952610 (230x153)Supply and demand is the constant balance that we watch. Sitting where we do along the global supply chain, as distributors, puts us squarely in the middle of this challenge. As a result, we are keenly aware of when the (unfortunately inevitable) mismatch in supply/demand happens. Presently, we see increased challenges  now as nodes continue to shrink, as mobile chip solutions become more complex and require more steps in manufacturing, and as Industrial IoT (IIoT), which includes automotive, continues to quickly ramp up and demand older process nodes. Each of these events are adding constraints to an already tightening supply due to the reduction in the number of fabs and complexities in chip manufacturing processes. A recent article in Semiconductor Engineering explains these challenges very well. One of the outcomes of the growing manufacturing processes that we see are pricing fluctuations, additional supply constraints and shortages, and challenges to come due to interoperability issues that will lead to constraints down the road.

Read more: TSMC and Samsung - Capacity constraints and node challenges affecting chip manufacturing and supply

   

3D NAND Quickly Moving Through Adolescence

construction1Q15 is quickly coming to a close and it is hard to believe there are only nine months left in 2015. Keeping pace with the speed of this year is the continual progress of the 3D NAND flash sector. We all know that Samsung led the way as the first company to begin mass production of the new 3D chips. Micron is finally jumping in this month with the announcement  of their first 3D samples coming soon. Together with Intel, Micron is planning to offer commercial production of their chips in 2H15 using a newly-expanded NAND fab in Singapore. The new space will allow for gradual expansion depending on market feedback plus opportunities to manufacture other memory and storage products.

Read more: 3D NAND Quickly Moving Through Adolescence

 

SXSW 2015 and Electronica China: Strong momentum driven by innovation & competition

electronica china 2This week closes two innovative trade shows for the industry: South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas and Electronica China 2015 in Shanghai, China. While these are very different events that Smith & Associates' teams have attended, they highlight an important and central characteristic of the 2015 year to date: innovation and competition that are driving interest in the semiconductor and electronics industry are exceptionally strong and growing. From these events, our local teams have reported back on the number of new markets that are gaining momentum and with them the need for increased services along with new supply chain connections that are required to support innovation and improve margins in an ever-increasing competitive arena.

Read more: SXSW 2015 and Electronica China: Strong momentum driven by innovation & competition

   

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