The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

February - 2011 - issue > Buyers Perspective

Embedding Intelligence Into Everyday

Hari Anil
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Hari Anil
With recession finally giving way to economy revival, what is the outlook for the semiconductor industry?
In 2009, every industry including especially the semiconductor faced stiff challenges A huge respite came the governments that injected large sums to fuel the demand during the second half of 2009. In U.S. there was the “cash for clunker” program by Obama government under which General Motors received a huge investment to revive automobile industry. Due to this, the U.S. the car sale was almost up by 30 percent. Similalry, the Chinese government invested a lot of money in second half of 2009 to roll out their own 3G standard called TDS-CDMA. There was $20 billion worth of capital expense done by China Telecom and China Unicom to buy that new generation network, so that telecom things started moving by the end of last year beginning of this year. Since Indian semiconductor industry is not much export oriented, it revived as the industry stabilized globally. Even though some pockets of Europe continue to struggle, generally Europe was a market is back to the road. Currently the semiconductor industry is up by 25 – 35 percent this year globally.

The consumer market is witnessing a sudden spurge with the Notepads, Netbooks, Tablets, Smartphones, 3D HDTVs and more. Where does Freescale position itself?
Freescale does not play purely in the HDTV market though we do have peripheral components for the next generation remotes of the LED or 3D TVs. Philips, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation and Panasonic have joined forces to develop a standardized specification for radio frequency-based remote controls for audio visual consumer electronics devices. Working with Freescale Semiconductors, OKI and Texas Instruments, the seven companies have formed the RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) Consortium to create a new protocol that will enable the development of radio frequency remote controls that deliver richer communication, increased reliability and more flexible use.

Tablets are an area of heavy interest to us and that is where our partnership with ARM comes into the picture. ARM is positioning one of their high end processor as alternate to X86 platform for the tablet market and while we build several of our chips based on their architecture, we have done a lot of IP in it too. We made two chips called i.mx 51 and i.mx 53, these will allow videos to be played in the tablet’s hardware without the support of any additional software and the chip requires very low power. So once the tablet is charged it runs anywhere from 8 – 10 hours depending on what you are doing. It also brings down the booting time of the Android or Linux run tabletsto less than 25 seconds. Next year several tablets with Freescale chips are expected to be launched globally and a global top brand is building a tablet for Indian market with us.

While we worked in the 3G modem space earlier, we exited the business in 2008. At present our focus is on the Smartphone segment. Many smartphones use an additional ARM processor which runs all the operating systems, the fancy graphics and more. Our chips are currently being used in some of the models of BlackBerry and Motorola. There is a huge smart phone industry based in China and we are working with several Chinese vendors. Most smartphones today have a motion sensor which allows you to change a picture from landscape to portrait mode or if it is a game, the actions are based on the motions one makes such as shaking it to throw a dice and so on. Very few companies develop this and the one we do is the 3D accelerometer sensor.

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