Semiconductor Industry: An outlook for 2011
Date: Wednesday , February 09, 2011
How do you predict worldwide market demand trend in 2011 as compared to 2010?
Almost without exception, every analyst firm is predicating FPGA market growth for 2011 and beyond. IMS Research expects a gain over a billion dollars in annual revenues by 2014 and IBS, states that there will be higher growth than the total IC market through 2015 because of the steady enhancements in the complexity and functionality of FPGA solutions. We realized a 60 percent to 65 percent growth rate throughout last year, which far exceeded the projected growth of the overall semiconductor industry. All of our products grew significantly in terms of revenue in 2010 and following on from our success at 40 nm we expect to see continued growth.
Which applications or markets do you see opportunities in?
FPGA content continues to grow within the communications infrastructure, both wireline and wireless, to where we think we have a three- to five-year growth cycle simply because of the number of operators around the world that are deploying newer generations of equipment. Moving from 2G to 3G doubles content, moving to LTE from 2G triples content, and moving to LTE advanced, or 4.5G, increases content of 2G, by 4X. With every new box, there’s an increase in FPGA content. And with that increase from a unit perspective, as well as with the increase in the data rate, there are upgrades required to the backhaul networks with every new wireless infrastructure deployment.
There are major deployments taking place this year in China, India, and the U.S. Japan is also moving from 2G and 3G to LTE or the fourth generation. We see continued growth in the industrial, military, and automotive markets, both because of the increasing electronics content in these systems and because of the design win momentum we have in these markets. The 40-nm process node has been hugely successful for us. In the programmable logic business, we believe that the 40-nm node will continue to be the growth driver for the industry for the next several years. We are introducing 28nm, but the primary driver of that technology will be performance, not price savings.
Customers have already begun to adopt 28-nm in the communications, test, and military segments. These segments are pushing the technology and need the advanced features which are not available at 40 nm, predominantly the 25-Gbps transceivers and the performance they bring, the density of the FPGA fabric, and the significantly enhanced the DSP block capability. With our technology leadership in transceivers, power and performance, as well as software in terms of compile times, performance, and features, we see our product momentum continuing at 28 nm.
All totaled, we see a huge opportunity, approximately $30 billion. Even with a small fraction of that we see an opportunity of unparalleled growth in the coming years.
What will be the major technical challenges or marketing risks that you face?
Overcoming technical challenges and market risks are inherent to FPGAs. Products and systems have to be reliable, adaptable, and built to last. At the same time, business success requires you to both act quickly and drive down costs. With innovative programmable solutions becoming increasingly more at the heart of many applications, these challenges can be adapted to quickly as end-markets change, make cost-saving design reuse a standard part of the development process, and create products that are virtually obsolescence-proof.
FPGAs were developed to deliver high performance, reprogrammability, and interoperability—key capabilities for most design environments. These solutions work with a variety of intellectual property (IP) cores that enable support for standards.
Stephen McMinn is the VP Worldwide Channel Sales of Altera