Syntiant unveiled at CES 2021 the ultra-low-power NDP120 neural decision processor inference engine for applications in artificial intelligence hardware and deep learning. The AI chip is aimed at use in a variety of consumer electronics, including earbuds, home entertainment, laptops, security devices, smartphones and virtual assistants.
Cree brought out the Wolfspeed WolfPACK power modules with the 1200-volt Wolfspeed metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor technology. Based on silicon carbide chips, the modules are meant for use in electric vehicle fast chargers, industrial power and renewable energy/energy storage.
Advanced Micro Devices is directly selling its graphics cards during the first quarter at sticker prices, while Nvidia acknowledges that its shortfall in supplying consumers and partners with graphics processing units will continue through late April. Meanwhile, AMD debuted the Ryzen 5000 mobile processors, made with a 7-nanometer process, for gaming notebooks and Nvidia introduced the RTX 3060 graphics card for desktop PCs.
Volume production testing of silicon-based photonics chips is viewed as a work in progress. "In the silicon world, our customers like to test as early as possible to initially understand their devices and eventually avoid investing too much into devices that will never work," says Dan Rishavy of FormFactor.
Robust demand over the next two to three years for 5G chips, automotive devices, image sensors and mobile processors will provide a "semiconductor supercycle" for Samsung Electronics, analysts in South Korea are forecasting. The company is rolling out the Exynos 2100 mobile processor, which is expected to provide competition to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 chipset.
The open-source RISC-V instruction-set architecture for chip designs may break the industry dominance of Arm and Intel, while also helping China to get around US restrictions on doing business with US semiconductor companies, this analysis notes. "China wants to have its own architecture, but also an architecture where license fees won't have to be paid," says Handel Jones of International Business Strategies.
While the volume of electronic waste is declining in the US, it is still growing around the rest of the world, causing environmental damage, sustainability researchers Callie Babbitt and Shahana Althaf write. "In 2019 alone, people discarded 53 million metric tons of electronic waste," they note.
Qualcomm introduced the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, measuring 8 millimeters by 8mm. The second-generation device is larger and quicker than the original 3D Sonic Sensor, and it may be integrated into Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy S21 smartphone.