MediaTek brought out its Helio P90 mobile processor, a system-on-a-chip device for smartphones, which it expects will appeal to Chinese manufacturers of midrange phones. The SoC doesn't quite match the capabilities of Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 855 platform, but it could give the American company more competition among cost-conscious original equipment manufacturers.
Machine learning and other technologies meant to improve the accurate performance of systems are often costly to implement, causing designers to decide how much accuracy must be built in, this analysis notes. Magdy Abadir of Helic says, "If you are able to do bigger things without losing too much accuracy, then your results are usable."
Worldwide sales of semiconductor production equipment will likely increase 9.7% this year to $62.1 billion, compared with 2017, before declining 4% in 2019 to $59.6 billion, SEMI says. The IC equipment market will then rebound in 2020, increasing 20.7% to a record of $71.9 billion, the trade group predicts.
Cisco Systems is negotiating to acquire Luxtera, a supplier of optical microchips, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The acquisition talks are not complete, and Cisco is said to have topped competing bids by Intel and Broadcom, one source says.
The adoption of the 5G New Radio standard addresses questions about the next generation of cellular communications for the wireless network community, Ken Karnofsky of MathWorks writes. He adds, "Compared to 4G, 5G will use different kinds of antennas, operate on different radio spectrum frequencies, connect many more devices to the internet, minimize delays, and deliver ultra-fast speeds."
Mobility as a service will be a more common theme in the development of electric vehicles and automated driving next year, according to GaN Systems, a vendor of gallium nitride-based power management devices. The company also predicts the implementation of 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain and internet of things technology will have a significant impact on power supplies in data centers, among other trends.
Progress is being made in the development of gate-all-around transistor technology through nanosheets and vertically stacked nanowires for the 3-nanometer process node, according to imec. "Gate-all-around nanowire transistors are promising candidates to replace FinFETs for nodes beyond N5, and this without too much disruption," says imec's Naoto Horiguchi.
Three industry experts talk about the increasing use of open-source hardware and its implications for improving security in this roundtable interview. Helena Handschuh of Rambus says, "With open source, you have the opportunity to review it and come up with comments, feed it back to the community, and as a group you can advance maybe not faster but better."
Intel provided details of its spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random-access memory technology at last week's International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco, saying the nonvolatile memory is "production-ready" for its 22FFL process. Samsung Electronics unveiled its STT-MRAM, which it will fabricate with a 28-nanometer fully depleted silicon-on-insulator platform.
MediaTek posted November consolidated revenues of $604.2 million, down 10.4% from October, while consolidated sales for the first 11 months of the year were off by 1.3% from a year ago. Taiwan-based firms providing backend services report orders from MediaTek are down about 10% in the fourth quarter, compared with the third quarter, although those backend houses expect to see their MediaTek-related business rebound next month, industry sources say.