Advanced packaging technologies, such as 2.5D, 3D, fan-out and system-in-package, are seen continuing to advance in adoption during 2019, although trade tensions between China and the US have some IC packaging firms rethinking their investments in Chinese facilities, Mark LaPedus writes. Santosh Kumar, principal analyst at Yole Developpement, sees a packaging market slowdown for 2019, happening throughout the course of the year.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will construct an 8-inch wafer fabrication facility in Tainan, Taiwan, to address demand for mature and specialty technologies. The foundry hasn't built an 8-inch fab in around 15 years, yet the world market has been clamoring for more 8-inch production capacity to make chips with older processes.
The Samsung Group promoted 158 executives in preparation for 2019, down from 221 promotions a year ago. Among the senior ranks of management, the company promoted Kim Ki-nam, CEO of Samsung's device solutions division and chairman of the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, to vice chairman of the conglomerate, while Roh Tae-moon, executive vice president and head of R&D at the mobile communications business, was promoted to president of the smartphone unit.
Broadcom reported fiscal fourth quarter and full-year results that topped analyst estimates for the period, while forecasting revenue of $24.5 billion for the current fiscal year, including CA Technologies, the software company acquired last month. Broadcom's wireless communications business saw its quarterly revenue fall 5% from a year earlier to $1.7 billion, reflecting what CEO Hock Tan called a "downtick" in wireless chip orders from Apple and other customers.
Samsung Display is planning to convert its L8-1 fabrication facility, which makes 8.5G LCDs, to production of quantum-dot organic light-emitting diode panels during 2019, industry sources say. The L8-1 fab has a production capacity of 200,000 substrates per month and could likely produce 160,000 to 180,000 substrates each month for QD-OLED panels, those sources note.
Qualcomm brought out its Snapdragon 855 processor, a system-on-a-chip device for 5G smartphones, while also introducing its Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform for Windows PCs. The company previously offered its Snapdragon 835 mobile processor for 2-in-1 laptops.
The implementation of 5G cellular communications during 2019 is not expected to create increased demand for radio-frequency devices and power amplifiers made with gallium arsenide, as power amplifiers will be largely working in the sub-6-gigahertz frequency band, industry sources say. Greater demand for compound semiconductors, such as GaAs and gallium nitride, is expected to happen on a long-term basis as the 5G rollout gains momentum, those sources note.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will likely devote 80% to 90% of its production capacity to making chips with 7-nanometer features during the first half of next year, creating a 7nm overcapacity issue as Apple, HiSilicon and Qualcomm reduce their orders for mobile phone chips, reports Chinese-language Commercial Times newspaper. Sales of smartphones are declining due to saturation in the market and higher prices for the latest models, the newspaper notes.
An international research team led by a group at the UK's University of Exeter used polypropylene fibers to make flexible graphene-based electronic fibers that can be used in textiles for wearable applications, such as health monitoring and medical diagnostics. The "smart textile" fibers are used to make touch-sensor and light-emitting diodes, offering wearable displays that don't need electrodes or wires.