MagnaChip Semiconductor launched a multichannel miniature light-emitting diode driver for use in digital signs. The Mini LED Driver chip is said to be capable of concurrently driving 36-channel LEDs.
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology report resorting to a doughnut-shaped active material within a lithium-sulfur battery that could prove to be an effective alternative to lithium-ion batteries, with higher energy density and lower production costs. The team turned to lithium-sulfide cathodes and graphite anodes to make the lithium-sulfur batteries more practical.
Cadence Design Systems brought out the Tensilica DNA 100 Processor IP, intellectual property for chip designs going into artificial intelligence applications, such as advanced driver-assistance systems, augmented/virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, drones, the internet of things, robotics, smart homes, smartphones and surveillance systems. The IP offers development of a deep neural-network accelerator for AI.
Artificial intelligence accelerators will be found in more than 30% of smartphones produced during the fourth quarter, Digitimes Research predicts. HiSilicon's Kirin 980 and Apple's A12 Bionic application processors are said to be among the vanguard of chips that will draw on AI accelerators.
While China's national government is hoping that the country's semiconductor industry will be less reliant on imported microchips and the foreign machinery to make them five years from now, executives of Tsinghua Unigroup are taking a longer-term view. "It (will) take more than 20 years for China to establish a complete chip industry system," says Diao Shi, co-president of the chip company.
Variation in advanced process nodes is creating reliability challenges in multiple chip applications, including artificial intelligence and automotive electronics, this analysis notes. "There are a huge number of different ways that variation can be introduced," says David Fried, chief technology officer of Coventor.
Although the DRAM market remains robust while prices droop for 3D NAND flash memory, there is one aspect that is different now in DRAMs -- Micron Technology, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are the only significant suppliers remaining. "We believe the industry going forward is going to be a lot more stable than it has ever been in the past, and that is a function of the consolidation," Micron's Sumit Sadana said.
Alibaba Group established Pingtouge Semiconductor Co., a subsidiary that will design custom chips for artificial intelligence applications and embedded processors. In the latter half of 2019, Alibaba plans to launch the AliNPU AI chip, which could be used in autonomous driving, smart logistics and smart cities.
Toshiba Memory CEO Yasuo Naruke brushed off questions about falling prices for memories, saying, "Prices fluctuate in the short term to reflect the demand-supply balance." He reiterated that the company plans to have an initial public offering in two to three years.
The escalating trade war between China and the US is causing some Taiwanese manufacturers to pull back production from plants in China, says TH Tung, chairman of Pegatron. His company has acquired facilities in Taiwan to expand its manufacturing services, although Taiwan presents a number of resource challenges, such as electrical power, land and water, along with workforce issues, he acknowledges.