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The Dawn of the SoC 2.0 Era: The TSMC Perspective

From its companion post The Dawn of the SoC 2.0 Era: The ARM Perspective

futureICT - Cortex-A Roadmap Strategy -- April-2015

Source of the slide: ARM Cortex系列核心介绍 (Core ARM Cortex Series Introduction, 52RD, April 13, 2015)

Regarding TSMC itself the April 8 conclusion in TSMC Outlines 16nm, 10nm Plans article by EE|Times is:

“It’s not completely clear who is ahead at 16/14 but I think TSMC is making a major commitment to trying to be ahead at 10,” Jones said. “If that happens and TSMC has closed the gap with Intel, the issue is then if TSMC’s 10 and Intel’s 10 are the same,” he said.

Background from the April 14, 2015 TSMC Symposium: “10nm is Ready for Design Starts at This Moment” article in Cadence Communities Blog:

The 10nm semiconductor process node is no longer in the distant future – it is here today, according to presenters at the recent TSMC 2015 Technology Symposium in San Jose, California. TSMC executives noted that EDA tools have been certified, most of the IP is ready or close to ready, and risk production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Here are some more details about 10nm at TSMC as presented in talks by Dr. Cliff Hou, vice president of R&D at TSMC (right), and Dr. BJ Woo, vice president of business development at TSMC (below left). At the TSMC Symposium, speakers also introduced two new process nodes, 16HHC and 28HPC+ (see blog post here).

According to Woo, TSMC is not only keeping up with Moore’s Law – it is running ahead of the law with its 10FF offering. “We have done a lot more aggressive scaling than Moore’s Law demands for our 10nm technology,” she said. A case in point is the fully functional 256Mb SRAM with a cell size that is approximately 50% smaller than the 16FF+ cell size. She called this an “exceptional shrink ratio” that goes beyond traditional scaling.

And it’s not just SRAM. The 10FF node, Woo said, can scale key pitches by more than 70%. Combine that with innovative layout, and 10nm can achieve almost 50% die size scaling compared to 16FF+. “And this is very, very aggressive,” she said.

After noting that the 16FF+ already provides “clear performance leadership,” Woo said that 10FF offers a 22% performance gain over 16FF+ at the same power, or more than 40% power reduction at the same speed. This comparison is based on a TSMC internal ring oscillator benchmark circuit. For the Cortex-A57 test chip used to validate EDA tools, the result was a 19% speed increase at the same power, and a 38% power reduction at the same speed.

New features in 10FF include a unidirectional (1D) layout style and new local interconnect layer. These features help 10FF achieve a 2.1X logic density improvement over 16FF+, whereas normally TSMC gets about a 1.9X density boost for node migration, Woo said. In addition to the density improvement, the 1D Mx architecture can reduce CD (critical dimension) variation by 60%, she said.

And an already remarkable quote from April 12, 2015 TSMC Symposium: New Low-Power Process, Expanded R&D Will Drive Vast Innovation: TSMC Executive article in Cadence Communities Blog:

Hock Tan, CEO of Avago, described a symbiotic relationship between TSMC and his company that led to a super high-density switch for a networking customer, implemented in 16FF+. The switch has 96 ports, each running 100G Gbps, and drawing less than 2W each. That enables, in a next-generation data center, the tripling of a switch performance to more than 10 Tbps.

Moreover, according to the April 12, 2015 TSMC Symposium: New 16FFC and 28HPC+ Processes Target “Mainstream” Designers and Internet of Things (IoT) article from Cadence Communities Blog:

16FFC is a “compact” version of the 16nm FinFET+ (16FF+) process technology that is now in risk production at TSMC. It claims advantages in power, performance, and area compared to the existing 16FF+ process, along with easy migration from 16FF+. It can be used for ultra low-power IoT applications such as wearables, mobile, and consumer.

28HPC+ is an improved version of the 28HPC (High Performance Compact) process, which is itself a fairly recent development. Late last year 28HPC went into volume production, and it provides a 10% smaller die size and 30% power reduction compared to TSMC’s earlier 28LP process. 28HPC+ ups the ante by providing 15% faster speed at the same leakage, or 30-50% reduction in leakage at the same speed, compared to 28HPC.

TSMC also provided updates on other processes on its roadmap, which includes the following:

  • High Performance – 28HP, 28HPM, 20SoC, 16FF+
  • Mainstream – 28LP, 28HPC, 28HPC+, 16FFC
  • Ultra Low Power – 55ULP, 40ULP, 28ULP, 16FFC (16FFC is in both mainstream and low power categories)

In connection with that remember the September 29, 2014 announcement:
TSMC Launches Ultra-Low Power Technology Platform for IoT and Wearable Device Applications

TSMC (TWSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM) today announced the foundry segment’s first and most comprehensive ultra-low power technology platform aimed at a wide range of applications for the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable device markets that require a wide spectrum of technologies to best serve these diverse applications. In this platform, TSMC offers multiple processes to provide significant power reduction benefits for IoT and wearable products and a comprehensive design ecosystem to accelerate time-to-market for customers.

TSMC’s ultra-low power process lineup expands from the existing 0.18-micron extremely low leakage (0.18eLL) and 90-nanometer ultra low leakage (90uLL) nodes, and 16-nanometer FinFET technology, to new offerings of 55-nanometer ultra-low power (55ULP), 40ULP and 28ULP, which support processing speeds of up to 1.2GHz. The wide spectrum of ultra-low power processes from 0.18-micron to 16-nanometer FinFET is ideally suited for a variety of smart and power-efficient applications in the IoT and wearable device markets. Radio frequency and embedded Flash memory capabilities are also available in 0.18um to 40nm ultra-low power technologies, enabling system level integration for smaller form factors as well as facilitating wireless connections among IoT products.

Compared with their previous low power generations, TSMC’s ultra-low power processes can further reduce operating voltages by 20% to 30% to lower both active power and standby power consumption and enable significant increases in battery life — by 2X to 10X — when much smaller batteries are demanded in IoT/wearable applications.

“This is the first time in the industry that we offer a comprehensive platform to meet the demands and innovation for the versatile Internet of Things market where ultra-low power and ubiquitous connectivity are most critical,” said TSMC President and Co-CEO, Dr. Mark Liu. “Bringing such a wide spectrum of offerings to this emerging market demonstrates TSMC’s technology leadership and commitment to bring great value to our customers and enable design wins with competitive products.”

One valuable advantage offered by TSMC’s ultra-low power technology platform is that customers can leverage TSMC’s existing IP ecosystem through the Open Innovation Platform®. Designers can easily re-use IPs and libraries built on TSMC’s low-power processes for new ultra-low power designs to boost first-silicon success rates and to achieve fast time-to-market product introduction. Some early design engagements with customers using 55ULP, 40ULP and 28ULP nodes are scheduled in 2014 and risk productions are planned in 2015.

“TSMC’s new ultra-low power process technology not only reduces power for always-on devices, but enables the integration of radios and FLASH delivering a significant performance and efficiency gain for next-generation intelligent products,” said Dr. Dipesh Patel, executive vice president and general manager, physical design group, ARM. “Through a collaborative partnership that leverages the energy-efficient ARM® Cortex®-M and Cortex-A CPUs and TSMC’s new process technology platform, we can collectively deliver the ingredients for innovation that will drive the next wave of IoT, wearable, and other connected technologies.”

“Low power is the number one priority for Internet-of-Things and battery-operated mobile devices,” said Martin Lund, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the IP Group at Cadence. “TSMC’s new ULP technology platform coupled with Cadence’s low-power mixed-signal design flow and extensive IP portfolio will better meet the unique always-on, low-power requirements of IoT and other power sensitive devices worldwide.”

CSR has an unequalled reputation in Bluetooth technology and has been instrumental in its progression, including helping to write the Bluetooth Smart standard that is meeting the demands of today’s rapidly evolving consumer electronics market,” said Joep van Beurden, CEO at CSR. “For many years, CSR has closely collaborated with TSMC, and we are pleased to demonstrate the results of that collaboration with the adoption of the 40ULP platform for our next generation of Bluetooth Smart devices including products for markets like smart home, lighting and wearables that are enabling the growth of the Internet of Things. Our solutions simplify complex customer challenges and help speed their time to market by allowing them to design and deliver breakthrough low power wireless connected products on these powerful new platforms.”

“The imaging SoC solutions of Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited bring the best balance between high imaging quality and low power consumption, to meet the significant demand from our customers and the electronics market,” said Tom Miyake, Corporate Vice President, at System LSI Company of Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited. “We welcome that TSMC is adding the 28ULP technology to its successful 28nm platform. We believe this technology will provide our SoCs with the key feature: low power consumption at low cost.”

Nordic Semiconductor has been a pioneer and leader in ultra-low power wireless solutions since 2002, and with the launch of its nRF51 Series of Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) in 2012 the company established itself as a leading vendor of Bluetooth Smart wireless technology,” said Svenn-Tore Larsen, CEO of Nordic Semiconductor. “We have been collaborating closely with TSMC on the selection of process technology for our upcoming nRF52 Series of ultra-low power RF SoCs. I am happy to announce that we have selected the TSMC 55ULP platform. This process is a key enabler for us to push the envelope on power consumption, performance and level of integration of the nRF52 Series to meet the future requirements of Wearable and Internet of Things applications.”

“Built on TSMC’s Ultra-Low Power technology platform and comprehensive design ecosystem, Realtek’s Bluetooth Energy Efficient smart SoC, BEE, supports the latest Bluetooth 4.1 specification featuring Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and GATT-based profiles,” said Realtek Vice President and Spokesman, Yee-Wei Huang. “BEE’s power efficient architecture, low power RF, and embedded Flash are ideal both for the IoT and for wearable devices such as smart watches, sport wristbands, smart home automation, remote controls, beacon devices, and wireless charging devices.”

Silicon Labs welcomes TSMC’s ultra-low power initiative because it will enable a range of energy-friendly processing, sensing and connectivity technologies we are actively developing for the Internet of Things,” said Tyson Tuttle, Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Labs. “We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with TSMC to bring our solutions to market.”

“Synopsys is fully aligned with TSMC on providing designers with a broad portfolio of high-quality IP for TSMC’s ultra-low power process technology and the Internet of Things applications,” said John Koeter, Vice President of Marketing for IP and Prototyping at Synopsys. “Our wide range of silicon-proven DesignWare® interface, embedded memory, logic library, processor, analog and subsystem IP solutions are already optimized to help designers meet the power, energy and area requirements of wearable device SoCs, enabling them to quickly deliver products to the market.”

As well as the ARM and Cadence Expand Collaboration for IoT and Wearable Device Applications Targeting TSMC’s Ultra-Low Power Technology Platform announcement of Sept 29, 2015:

ARM® and Cadence® today announced an expanded collaboration for IoT and wearable devices targeting TSMC’s ultra-low power technology platform. The collaboration will enable the rapid development of IoT and wearable devices by optimizing the system integration of ARM IP and Cadence’s integrated flow for mixed-signal design and verification, and their leading low-power design and verification flow.

The partnership will deliver reference designs and physical design knowledge to integrate ARM Cortex® processors, ARM CoreLink™ system IP, and ARM Artisan® physical IP along with RF/analog/mixed-signal IP and embedded flash in the Virtuoso®-VDI Mixed-Signal Open Access integrated flow for the new TSMC process technology offerings of 55ULP, 40ULP and 28ULP.

“TSMC’s new ULP technology platform is an important development in addressing the IoT’s low-power requirements,” stated Nimish Modi, senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Cadence. “Cadence’s low-power expertise and leadership in mixed-signal design and verification form the most complete solution for implementing IoT applications. These flows, optimized for ARM’s Cortex-M processors including the new Cortex-M7, will enable designers to develop and deliver new and creative IoT applications that take maximum advantage of ULP technologies.”

“The reduction in leakage of TSMC’s new ULP technology platform combined with the proven power-efficiency of Cortex-M processors will enable a vast range of devices to operate in ultra energy-constrained environments,” said Richard York, vice president of embedded segment marketing, ARM. “Our collaboration with Cadence enables designers to continue developing the most innovative IoT devices in the market.”

This new collaboration builds on existing multi-year programs to optimize performance, power and area (PPA) via Cadence’s digital, mixed-signal and verification flows and complementary IP alongside ARM Cortex-A processors and ARM POP™ IP targeting TSMC 40nm, 28nm, and 16nm FinFET process technologies. Similarly, the companies have been optimizing the solution based around the Cortex-M processors in mixed-signal SoCs targeting TSMC 65/55nm and larger geometry nodes. The joint Cortex-M7 Reference Methodology for TSMC 40LP is the latest example of this collaboration.

For the above keep in mind The TSMC Grand Alliance [TSMC, Dec 3, 2013]:

The TSMC Grand Alliance is one of the most powerful force for innovation in the semiconductor industry, bringing together our customers, EDA partners, IP partners, and key equipment and materials suppliers at a new, higher level of collaboration.

The objectives of the TSMC Grand Alliance are straightforward: to help our customers, the alliance members and ourselves win business and stay competitive.

We know collaboration works. We have seen it in the great strides our customers and ecosystem members have made through the Open Innovation Platform® where today there are 5,000 qualified IP macros and over 100 EDA tools that supports our customers’ innovation and helps them attain maximum value from TSMC’s technology.

Today Open Innovation Platform is an unmatchable design ecosystem and a key part of the Grand Alliance that will prove much more powerful. Looking at R&D investment alone, we calculate that TSMC and ten of our customers invest more in R&D than the top two semiconductor IDMs combined.

Through the Grand Alliance TSMC will relentlessly pursue our mission and collaborate with customers and partners. We need each other to be competitive. We need each other to win. Such is the power of the Grand Alliance.

[Some more information is in the very end of this post]

A related overview in Kicking off #ARMWearablesWK with an analysts view of the market post of November 17, 2014 of ARM Connected Community blog by David Blaza:

Today as we kickoff ARM Wearables Week we hear from Shane Walker of IHS who is their Wearables and Medical market expert.

Shane’s take on this market is that it’s for real this time (there was a brief Smartwatch wave a few years ago) and will continue to be a hot growth sector through 2015. One of the great benefits of talking with analysts like Shane is they help you think through what’s going on and bust a few myths that may have found their way into our thinking. For example I asked Shane what the barriers to growth were and he carefully and patiently pointed out that Wearables are growing at a 21% CAGR already and will hit $12b in device sales this year (without services, more on that later in the week).  So this is not an emerging or promising market, it’s here and growing at an impressive rate. By 2019 Shane’s estimate is that it will hit $33.5b in device sales and services are increasingly going to factor into the wearables experience (Big Data is coming!).

Shane breaks the Wearables market down to 5 major categories:

  1. Healthcare and Medical
  2. Fitness and Wellness
  3. Infotainment
  4. Industrial
  5. Military

I’m glad he did this for me because wearables are incredibly diverse and this week you are going to see some category defying products here such as smart Jewelry where does that fit?

Below you can see a table chart that Shane was willing to share that shows his estimate for market size and units sold, the main learning for me is how much of this market is healthcare related. Also attached below are details on what services IHS offer in the Wearables market or you can find them here.

futureICT - World Market for Wearable Technology - Revenue by Application -- IHS-November-2014

attached is: Wearable Technology Intelligence Service 2014.pdf  [IHS Technology, November 17, 2014]

Note the following table in that:
futureICT - Wearable Technology Data Coverage Areas by IHS

More information:
– A Guide to the $32b Wearables Market [IHS Technology, March 11, 2015]
– which has a free to download whitepaper:
Wearable Technology: The Small Revolutions is Making Big Waves

Brief retrospective on the SoC 1.0 Era

futureICT - Shipments of TSMC Advanced Technologies Q1'2009 - Q1'2015

Detailed Background from TSMC’s quaterly calls

Q1 2015:

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO
[update on new technology]

The continuous demand of more functionality and integration in smartphones drives for more silicon content. We expect smartphones will continue to drive our growth in the next several years.

In the meantime, we see IoT appears us — present us new growth opportunities. The proliferation of IoT not only will bring us growth in the sensor, connectivity and advanced packaging areas, the associated application and services, such as big data analytics, will also further our growth in the computation space, including application processor, network processor, image processor, graphic processor, microcontroller and other various processors. That was the long-term outlook.

I’ll update some of our 10-nanometer development progress. Our 10-nanometer technology development is progressing well. Our technology qualification remains in Q4 this year.

Recently we have successfully achieved fully functional yields of our 256-megabit SRAM. Currently we have more than 10 customers fully engaged with us on 10-nanometer. We still expect to have 10-nanometer volume ramp in fourth quarter 2016 and to contribute billing in early 2017.

This technology adopts our third-generation FinFET transistor and have scaling more than one generation. Its price is fully justified by its value for various applications, including application processor, baseband SoC, network processor, CPU and graphic processors. Its cost and price ratio will comply to our structural profitability considerations.

As for new technology development at TSMC, I’d like to start with — to update you our 7-nanometer development. We have started our 7-nanometer technology development program early last year. We also have rolled out our 7-nanometer design and technology collaboration activity with several of our major customers. Our 7-nanometer technology developments today are well in progress.

TSMC’s 7-nanometer technology will leverage most of the tools used in 10-nanometer, in the meantime achieve a new generation of technology value to our customers. The 7-nanometer technology risk production date is targeted at early 2017.

Now I would like to give you an update on EUV. We have been making steady progress on EUV. Both our development tools, we have two NXE 3300 have been upgraded to the configuration of 80 watt of EUV power, with an average wafer throughput of a few hundred wafers per day. We continue to work with ASML to improve tool stability and availability. We also are working with ASML and our partners on developing the infrastructure of EUV, such as masks and resists.

Although today the process on record of both 10-nanometers and 7-nanometer are on immersion tools, with innovative multiple patterning techniques, we will continue to look for opportunity to further reduce the wafer cost and simplify the process flow by inserting EUV layer in the process.

Now I’d like to give you an update of our recently announced ultra-low-power technologies. We have offered the industry’s most comprehensive ultra-low-power technology portfolio, ranging from 55-nanometer ULP, 40-nanometer ULP, 28-nanometer ULP, to the recently announced 16 FFC, a compact version of 16 FinFET Plus, enable continual reduction of operating voltage and power consumption. Today more than 30 product tape-outs planned in 2015 from more than 25 customers.

This 55- and 40-nanometer ULP will be the most cost-effective solution for low- to mid-performance wearable and IoT devices. The 28 ULP and 16 FFC will be the most power-efficient solution for high-performance IoT applications. In particular, our 16 FFC offers the ultra-low-power operation at a supply voltage of 0.55 volts, with higher performance than all of the FD-SOI technologies marketed today.

Lastly I’ll give you an update of our recent IoT specialty technology development. We have developed the world’s first 1.0-micron pixel size 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor, with stacked image signal processor, which was announced in March by our customer for the next-generation smartphone. Secondly, we continue to drive the best low resistance in BCD [Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS for DC-to-DC converter: together with Ultra-High-Voltage (UHV) technology for AC-to-DC converter—are the key to enable monolithic integrated PMIC design] technology roadmap, from 0.18 micron to 0.13 micron and from 8-inch to 12-inch production for wireless charging and fast wired charging of mobile devices. We continue to extend our 0.13 BCD technology from consumer and industrial applications to automotive-grade electrical system control applications.

Lastly, recently we have started production in foundry’s first 40-nanometer industrial embedded Flash technology that was started from November last year. And this technology recently passed automotive-grade qualification, that was in March, for engine control applications.

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

I will update you the 28-nanometer, 20 and 16 FinFET status and also our InFO business.

First, 28-nanometer. This is the fifth year since TSMC’s 28-nanometer entered mass production. 28-nanometer has been a very large and successful node for us. Our market segment share at this node has held up well and is in the mid-70s this year. We expect this to continue in year 2016. In comparison, this is better than what we had in the 40-nanometer node.

The demand for 28-nanometer is expected to grow this year due to the growth of mid- and low-end smartphones and as well as the second-wave segment, such as radio frequency, circuit product and the Flash controllers that migrate into this node.

However, due to some customers’ inventory adjustments, which we believe is only going to be for the short term, the demand for 28-nanometer in the second quarter will be lower than our previous quarter, resulting in 28-nanometer capacity utilization rate to be in the high-80s range. But we expect the utilization rate of the 28-nanometer to recover soon and to be above 90% in the second half of this year.

While we are in the mass production, we also continue to improve the performance of our technology. Last year we have introduced our 28-HPC, which is a compact version of 28-HPM. For the purpose of helping 64-bit CPU conversion for mid- to low-end market, this year we further improved the 28-HPC to 28-HPC Plus. For comparison, 28-HPC Plus will have 18% power consumption — lower power consumption at the same speed or 15% faster speed at the same kind of power.

As for the competitive position, we are confident that we will continue to lead in performance and yield. So far we do not see there is a very much effective capacity in High K metal gate at 28-nanometer outside TSMC. And since we have already shipped more than 3m 12-inch 28-nanometer wafers, the learning curve has given us an absolute advantage in cost.

Now let me move to our 20 SoC. TSMC remains the sole solution provider in foundry industry for 20-nanometer process. Our yield has been consistently good after a very successful ramp last year. But recently we have observed customers’ planned schedule for product migration from 20 nanometer to 16 FinFET started sooner than we forecasted three months ago.

As a result, even we continue to grow 20-nanometer business in the second quarter of this year, our earlier forecast of 20-nanometer contributing above 20% of total wafer revenue this year has to be revised down by a few points to a level about the mid teens. That being the case, we still forecast the revenue from 20-nanometer will more than double that of year 2014’s level.

Now 16 FinFET. The schedule for 16 FinFET high-volume production remains unchanged. We will begin ramping in the third quarter this year. And the ramp rate appeared be faster than we forecasted three months ago, thanks to the excellent yield learning that we can leverage our 20-nanometer experience and also due to a faster migration from 20-nanometer to 16 FinFET.

In addition to good yield, our 16 FinFET device performance also met all products’ specs due to our very good transistor engineering. So we believe our 16 FinFET will be a very long-life node due to its good performance and the right cost. This is very similar to our 28-nanometer node.

We are highly confident that our 16 FinFET is very competitive. As we’ve said repeatedly, combining 20-nanometer and 16-nanometer, we will have the largest foundry share in year 2015. And if we only look at 16-nanometer alone, we still can say TSMC will have the largest 16- or 14-nanometer foundry share in year 2016.

Now let me move to our InFO business update. The schedule to ramp up the InFO in second quarter next year remains unchanged. We expect InFO will contribute more than $100m quarterly revenue by next year, fourth quarter next year, when it will be fully ramped.

Right now we are building a new facility in Longtan, that’s a city very near to Hsinchu, where our headquarters are, for ramping up InFO. Today a small product line is almost complete and it’s ready for early engineering experiment. This pilot line will be expanded to accommodate the high-volume ramp in year 2016.

Andrew Lu – Barclays – Analyst

… I think Mark presented at the Technology Symposium in San Jose mentioned that 16 FinFET versus competing technology is about 10% performance better. So can you elaborate what’s 10% performance better? If our die size is larger than our competitors, how can we get the 10% performance better?

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

In the conference we talked about 16 FinFET Plus. That is our second-generation FinFET transistor. In that we improved our transistor performance a great deal. According to our information, that transistor speed, talk about speed at fixed power, is higher than the competitor by 10%. That’s what I meant. …  Because of the transistor structure, transistor engineering.

Andrew Lu – Barclays – Analyst

Compared to competing — is the competing the current competitor’s solution or the next-generation competitor’s solution? For example, LPE versus LPP or something like that?
Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO
The fastest one. The fastest.
Andrew Lu – Barclays – Analyst
Their best one?
Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO
Yes.

Dan Heyler – BofA Merrill Lynch – Analyst

My second question is relating to 20-nanometer. Here you certainly have a lot of growth in 16, with customers taping out aggressively, especially next year. Given your high share at 28, how do you keep 28 full? You obviously have a lot of technology there. Customers will move forward.

So I’m wondering, could you elaborate on new areas that are actually creating new demand at 28, such that you can continue to grow 28 next year. And do you think you can grow? I think previously you said maybe hold it at current levels even with 16 growing. So just maybe revisit that question.

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

To answer the question, I think the high-end smartphone will move to 16 FinFET. However, the mid- to — and lower-end smartphones will stay in the 28-nanometer because that’s very cost effective. And mid- and low-end smartphone continues to grow significantly. So that will give a very strong demand on 28-nanometer. In addition, we still have a second-wave product, like RF and Flash controller, as I use as an example, move into 28-nanometer.

So summing it up, I think the 28-nanometer’s demand continue to grow while we move into the 16 FinFET for high-end smartphone.

Michael Chou – Deutsche Bank – Analyst

As Mark has highlighted your EUV program, Does that imply you may consider using EUV in the second stage of your 16-nanometer — 10-nanometer ramp-up, potentially in 2018 or 2019? 

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

Yes, we always look for opportunity to insert EUV in both 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer. The EUV technology provides not only some cost benefit, but also simplify the process. That means you can replace multiple layers with one layer that helps your yield improvement. So there’s opportunity both in quality and cost always exist so long as EUV’s productivity comes to the threshold point.

And in — as you noticed on 10-nanometer, our capacity build will largely done in 2016 and 2017. So 2018 will be inserted, if inserted, will be combined with some other tools upgrade, some tool upgrade to 7, for example, and replaced by the EUV tools. In that node it will not be a fresh capacity build with EUV at that time because that’s a little bit late in the schedule for the 10.

7-nanometer, of course it will be higher probability adopting EUV. And the benefit will be bigger because the 7-nanometer has a lot of multiple layers, quadruple, even multiple patterning layers, thus EUV can be more effective in reducing the cost and improve the yield, for example. So that’s our current status.

But today EUV is still in the engineering mode. The productivity, as you heard, will still have some gaps for practical insertion of the technology. So we’re still working on that, in that mode. And we have — although we have one-day performance up to 1,000 wafer per day, but I was talking about average still a few hundreds. And we need to get to more than 1,000 to consider a schedule to put it into the production.

Randy Abrams – Credit Suisse – Analyst

As you go to fourth quarter, how broad is the customer base? Is it a single key product or are you seeing broadening out of 16 FinFET as you ramp that in fourth quarter?

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

… As for the second half, we think, first of all, the inventory adjustment will largely complete towards the end of second quarter.

We think the end market of smartphone is still healthy growth this year. Therefore the second half will resume the growth. And, more importantly, our 16 FinFET technology will start to ramp in the second half. So that will contribute a lot of growth, more than the 20-nanometer shipment reduction. So those two factors.

Roland Shu – Citigroup – Analyst

My first question is on given the fast ramp of 16-nanometer, so are we going to see meaningful revenue contribution for 16 in 3Q?

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

We ramp up in third quarter this year, but it’s many layers of process, plus about one month is back-end. So in 3Q we expect just the revenue just very minimum.

Bill Lu – Morgan Stanley – Analyst

This is a follow-up to Randy’s question. But I’m going to go over some numbers with you first before I ask the question, which is we did the math. I don’t think these are exactly right. But over the last five years we’ve got IDM zero growth, fabless 8%, but system houses above 20%, right. So system houses, I’m excluding memory, just the system LSI, the logic portion. I think that might be slightly conservative.

Now that’s a pretty big change. And I’m wondering how you should think about that, how you should — if you look at TSMC addressing the system houses versus the fabless customers, if you look at, for example, your market share, if you look at your margin for the system houses versus the fabless, how do you think about that?

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

Yes. Indeed, in the past five years the system houses sourcing and foundry business to us has a much higher growth rate, as you quoted. But remember, that came from a very small base. Okay? But we welcome system house sourcing because we consider them are fabless too, fabless companies, the companies without fabs, bring business to us.

It’s not necessarily the margin has to do with what type of company sourced. It has to do with our value to that company and also the size, the size of the business. If the business is bigger, of course the — we probably can enjoy a slightly — a little bit better price. So it depends on the size of the business, less dependent on what company, system company or non-system company’s business.

Steven Pelayo – HSBC – Analyst

For the last three years or so, TSMC’s been growing 20%, 30% year-on-year revenue growth rates. First quarter 50% year on year. But to Bill’s question there, it does look like in the second half of the year, if I play around with your full-year guidance and what you’re doing, low single-digit year-on-year growth rates. And if we exclude maybe 16-nanometer, above 16-nanometer, maybe it’s flat to down. Is that the new industry? What are we talking now for industry growth rates for both the semi industry and in the foundry market this year?

90 days ago you suggested the semi market was going to grow 5% this year with foundries growing 12%. In light of your new guidance, in light of what it looks like you’re going to have very slight year-on-year growth rates in the second half of the year, what do you think that means for the overall industry?

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

We think the semiconductor growth this year currently is indeed we adjusted down from 5% earlier to 4% at this time. Yes. We think it’s really due to the macroeconomic situation around the world today. And therefore the foundry market — foundry growth rate will adjusted down too. We are looking at about 10% range. So that’s why we revised our view on the current semiconductor growth.

Brett Simpson – Arete Research – Analyst

My question on 10-nanometer, I know it’s still 18 months away from ramp-up, but can you talk about how fast this ramp might scale relative to 20-nanometer or 28-nanometer?

And as you ramp up 10-nanometer for high-end smartphones, would you expect low-end smartphones to start migration from 28 with 16 FinFET in 2017?
Elizabeth Sun – TSMC – Director of Corporate Communications
… Your question seems to say that if we ramp 10-nanometer in the future, which will be targeting the high-end smartphone, will the low-end smartphone be migrating from 28-nanometer into 16-nanometers.
Brett Simpson – Arete Research – Analyst
And  just to add to that, Elizabeth, how quickly will 10-nanometer scale up relative to the scaling of 20-nanometer — the ramp-up of 20-nanometer and 28? Will it be as fast?
Elizabeth Sun – TSMC – Director of Corporate Communications
So the profile of the 10-nanometer ramp, will that be steeper than the profile of the 20 or the 28-nanometer?

Mark Liu – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

Okay. The first part of the question has to do with 10-nanometer ramp for the high-end smartphone, will the mid/low-end move to 16? I think we — this is up to our customers’ product portfolio. We definitely know a lot of customer is looking at 28-nanometer to use — to do as the low end. But the specification, the smartphone processor specification changes constantly. So what portion of that product will move to 16-nanometer? We think definitely there are some portion, but how a big portion really depends on their product strategy.

On the 10-nanometer ramp, I wouldn’t say it’s bigger. But at least it’s similar scale of our ramp as we do in 16 and as we do in 20.

Brett Simpson – Arete Research – Analyst Great.

Thank you. And let me just have a follow-up here. There’s been a lot of talk in the industry about one of your larger customers [Qualcomm] planning to introduce a new application processor on both Samsung’s 14-nanometer process as well as your 16 FinFET for the same chip later this year. And we haven’t really seen a single chip get taped out on two new processors at the same time before in the industry. So my question, how does this really work between the two foundries? Does it mean that that one customer can adjust dynamically, month to month, how they allocate wafers between you and Samsung? Or am I — or how might this work?
Elizabeth Sun – TSMC – Director of Corporate Communications … So your question seems to say that there is a customer that appeared to be working with two different foundries on the 14 and 16-nanometer node. And the products are about to arrive. You would like to understand how this customer will be allocating month by month the — what’s the production or the orders with both of the two foundries. Is that your question?
Brett Simpson – Arete Research – Analyst
Yes, that’s right. Whether they can move around dynamically how they allocate wafers. That’s right.

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

Well my answer is very typical. Our 16 FinFET is really very competitive. And we did not know that customer going to — how they’re going to allocate. I cannot even make any comment on that.

Gokul Hariharan – JPMorgan – Analyst

First of all on 16-nanometer, since Dr. Wei mentioned that next year a lot of demand on entry-level to mid-end smartphone is still going to stay at 28-nanometer, could you talk about your visibility for second-wave demand for 16-nanometer? 

What is the visibility that you have? Is it going to be really strong? Because you mentioned that a lot of the cost-sensitive customers would still stay on 28, at least for next year.

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

For 28-nanometer I said mid to low end this year that, and next year probably, that smartphone will stay in 28-nanometer because it’s very cost-effective and performance-wise is very good. For 16 FinFET I think that people will start to move with their product plan and some of the mid-end smartphone will move into 16-nanometer. That’s for sure.

In addition to that, we also see improving our 16 FinFET ultra-lower-power Mark just mentioned. And that will have a lot of application. And every product, lower power consumption is one of that advantage.

And so that would be our second wave of 16 FinFET.

Dan Heyler – BofA Merrill Lynch – Analyst

… So on 16, this FinFET Compact which is getting introduced, when would we expect to see that in volume production?

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

FFC? That will be ready next year. And we expect that high-volume production starts probably two years later. That’s year 2017. 2018 will reach the high volume.

Dan Heyler – BofA Merrill Lynch – Analyst

Okay. So is there a — so the cost-down version for mid-end phones FinFET that you alluded to, plus low power, when is that available?

C.C. Wei – TSMC – President & Co-CEO

Probably in 2017 second half.

Q4’2014:

Lora Ho – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – SVP and CFO

During the fourth quarter, the strong 20-nanometer ramp was mainly driven by communication-related applications. As a result, communication grew 18% sequentially and the revenue contribution increased from 59% in the third quarter to 65% in the fourth quarter. As for other applications, computer grew 7%, while consumer and industrial declined 21% and 11% respectively.

On a full-year basis, communication increased 39% and represented 59% of our revenue. The major contributing segments included baseband, application processors, image processors and display drivers. Another fast-growing application in 2014 was industrial and standard, which grew 30% year over year. The growth was mainly driven by increasing usage of power management ICs, near-field communications and audio codec within the mobile devices.

By technology, 20-nanometer revenue contribution started with a very small number in the second quarter, jumped to 9% in the third quarter and reached 21% in the fourth quarter. Such unprecedented ramp cannot be achieved without seamless teamwork with our customer, the R&D and operational people in TSMC.

On a full-year basis, 20 nanometer accounted for about 9% of our full-year wafer revenue. Looking forward, we are confident that 20 nanometer will continue its momentum to contribute 20% of the revenue for the whole year 2015.

Meanwhile, customer demand for our 28-nanometer wafers remained strong. Accordingly, these two advanced technologies, 20 nanometer plus 28 nanometer, represented 51% of our fourth-quarter total wafer revenue, a big increase from 43% in the third quarter.

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President and Co-CEO

Now I’ll give you a few words on 10-nanometer development update. Our 10-nanometer technology development is progressing and our qualification schedule at the end of 2015, end of this year, remains the same. We are now working with customers for their product tape-outs. We expect its volume production in 2017.

On the new technology development in TSMC, I’ll begin with beyond 10 nanometer I just talked about. We are now working on our future-generation platform technology development, with separate dedicated R&D development teams. These technologies will be offered in the 2017-to-2019 period. We are committed to push forward our technology envelope along the silicon scaling path.

In addition to the silicon device scaling, we are also working on the system scaling through advanced packaging to increase system bandwidth, to decrease power consumption and device form factors. Our first-generation InFO technology has been qualified. Currently we are qualifying customer InFO products with 16-nanometer technology. And it will be ready for volume ramp next year, 2016. We are now working on our second-generation InFO technology to supplement the silicon scaling of 10-nanometer generation.

On the other side, in addition to the recently announced 55ULP ultra-low power technology, 40ULP, 28ULP technologies for ultra-low power application, such as wearable and IoT, we are also working on 16ULP technology development. This 16ULP design kit will be available in June this year. It will be just suitable for both high-performance and ultra-low power or ultra-low voltage, less than 0.6-volt applications.

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President and Co-CEO

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll update you on 28, 20, 16-nanometer status and the InFO business.

First on 28 nanometer. Since year 2011, we started to ramp up 28-nanometer production. Up to now we have enjoyed a big success in terms of a good manufacturing result and, most importantly, the strong demand from our customers. This year we expect the success will continue.

Let me give a little bit more detail, first on the demand side. The demand continues to grow, which are driven by the strong growth of mid- and low-end 4G smartphones, as well as the technology migration from some second-wave segments, such as the radio frequency, hard disk drive, flash controller, connectivity and digital consumers.

Second, on the technology improvement, we continue our effort to enhance 28-nanometer technology by improving the speed performance while reducing the power consumption. 28HPC, 28 ultra-low power technology are some examples.

So to conclude the 28-nanometer status, we believe we can defend our segment share well because of excellent performance and performance/cost ratio and our superior defect density results.

Let’s talk about the 20 SoC business status. After successfully ramp up in high volume last year, we expect to grow 20-nanometer business more than double this year due to high-end mobile device demand, which were generated by our customers’ very competitive products. Our forecast of the 20-nanometer business, as Lora just pointed out, will contribute 20% of the total wafer revenue. That remains unchanged.

Now on 16-nanometer ramp-up. We expect to have more than 50 product tape-outs this year on 16-nanometer. High-volume production will start in third quarter, with meaningful revenue contribution starting in fourth quarter this year. In order to stress again what our Chairman already mentioned, that combining 20 nanometer and 16 nanometer we expect to enjoy overwhelming market segment share.

Last, I will update on the InFO business. The traction on InFO is strong. We have engaged with many customers. And a few of these customers are expected to ramp up in second quarter next year. Right now we are building a small pilot line in a new site to prepare for high-volume production next year. Also we expect this InFO technology will contribute sizeable revenue in 2016.

Dan Heyler – BofA Merrill Lynch – Analyst

…. I guess as we look at your pie chart on your slide with communications and computer being amazingly only 9% of your revenue, and, say, 10 years ago that chart was much, much different, with computer being the biggest. As we look at computer opportunities going forward, I think to some extent there’s maybe a sense of a little bit of disappointment in that we don’t see ARM necessarily in PCs yet. We haven’t really necessarily seen that ecosystem come through in the server business. And big data being such an important trend going forward, with compute growing about 15% per year, I’m wondering what TSMC is doing or what your view of that opportunity will be in the future as a potential growth driver.

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Chairman

Server is one of them, Mark. Well there’s IoT actually also, and just don’t forget that mobile actually we think has a few more years to run yet. Really the TSMC silicon content in the average phone is actually increasing, which is something that is not recognized by a lot of people, because everybody says that the weight, the gravity is shifting to the middle level, lower-level priced phones. But according to our data, and we have kept track of it for quite a long time, the average of TSMC silicon content in the average phone is actually increasing.

So — and look, we still look for over — I think the number we have is that by 2019 there’ll be 2b phones manufactured. It is — I think last year it was, what, 1.3b? I think, yes, 1.3b. 1.3b to 2b. And, well, and the average TSMC silicon content per phone is increasing. And the number of phones is going up. So that’s by no means a — it’s still there. It’s still a growth engine.

And then IoT, I think we talked about IoT before, and now we are certainly not oblivious to the server possibility. So why don’t I ask Mark to talk about the server and maybe C.C. will talk a little about the IoT.

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President and Co-CEO

Okay, Dan. I’ll just respond to you on the server part. Chairman talked about the area we’re mostly focused on, phone, today. And that would drive — give us growth momentum in the next several years.

On server, we work with the product innovators around the world. And such a field definitely we’ll not lose in our radar screen and theirs. And TSMC has been, over the years, developed our technology to suit for high-power computing.

And from 65, 40, 28 to 16 nanometer, we continuously improve our transistor performance. And today we believe our 16 FinFET Plus transistor performance probably is the top of — is one of the top of the world. It’s well suitable, well capable of doing the computing tasks.

And actually before server, and there are several supercomputers around the world, in US and in Japan, already powered by our technology, doing the weather forecasting, whether the geo exploration applications today. And on the server, on ARM in particular, we have very close partnership with ARM in recent years. And ARM is a very innovative company. They produce CPU core and new architecture every year. And we reached our leading-edge technology very early with ARM and to design their leading-edge CPU cores. And that will continue and several of our customers are taking advantage of that.

Yes, in the past it’s been getting into slower as expected. That’s because the software ecosystem is slower to come. And — but actually a lot of the server companies, system company is continuing investing in this ecosystem. Linux-based ecosystem is coming very strong too. So I think the trend will continue. And we will, with our customers, get into these segments in the next — in the near future. Yes.

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President and Co-CEO

For the IoT, that would be a big topic right now in the whole industry. All I want to say is that we are happy to share with you that, a long time ago, we already focused on our specialty technology, which are the CMOS image sensor, MEMs, embedded Flash, all those kind of things. Today we add another new technology, ultra-low power, into it. And that will be the basis for the IoT technology necessary in the future. We believe that when the time comes and IoT business becomes big, TSMC will be in a very good position to capture most of the business. That’s what I share with you. Thank you.

Randy Abrams – Credit Suisse – Analyst

… And the follow-up question on profitability. If you could give a flavor on structural profitability for 2015 and some of the flavor for 20, how quick that may get to corporate margins, and for 16, because it’s an extension, whether that could be near corporate margins as that comes up. And if you could give a comment on the inventory at current levels, if there’s any — if that will stay at these higher levels from the WIP you’ve been building or if that may come back down to a different level.

Lora Ho – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – SVP and CFO

Randy, you have multiple questions. I recall you asked for the structural profitability. That’s you first question, right? From what we can see now, we are quite confident we can maintain equal or slightly better structural profitability, standard gross margin versus 2014.

For the 20-nanometer and 16-nanometer ramping, how would that affect corporate margin? I have said in last July it usually takes seven or eight quarters for any new leading-edge technology to get close to the corporate average. So for 20 nanometer, it will take eight quarters. So we believe — so 20 nanometer start to sell in second quarter 2014, and we expect by first quarter 2016, that’s eight quarters, it will be at corporate average level.

For 16, we are going to mass produce this product. It will follow the similar trend. 16 nanometer will be based on the feature of 20 nanometer, so the margin will start to be higher. But it will also follow the similar trend. It takes seven quarters to reach to corporate average. So say we plan to mass produce 16 FinFET in third quarter 2015, so by first quarter 2017 you will get close to corporate average. So there will — before that there will be still small dilutions. For this year, the dilution will be 2 to 3 percentage points. And the last year, the second half will be 3 to 4 percentage points and very low in 2016.

Donald Lu – Goldman Sachs – Analyst

… Chairman, about six months ago you gave us a comment on your estimate on TSMC’s market share in FinFET in 2015, 2016, 2017. So has that changed?

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Chairman

… Donald’s question was I said — actually I looked up my statement at that time, July 16 of last year. I said on the subject of 16 and 20, 16-nanometer and 20-nanometer technology, I said that — I actually made three statements.

The first statement was that because we started 16 a little late, our market share in 2015, our 16-nanometer market share in 2015 will be smaller than our major largest competitor’s.

The second statement I made was that we started 16 late because we wanted to do 20. And so if you combine 20 and 16, our major competitor, who will be slightly ahead of us this year on the 16, he has very little 20. Almost no 20 at all. And if we combine 20 and 16, our combined share in this year will be much higher than that competitor’s.

The third statement I made is that in 2016 we will have much larger share in just 16 nanometer than that competitor.

All right. First I want to say that I, at this time, stand on those statements. In fact, I now will add a couple of statements. The statements I will add are — that’s fourth statement now. Okay? When we have a larger share of just 16 alone in 2016, the 16 market will also be much larger than this year, 2015. So, yes, we’re slightly behind. We have a smaller market share in 2015 in a smaller market. Next year we will have a larger share, in fact much larger share, in a much larger market, 16.

So — and another statement I want to make is that I’m, at this point, very, very comfortable with all those statements that I have made on July 16 last year and the statements that I have added today. I’m very comfortable. I don’t know whether I answered your question or not, Donald.

Donald Lu – Goldman Sachs – Analyst

Yes. How about 2017, if –?

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Chairman

What? Well, 2017, the share is going to continue. We’re not going to lose the leadership on 16 market share once we recapture that in 2016. It’s going to continue 2017, 2018. And also both 20 and 16 are going to live longer than you might think now. Well 28, for that matter, will also live longer than you’d think.

Michael Chou – Deutsche Bank – Analyst

… Can we say your 16-nanometer market share in 2016 will be quite similar to your dominance in 28 nanometer, given that your 20 nanometer is the only provider? So the apple-to-apple comparison should be 28 to 16 nanometer.
Elizabeth Sun – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Director of Corporate Communications
So market share in 16 nanometer in 2016, will that be the same as our market share at 28 nanometer, I would say, back in 2013, 2014?
Michael Chou – Deutsche Bank – Analyst Yes

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Chairman

Well, no, I don’t think so, because 28, of course we were virtually sole source. And 16, we already know we’re not. There’s at least one major competitor and then there’s another one that’s just eager to get in. I don’t mean that first competitor’s accessory, I mean another one.

Brett Simpson – Arete Research – Analyst

My question is around 28 nanometer. You’re running a large capacity at 28 nanometer at the moment. So can you share with us what your capacity plan is for 28? As you migrate more business to 20 nanometer and below over the next couple of years, do you intend to convert 28-nanometer capacity to lower nodes, or do you think you can keep the existing 28-nanometer capacity running full going forward.
Elizabeth Sun – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Director of Corporate Communications
All right. Let me repeat Brett’s question so that people here can hear it better. Brett’s question is TSMC’s 28-nanometer capacity is very large. As our technology migrates to more advanced nodes, such as 20 and 16, in the next few years, what will be our plan on capacity of the 28 nanometer? Will we still have large demand to utilize those capacities or we need to do some changes?

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Chairman

Every — in every generation we worry a lot about the conversion loss we will suffer when we convert the equipment of that — the existing capacity of that generation to the capacity of the next generation. Now, so we do two things. First, we try to minimize that conversion loss. And since we’ve been living with the problem for so long now, I think we’re getting to be pretty good at it. So the conversion loss from one generation to another is normally in the low single digit, low middle single digit. Now the second thing we try to do is, and I think we actually have been doing it perhaps even more successfully than the first thing. The first thing was to try to minimize the conversion loss. The second thing we try to do is we try to prolong the life of each generation. And I was saying just five minutes ago that I think that the life of 28 nanometer may be longer than a lot of people think. And I mean it. Actually we’re still making half-micron stuff. And we try to prolong the life of every generation as we continue to migrate to advanced technologies. And 28 is certainly a generation that we want to prolong the life of.

Bill Lu – Morgan Stanley – Analyst

My first question is on 28 nanometers. If I look at your capacity this year versus 2014, how much is the increase in capacity?

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Chairman

High teens. High teens actually.

Gokul Hariharan – JPMorgan – Analyst

… First, I had a question on there’s been a lot of controversy about cost per transistor, whether Moore’s law — the economics of Moore’s law are slowing down. Your competitor Intel has put out a very emphatic statement saying that until 7 nanometer they’re seeing that continuing at the same pace as before. But there has been a lot of noise from the fabless community in the last couple of years that at 20 nanometer or at 16 nanometer there is a potential slowdown.

Could we have TSMC’s version now that you’re pretty much ready to start 10 nanometer and thinking already about 7? That’s my first question.
Elizabeth Sun – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Director of Corporate Communications
So, all right. Let me repeat. Gokul, your question is mainly on the comments on cost per transistor. Some of the other players, I think you’re referring to Intel, who has made comments that they do see the cost per transistor to continue into 7 nanometer and so they can handle the economics of the Moore’s law. Whereas, on the other hand, fabless companies begin to complain about not seeing enough economics, starting with 20 nanometer. So what is TSMC’s statement regarding this economics issue?

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President and Co-CEO

Let me answer this question. The cost of transistor continues to go down. And by scaling mostly is — everybody knows, nobody I think has refused that statement — we see the cost of transistor continues going down in a constant rate. And in going forward, the cost of transistor going down probably at slightly slower rate. That’s the argument. But it really depends on companies. And for some companies simply do not have the technological capabilities. And today, further going down the Moore’s Law technology developments, just a few. And we — as far as whether those costs can — is — can get enough returns, and of course that has to do with how much that technology brings value to the product where they command the price. And today we see certain segments will continue to need that type of system performance to get enough return. So this is the reason we committed to push the system scaling.

Roland Shu – Citigroup – Analyst

Just a 10-nanometer question to C.C. Since, C.C., you said we are expecting to volume production of 10-nanometer in 2017. But I remember in the past two quarters actually our goal was to pulling in 10-nanometer mass production by end of 2016. So are we pushing out the 10-nanometer mass production schedule a little bit on that?

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President and Co-CEO

Let me explain that, because 10 nanometer, the mask layers is about 70 to 80. So you’ve got to start in 2016 to have output in 2017. So what I’m talking about is 2017 is to start to have revenue.

Q3 2014:

Lora Ho – TSMC – SVP & CFO

By technology, after two years of meticulous preparation we began volume shipments of 20-nanometer wafers. The revenue contribution went up from 0% to 9% of the third quarter wafer revenue. This is the fastest and the most successful ramp for a new technology in TSMC’s history.

Mark Liu – TSMC – Co-CEO


On 10-nanometer development, our 10-nanometer development is progressing according to plan. Currently we are working on early customer collaboration for product tape-outs in 4Q of 2015. The risk production date remain targeted at the end of 2015.

Our goal is to enable our customers’ production in 2016. To meet this goal, we are getting our 10-nanometer design ecosystem ready now. We have completed certification of over 35 EDA tools using ARM’s CPU core as the vehicle. In addition, we have started the IP validation process six months earlier than previous nodes with our IP partners.

We are working with over 10 customers on their 10-nanometer product design. The product plans show wide range of applications, including application processors, baseband, CPU, server, graphics, network processor, FPGA and game console. Our 10-nanometer will achieve industry-leading speed, power and gate density.

C.C. Wei – TSMC – Co-CEO


Next, I’ll talk about the 16-nanometer ramp and competitive status. In 16-nanometer, we have two versions, 16 FinFET and the 16 FinFET Plus.

FinFET Plus has better performance and has been adopted by most of our customers. 16 FinFET we began the risk production in November last year and since then have passed all the reliability qual early this year. For the FinFET Plus, we also passed the first stage of the qualification on October 7 and since then entered the risk production. The full qualification, including the technology and product qual, is expected to be completed next month.

So right now we have more than 1,000 engineers working on ramp up for the FinFET Plus. On the yield learning side, the progress is much better than our original plan. This is because the 16-nanometer uses similar process to 20 SOC, except for the transistor. And since 20 SOC has been in mass production with a good yield, our 16 FinFET can leverage the yield learning from 20 SOC and enjoy a good and smooth progress. So we are happy to say that 16-nanometer has achieved the best technology maturity at the same corresponding stage as compared to all TSMC’s previous nodes.

In addition to the process technologies, our 16 FinFET design ecosystem is ready also. It supports 43 EDA tools and greater than 700 process design kits with more than 100 IPs. All these are silicon validated. We believe this is the biggest ecosystem in the industry today.

On the performance side, compared with the 20 SOC, 16 FinFET is greater than 40% speed faster than the 20 SOC at the same total power or consumes less than 50% power at the same speed. So our data shows that in high-speed applications it can run up to 2.3 gigahertz. Or on the other hand, for low-power applications it consumes as low as 75 miniwatts per core.

This kind of a performance will give our customer a lot of flexibility to optimize their design for different market applications. So far we expect to have close to 60 tape-outs by the end of next year.

In summary, because of the excellent progress in yield learning and readiness in manufacturing maturity and also to meet customers’ demand, we plan to pull in 16-nanometer volume production through the end of Q2 next year or early Q3 year 2015. The yield performance and smooth progress of our 16 FinFET, FinFET Plus further validate our strategy of starting 20 SOC first, quickly follow with the 16 FinFET and FinFET Plus. We chose this sequence to maximize our market share in the 20-, 16-nanometer generation.

Next, I’ll talk about 28-nanometer status. We had strong growth in second quarter on 28-nanometer. And the business grew another quarter and accounted for 34% of TSMC’s wafer revenue in third quarter. On the technology side, we continue our effort to improve yield and tighten the process corners, so that our customer can take advantage of these activities and shrink their die size and therefore reduce the cost.

Let me give you an example. On 28LP, the polysilicon gate version, we now offer a variety of enhanced processes to achieve better performance. We also offer a very competitive cost so that our customers can address the mid- to low-end smartphone market. In addition to the 28LP, we also provide a cost-effective high-K metal gate version, the 28HPC for customers to further optimize the performance and the cost. Recently, we added another 28-nanometer offering we called 28 Ultra Low Power, for ultra low power applications obviously. We believe this 28ULP will help TSMC customers to expand their business into the IoT area.

In summary, we expect our technology span in 28-nanometer node will enhance TSMC’s competitiveness and ensure a good market share. We also expect the strength of the demand for our 28-nanometer will continue for multi years to come. In response, we are preparing sufficient capacities to meet our customers’ future demand.

Q2 2014:


Morris Chang – TSMC – Chairman

Now a few words on 20-nanometer and 16-nanometer progress. In the last two and half to three years, 28-nanometer technology has driven our growth. In the next three years, 20 and 16-nanometer technologies are going to drive our growth; 28 in the last two and half to three, 20 and 16 in the next three.

After two years of meticulous preparation, we began volume shipments of our 20-nanometer wafers in June. The steepness of our 20-nanometer ramp sets a record. We expect 20-nanometer to generate about 10% of our wafer revenue in the third quarter and more than 20% of our wafer revenue in the fourth quarter. And we expect the demand for 20-nanometer will remain strong and will continue to contribute more than 20% of our wafer revenue in 2015. It will reach 20% of our total wafer revenue in the fourth quarter of this year and it will be above 20% of our total wafer revenue next year.

The 16-nanometer development leverages off 20-SoC learning and is moving forward smoothly. Our 16-nanometer is more than competitive, combining performance, density and yields considerations. 16-nanometer applications cover a wide range including baseband, application processors, consumer SoCs, GPU, network processors, hard disk drive, FPGA, servers and CPUs. Volume production of 16-nanometer is expected to begin in late 2015 and there will be a fast ramp up in 2016. The ecosystem for 16-nanometer designs is current and ready.

A few years ago, in order to take advantage of special market opportunities, we chose to develop 20-SoC first and then quickly follow with 16-nanometer. We chose this sequence to maximize our market share in the 20/16-nanometer generation. As the 20/16 foundry competition unfolds, we believe our decision to have been correct.

Number one, in 20-SoC, we believe we will enjoy overwhelmingly large share in 2014, 2015 and onwards.

Number two, in 16-nanometer, TSMC will have a smaller market share than a major competitor in 2015. But we’ll regain leading share in 2016, 2017 and onwards.

Number three, if you look at the combined 20 and 16 technologies, TSMC will have an overwhelming leading share every year from 2014 on.

Number four, in total foundry market share, after having jumped 4 percentage points in 2013, TSMC will again gain several percentage points in 2014. This is the total foundry market share covering all technologies. After having increased 4 percentage points last year, TSMC will gain another several percentage points this year.

Now a few words about 10-nanometer. The 10-nanometer development is progressing well. The 10-nanometer speed is 25% faster than the 16-nanometer. The power consumption is 45% less than 16-nanometer and the gate density is 2.2x that of the 16-nanometer. Power is 25% faster. Did I say power? I meant speed. Speed is 25% faster, power is 45% less, gate density 2.2 times more, all compared with 16-nanometer.

We work closely with our key customers to co-optimize our 10-nanometer process and design. We expect to have customer tape outs in the second half of 2015.

William Dong – UBS – Analyst

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman. I guess — we keep talking about technology. I guess the question I want to ask is that with all this rush to continue to push down technology roadmap, to go down to 16, to 14 and to 10 nanometer, what are our thoughts about what’s driving this demand? As we move toward, for example, Internet of Things, is there such a requirement to keep pushing on the technology front to actually have enough, sufficient demand to keep driving it down?

Morris Chang – TSMC – Chairman

Well, if the cost is low enough — cost is very much a part of the equation. If the cost is low enough, the demand will increase because we can see a lot of applications that are just waiting there. Of course I’m talking about the mobile products, but I’m also talking about Internet of Things, so wearables and so on, so on, Internet of Things. The applications are just waiting there for better, for faster speed and lower power and higher density ICs. Cost is definitely in the equation.

So, yes, when you ask will the demand be there. If we can get the cost down to an acceptable level, demand will be there. And of course that’s why — that’s how things like EUV come into the question. Nobody has asked about that yet. We actually were prepared to answer that with the same answer that we gave you last time, by the way, that we are still planning to — there’s still a possibility to use EUV on one, one or two — or just one layer in the 10 nanometer, yes. One layer, one layer in 10 nanometer and 7 I think is, of course, an even better candidate.

Dan Heyler – BofA-Merrill Lynch – Analyst

Hopefully this question simplifies and doesn’t complicate things. Just to make sure I understand this share loss thing, so basically what you’re saying is the share loss at 16, these are customers that are choosing to skip 20? Is that how should I think of this that these are not any — are any of these customers that are currently 20 that are going to 16 next year or is this all people that are choosing to skip 20?

Morris Chang – TSMC – Chairman

Well, first of all, I want to question the word share loss. I don’t consider there is share loss because just like 32/28 we had zero share in 32. But then we were very successful in 28. The two really belong to the same generation. And 20 and 16 also belong to the same generation. So, yes — and share loss means that you start with something and then you lose it, it becomes less. Well, this year nobody has — everybody has zero share, okay. And I am just saying that we will start on 16, we will start with a lower share than we did with 20 or 28. We start with a lower share than we did with 20 or 28. And then we’ll get back to a high share in 2016. I’m just arguing with him, but he did have a question; what was that?

Dan Heyler – BofA-Merrill Lynch – Analyst

Or just simply are your — are these customers moving to 16, are these the ones that have currently been on 20 or are these the guys that have skipped because the debate in the industry is should we go straight to 16 and skip 20. So are these customers that have basically been at 28 and are skipping 20 and going straight to 14 at your competitor?

Morris Chang – TSMC – Chairman

Mainly because our customers wanted it sooner. We got in a little late, as I said; our customers wanted it sooner. So that’s why we’re starting — and we’ll catch up only a little later.

Michael Chou – Deutsche Bank – Analyst

Chairman, regarding the 16/20 nanometer, could we say your total market share in 16 and 20 nanometer will be similar to 28/32 for the corresponding period? Can we say that?


Morris Chang – TSMC – Chairman

The combined 20 — I just ran an analysis just a couple of weeks ago, so I know exactly the answer to your question. The combined 20/16 market share in the first two years of its existence, which is this year and next year — well, I guess I have to add in 2016 — the combined — our combined 20/16 share in 2014, 2015 and 2016 will still be greater than our combined share of 32 and 28 in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Q1 2014:


Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President & Co-CEO

Then I cover the updates on 16 FinFET, 16 FinFET plus and our 10 FinFET. First, we have two general offers for customers, 16 FinFET and 16 FinFET plus. 16 FinFET plus offers 15% speed improvement, the same total power, compared to 16 FinFET. More importantly, 16 FinFET plus offers 30% total power reduction at the same speed, compared to 16 FinFET.

Our 16 FinFET plusmatches the highest performance among all available 16-nanometer and 14-nanometer technologies in the market today. Compared to our own 20 SoC, 16 FinFET plus offers 40% speed improvement. The design rules of 16 FinFET and 16 FinFET plus are the same; IPs are compatible.

We will receive our first customer product tapeout this month. About 15 products planned for 2014, another about 45 in 2015. Volume production is planned in 2015. Since 95% tools of 16 and 20 are common, we will ramp them in the same gigafabs in TSMC. 16 FinFET yield learning curve is very steep today and has already caught up with 20 SoC. This is a unique advantage in TSMC 16-nanometer.

For 10 FinFET, 10 FinFET offer TSMC’s third generation FinFET transistor, designed to meet the power and the performance requirement of mobile computing devices. 10 FinFET will offer greater than 25% speed improvement, the same total power, compared to 16 FinFET plus. More importantly, 10 FinFET offer greater than 45% total power reduction at the same speed, compared to 16 FinFET plus.

10 FinFET will offer 2.2X of density improvement over its previous generation, 16 FinFET plus. So, currently, 10 FinFET development progress is well on track, but risk production will be in 4Q 2015. Above are the key messages on three items.

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President & Co-CEO

…  I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the two topics with you; namely, the 20 SoC ramp and TSMC’s advance assembly solution to our customer. First, I will brief you on the status of 20 SoC ramp.

Let me recap what we had said in the last meeting here. We started 20 SoC production in January this year and by fourth quarter of this year, the 20 SoC will account for 20% of the quarterly revenue — wafer revenue. And for the whole year of 2014 we expect 20 SoC will be about 10% of our total wafer revenue of the year of 2014, of course. All these expectations remain the same today.

Now, there are some major achievement I would like to share with you. First, on the ramping speed. 20 SoC by far is the fastest ramping in TSMC’s history. Of course, this fast ramp is to meet customers’ strong demand. And I believe this production of 20 SoC in TSMC represents one of the largest mobilization in semiconductor history. Let me share with some numbers, so you can have a snapshot on this ramp.

In about one year’s time we have built a manufacturing team of 4,600 engineers and 2,000 operators in two fabs; Fab 14 in Tainan and Fab 12 in Hsinchu. More impressively, in the same time period, close to one thousand engineer has been relocated among TSMC’s fabs in Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan. All these are prepared for the 20 SoC’s ramp-up. This magnitude of mobilization, I believe, is not an easy job. We move people around that show our strength in manufacturing and this highly mobilization is not moving the tool or just a handful around. We’re talking about we’re moving the engineer and operator among TSMC’s fabs. In the meanwhile, we have installed more than 1,500 major tools for this 20 SoC ramp.

Of course, the faster ramp has done with a very good device reliability and a very good wafer defect density. Without those, the fast ramp will make no sense. Now how important are these 20 SoC ramp? Well we knew that 28 nanometer provided the engine of TSMC’s profitable growth in the years of 2012 and 2013 and similarly, we expect 20 SoC will provide the engine of TSMC’s profitable growth in year 2014 and 2015.

Now let me switch gear to advanced assembly technologies. The purpose of — for us to develop advanced assembly technology is to provide our customer a better performance and a lower power consumption, while at a lower cost as compared to the previous assembly solution. For example, we have developed CoWoS and CoWoS has been developed to connect two dies or more dies together to have a very high performance and a very low power consumption and today CoWoS is in a small volume production already. However, the cost structure of CoWoS has made CoWoS only suitable for some very high performance applications and the products. To address the cost structure issue and for those mobile — very large volume mobile devices, we have developed a derivative technology called InFO; that stands for integrated fan-out.

InFO will have significant lower cost as compared to CoWoS and at the same time, InFO also can have the same capability to connect multiple dies together just as the CoWoS did. Currently, we’re working with major customers and the InFO, to incorporate this structure into their future product. We have delivered many functional dies to our customers already and the process optimization are ongoing.

In fact, we are very excited about TSMC’s advanced assembly technology development as we’re building a innovative solution for our customers product, which requires high performance, lower power consumption and at a very reasonable cost structure.

Michael Chou – Deutsche Bank – Analyst

I don’t know, C.C. Wei, could you give us more color on the advanced packaging you just mentioned. What’s the difference between this one and CoWoS?

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President & Co-CEO

The difference between the InFO and the CoWoS is actually the geometry to connect multi-dies together. In the CoWoS, actually we are using very small geometry, actually 65 nanometers of geometry to connect the multi-dies together. In InFO, we’re using the larger geometry, which are still technical confidential information. But the cost is much, much lower.

Brett Samson – Arete Research – Analyst

Just had a quick question. Can you give us a sense within the 28 nanometer nodes, how does that split between poly-SiON and high-K and how do you think this might trend through this year?
Elizabeth Sun – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – Director, Corporate Communications
So Brett’s question is what is really the mix between poly-SiON, that is our 28 LP, versus our high-k metal gate and what is going to be the trend with respect to that kind of mix throughout this year?

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President & Co-CEO

Allow me to answer that. Our 28 nanometer high-k metal gate has three options, 28HP, 28HPM and 28HPC. And this year these 28 high-k metal gate technology will be about 85% of the overall 28 nanometer in terms of the wafer.

Dan Heyler – Bank of America Merrill Lynch – Analyst

… I want to follow up on this InFO, this is quite interesting. Could you just maybe elaborate a bit more on what exactly are you going to be attaching, so which devices are we talking about in terms of what – with CoWoS it was pretty much PLD [Programmable Logic Devices, like Altera] companies were there and others, some baseband. So what devices are you attaching on the initial generation between the different chips? And second part of that question would be what kind of — how many customers do you expect to manage to have in this area, because you start peddling lots of devices and lots of customers it gets really complicated, you start to look more like an OSAT [Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test]. So I wonder if this is going to be a pretty small group of high volume products? And finally on — as you attach — are you actually doing a chip attach or will you be doing only the wafer level activity and will you be having — working with the OSATs to do the actual chip attach?

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd – President & Co-CEO

Dan, to answer your question, the InFO actually we’re right now working on application processor together with memory dies. That’s good enough for you. I cannot say anything more than that. We’re working with mobile product customers and we did not — we expect very high volume, but we did not with many, many customers as current status. We’re working on the wafer level process, stacking die, and couple of them, we’re able to do the complete line all here.

Q4 2013:


Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – Chairman

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, our comments are scheduled as on the slide on your left. First, I’m very glad to have the opportunity to introduce our new top management team.

I’d first start with Lora, although I think everyone knows Lora well. Lora has a bachelor’s degree from Chengchi University, a master’s degree from National Taiwan University, both degrees in finance. She worked for Cyanamid, Wyse, Thomas & Betts and TI-Acer before she joined TSMC in 1999. And she has been TSMC’s CFO since 2003.

Next, Dr. C. C. Wei. C. C. has a bachelor’s degree from Chiao Tung University and a Ph. D. from Yale University, both in electrical engineering. C. C. worked for TI, SGS, Chartered before joining TSMC in 1998. C. C. has been Senior VP of Operations, Senior VP of Business Development, Co-COO, and in the Co-COO job CC was successively responsible for R&D and Operations. Now C.C. is President and Co-CEO.

C.C. is 60 years old and I should add that Lora is 57 years old.

Mark Liu; Mark has a B.S. from National Taiwan University and a Ph. D. from Berkeley, both in electrical engineering and computer science. Mark worked for Intel, Bell Telephone Labs before joining TSMC in 1993. And at TSMC he has been VP, Senior VP of Operations and he was also a Co-COO, and all the time he was Co-COO he was responsible for our sales, marketing and planning.

And now Mark and C.C. are Presidents and Co-CEOs of the Company. Mark is 59 years old.

C.C. Wei – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – President & Co-CEO
[about the technology aspects of TSMC’s growth engine]

Good afternoon everybody. I am C.C. Wei and I will give you the update of our 28-nanometer high-K metal gate version. Let me recap the history. We started 28-nanometers volume production in year 2011 mainly on the 28LP, the oxynitride version. And since then the business continued to grow. So last year, we had tripled 28-nanometers of business versus year 2012. That in this year, year 2014, the business for 28-nanometer will continue to grow at least by another 20%, and all the increase are coming from the 28-nanometers high-K metal gate version, which is we name it 28HPM.

Let me add more color to it. We expect we’re going to have about more than 100 tape-outs from about 60 customers in this year in 28HPM. Now you may ask it why? Why there are so many products that were designed on this technology? One of the main reason I can give it to you is the performance, the superior performance. For example, 28 HPM compare with the 28LP that will gain another 30% of the speed at the same kind of power consumption, or you can say that at the same power consumption — at the same speed, you will consume 15% less power. And everybody knows that the power consumption in the mobile device is very important. That’s why we think we have a very high, good business on the 28 HPM.

Now, furthermore, after the 28HPM, we also offer 28HPC, which is a low-cost version of the 28HPM. The 28HPC is developed to meet the customers’ demand to compete in the mid-to-low-end smartphone market. We expect that this 28HPC will have a very strong demand in the next two years. That’s what we have.

Okay, let me give you some information on the competition to explain why we are so confident on this 28 nanometers high-K metal gate business. If you still remember that long time ago, we mentioned about gate-first and gate-last. Still remember that terminology? All right. So, simply to say that gate-last version will give you better performance and a better process control. As a result, all our customers will enjoy using the gate-last versions that technology to have a higher or better performance than other products which are designed with a different approach.

In addition to that I’ll say that because of the better process control and TSMC’s manufacturing excellence, we have a much better yield than our competitor, so that our customer will enjoy the lower die cost. That’s what we have. And that’s why we explained that our confidence that the 28 nanometers business continue a very good business for us.

Now, let me switch the gear to 20-SoC. That’s another exciting news that we have, I want to share with you. 20-SoC is a technology that we developed to enable TSMC’s customer to lead in the mobile device market. And this technology we are believe in this year, next year, well I have a very good business to capture. So, what is the status now of the 20-SoC? We have two fab, Fab 12 and Fab 14 that complete the qual of 20-SoC. And as a matter of fact, we started production. We are in volume production as we speak right now. So, it’s in the high-volume production as we are speaking right now.

Let me add more information to that. First, there are more than $10 billion had been committed to build capacity. Second, we have more than 2,500 engineers and 1,500 operators right now in manufacturing, doing the 20SoC volume production. The ramping rate will be the fastest one in TSMC’s history. Using the ramping rate, you can get the hint of the business, how big the business is.

Another fact to share with you, we have probably — at the end of this year, we have more than dozens of tape-out from about a dozen customers that they are producing the 20SoC product, okay? You may ask, good business, how about the competition? If you have a very strong competition, you might — cannot have too much of confidence on the future. Let me talk about the competition.

I’m very confident that our 20SoC is the highest gate density in volume production at 20 nanometers node. And please remember that; highest gate density and a high volume production. I don’t see any company today can claim on this kind of production and with this kind of gate density at this time, nobody. And most of our competitors, to be frank with you, they’re not even into this game yet. So we are confident to have a good business that will contribute to TSMC’s revenue — wafer revenue by probably around 10% this year. And with that I conclude my presentation and thank you for your attendance.

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – President & Co-CEO
[about TSMC’s competitiveness versus Intel and Samsung]

I will start this topic by update you our recent development status of our 16-FinFET technology. 16-FinFET technology has been a very fast paced development work in TSMC and we have achieved the risk production milestone of 16-FinFET in November 2013, November last year. And this month, we should pass the 1,000 hours so-called the technology qualification. So the technology is ready for customer product tape-out.

Our 16-FinFET yield improvement has been ahead of our plan. This is because we have been leveraging the yield learning of 20SoC. Currently 16-FinFET SRAM yield is already close to 20SoC. And with this status we are developing an enhanced transistor version of 16-FinFET plus, with 15% performance improvement. It will be the highest performance technology among all available 16 and 14 nanometer technology in 2014. The above progress status is well ahead of Samsung.

Let me comment on the Intel’s recent graph shown in their investor meetings, showing on the screen. We usually do not comment on other company’s’ technology, but this is — because this has been talking about TSMC technology and as Chairman said, has been misleading. To me it’s erroneous, based on outdated data. So I like to make the following rebuttal.

futureICT - 2013--Intel Is Committed to Press Ahead on Density - Enables a 'Transistor Like' Lead in Density

2013: Intel Is Committed to Press Ahead on Density – Enables a “Transistor Like” Lead in Density

futureICT - Jan-2014--Density Comparison by TSMC vs Intel 2013 statement

January 14, 2014: Density Comparison by TSMC vs. Intel’s 2013 statement at its Investor Meeting

On this view graph, the vertical axis is the chip area on a log scale. Basically this is compared at chip area reduction. On the horizontal axis, it shows four different technologies; 32/28, 22/20, 14/16-FinFET and 10-nanometer. 32 is Intel technology and 28 is TSMC technology. So is the following three nodes; the smaller number 20, but on 14-FinFET is Intel, 16-FinFET is the TSMC. On the view graph shown at Intel investor meeting, it is with the grey plots showing here. The grey plots shows the 32 and 20 nanometer, TSMC is ahead of the area scaling, but however, with 16, the data, grey data shows a little bit uptick. And following the same slope, go down to the 10 nanometer. What’s the correct data we show on the red line, that’s our current TSMC data. The 16, we have been volume production on 20 nanometer, as C.C. just mentioned, this is the highest density technology in production today.

We took the approach of significantly using the FinFET transistor to improve the transistor performance on top of the similar back-end technology of our 20 nanometer. Therefore, we leveraged the volume experience into volume production this year, to be able to immediately go down to 16 volume production next year, within one year. And this transistor performance and innovative layout methodology can improve the chip size by about 15%. This is because the driving of the transistor is much stronger, so that you don’t need such a big area to deliver the same driving circuitries.

And for the 10 nanometer, we haven’t announced it, but we did communicate with many of our customers that that will be the aggressive scaling of technology we’re doing. And so, in the summary, our 10 FinFET technology will be qualified by the end of 2015. 10 FinFET transistor will be our third generation FinFET transistor. This technology will come with industry’s leading performance and density. So, I want to leave this slide by 16 FinFET scaling is much better than Intel said, but still a little bit behind Intel.

However, the real competition is between our customer’s product and Intel’s product or Samsung’s product. TSMC’s Grand Alliance; that is the alliance of us, our customers, EDA, IP, communities and our supplier is the largest and the only open technology platform for the widest range of product innovations in the industry today. As for the tape-out of our 16 FinFET, more than 20 customer product tape-outs on 16 FinFET technology is scheduled this year already. They include wide range of applications; baseband, application processors, application processor SoCs, graphics, networking, hard disk drive, field programmable array, CPUs and servers. Our 16 FinFET technology captured the vast portion of products in the semiconductor industry.

We’ve been actively working with our customer’s designer on this since last year. TSMC’s speed and productization of the customer’s product and our ability to execute for a short time-to-market for a customer are far superior than Intel and Samsung.

Lastly, I would comment on the mobile products. With this 16 FinFET technology and the innovations of processor architecture and various IP from our customers, we are confident that this planned, 16 FinFET mobile product, which is going to tape out to us, will be better than Samsung’s 14 nanometer and better than Intel’s 14 SoC. Thank you very much.

Roland Shu – Citigroup Global Markets – Analyst

… Is the 16-plus is improving from the design you were saying or this is just for the performance enhancement or are we going to consider to change our 16-plus to — even to the — same as the 14-nanometer? …

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – President & Co-CEO

16 FinFET-plus is a transistor enhancement. For the design — back-end design rule are similar to 16 FinFET, therefore designer can design on 16 FinFET and re-characterize, upgrade their product performance. This transistor, as I mentioned, also can reduce the cell size, standard cell size, and with the enhanced performance transistor. That’s the way to reduce the chip size. So we do not intend to change the naming. I mean this is engineering, this is the word — this is the name that we chose earlier based on the physical consistent number and we do not intend to change name.

Randy Abrams – Credit Suisse – Analyst

My first question on the management structure now with the Co-COOs promoted to Co-CEOs. If you could talk about how the responsibilities would change with their promotion to Co-CEO? And for yourself, Dr. Chairman, how will your activities change versus before this move? So if you could talk about the roles for each of the different Co-CEOs and yourself now.

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – Chairman

We started with President and the Co-CEO in November, and it has been now two months. And if you ask me now, has my life changed in the last two months? My answer is no. It has not changed. But I think that my effort, my time has been spent more on the coaching aspects. I think that — I do believe that I do more coaching. If I spend 100 hours and — I now perhaps spend 20 hours of the 100 hours on coaching, whereas in the past, I’d probably spend only 5 or 10 hours of the 100 hours on coaching.

Now, actually, this is an overseas call, is this correct? Yes. So let me just explain very briefly what the Taiwan law and customs are in relation to a Chairman’s authority and responsibility. Basically, by both law and custom, the Chairman of a company has the ultimate authority and responsibility, basically. However, he may delegate his authority and responsibility to the President. He may also take it back anytime. He can delegate any and all, any or all of the responsibilities to the President. And now these two gentlemen, their titles is President and co-CEO. President comes first. They are, in a very legal sense, Presidents. Now the co-CEO is basically a Western term. And then in the United States, a CEO usually bears the final ultimate responsibility and authority as a Chairman in Taiwan does. In the US, it’s the CEO. Now — so my role in the future is really to convert these two gentlemen from the Taiwan sense President to the US sense CEO, and it will be a gradual process.

Donald Lu – Goldman Sachs – Analyst So Chairman, (spoken in foreign language).

First question is, I want to ask the Chairman, how would you — are you satisfied with the transition so far and also, how the two Presidents would share their work? Are they still rotating or not? And (multiple speakers) but probably not now. And maybe give us some details about how the Company is run. And I have a follow-up question on competition.

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – Chairman

All right. I am quite satisfied with the transition. And these two gentlemen; Mark is now responsible for sales, marketing, strategic planning, business development, and yes, information technology and materials management, all those. And C.C. is responsible for operations, all the operations, and he is also responsible for specialty technology R&D. Specialty technology incidentally accounts for 25% of our total business. So now, Donald, your other question is whether they’re going to rotate. My plan currently is, I don’t plan it that way, I don’t plan it that way right now. However, I deem it’s a pretty flexible thing. Tomorrow, I may take one part of Mark’s and give it to C.C. or vice versa. But I’m not considering rotation, per se. Yes, does that answer your first question?

Donald Lu – Goldman Sachs – Analyst

… Okay, since we are already doing it, why don’t you give us more color? 16-nanometer, for example, are we saying that in terms of die size, performance, our product will be very similar to Intel’s 40-nanometer FinFET? And also, Mark commented that for the FinFET tape-outs, specifically there’s a CPU and server chips, and can we say that TSMC’s CPU and server chips will have the similar physical performance as Intel’s products today?

Morris Chang – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – Chairman

Well, I think, Donald, we have already given everybody enough information on our 16-FinFET. I think that if we keep giving more, we would be helping our competitors who have picked on us. And so, now, we do stand on what we said. We are going to — our Grand Alliance will out-compete Intel and Samsung. Our Grand Alliance on the 16-FinFET will out-compete. By that I don’t mean that we’ll completely exclude them, no, no, no. We can’t do it. We won’t be able to do that. But our Grand Alliance, with us as foundry supplier, will capture a large share of the 16-nanometer. You agree with that don’t you?

Mark Liu – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. – President & Co-CEO

The fabless companies in China are very aggressive approaching leading-edge technologies. To tell you, our 16-FinFET this year, already some of the fabless companies will be using it in tape-outs. So, I think all those fabless companies’ subsidy will propel them into the leading-edge technology more.

July 20, 2013: TSMC takes on rivals with Grand Alliance strategy, says Chang [Global Data Point] by TMC News

(Global Data Point Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) chairman and CEO Morris Chang, at a July 18 investors conference, talked about the importance of the foundry’s close ties with customers and ecosystem partners, and described how TSMC has formed a “Grand Alliance” with EDA, IP, software IP, systems software and design services providers.

TSMC has been competitive against fellow pure-play foundries, said Chang. In the face of rising competition from IDMs, TSMC with its ability to deliver cutting-edge technologies and advanced manufacturing capacity is also able to outshine the rivals, Chang indicated.

With the industry moving towards sub-20nm technologies, Chang believes that TSMC will become more capable of fending off rivals like Samsung Electronics and Intel. “Now in this new era of competition, the competition is not between foundries. It is not between foundries and IDMs. It is between ‘Grand Alliances’ and IDMs,” Chang pointed out.

Chang named ARM, Imagination, Cadence and Mentor as some of TSMC’s IP and EDA partners.

TSMC’s so-called “Grand Alliance” seems like an expansion of its Open Innovation Platform (OIP), which was announced in 2008. TSMC’s OIP is a business strategy aiming to provide integrated services from design to manufacturing to testing and packaging. According to TSMC, the platform is to bring together the thinking of customers and partners under the common goal of shortening design time, minimizing time-to-volume and speeding time-to-market.

In addition, Chang noted that TSMC’s 28nm process technology is on track to triple in wafer sales in 2013. TSMC made 29% of its NT$155.89 billion (US$5.18 billion) revenues from selling 28nm chips in the second quarter of 2013.

Chang also reiterated TSMC’s plans that 20nm technology will begin volume production in early 2014, followed by volume production of 16nm FinFETs within one year.

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Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die!

Nov 5, 2013: Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation

… J.T. Wang, chairman and CEO of Acer, said, “Acer encountered many complicated and harsh challenges in the past few years. With the consecutive poor financial results, it is time for me to hand over the responsibility to a new leadership team to path the way for a new era.” …

What I found after carefully analyzing the above outcome is summarized in the titles of the detailed sections of this post:

  1. To be great only for consumers was not enough to survive
  2. Taiwan is still confused
  3. How Acer’s “new strategy” that has been in place since April 1, 2011 came to an end
  4. The road which lead to Acer downfall


1. To be great only for consumers was not enough to survive

THE LATEST EPISODES showing what was great from a general consumer point of view but not enough by far from enterprise point of view:

We would all like to be a touch smarter, a touch cooler, a touch classier, and a touch simpler… With Acer it is possible, explore beyond limits with our touch & type products.
IFA BERLIN 2013. For the those who missed the latest designed ‘Touch’ innovations from Acer. The Iconia A3: 10.1″ display with wide viewing angle and immersive sound. The Aspire R7: Award wining designed for touch notebook with active pen. The Liquid S2: Full HD 6″ display with 4K recording.
Highlights from Acer’s Computex Global Press Conference, product booth, and Tiësto party
See what happended during Acer’s Global Press Conference in New York City on May 3rd, 2013. Redefining the computing experience.

AcerCloud™ – Be Free! [Acer YouTube channel, Oct 23, 2012]

AcerCloud lets you access your photos, music, videos and documents wirelessly and simultaneously on all devices anytime and anywhere – it enriches your life with more freedom! See how AcerCloud saves Roy from Major embarrassment! -http://bit.ly/AcerCloud

AND BACK THEN: May 9, 2011: Interview [AllThingsD]: Ousted Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci Talks About His Departure

… Lanci said he was pushing the company to become more mobile-focused and more global. Acer, he said, needed to look beyond Taiwan as the world shifted to one in which Intel and Microsoft had less power and computer makers needed to do more work for themselves. … “The real major issue was doing that in Taiwan, this was not possible,” Lanci said. “We needed to go outside Taiwan, be it China or India or even the U.S. or Europe, wherever you can find software resources, software know-how.”

What Lanci wanted to move beyond:

Some highlights of the Acer Global Press Conference held in New York on November 23, 2010. Clear.fi, the Acer media sharing system, evolves with the introduction of some brand new products. Iconia, dual screen device, offers an entirely new touch experience, the new tablets ensure HD entertainment and Alive, the next generation content store, provides users with content tailored to their personal interests.
Dual-screen, multi-touch: ICONIA is the new 14-inches tablet that incorporates the best features of any notebook or tablet device and much more! Thanks to its innovative concept ICONIA was the proud winner of the ‘Last Gadget Standing’ competition at CES 2011, Las Vegas. Welcome to a brand new computing and touch experience!
Take a closer look at liquid mini, the compact and stylish Acer smartphone that packs maximum possibilities in a minimum size. Discover how many features are enclosed in this charming Android smartphone: multi-touch display, 5 megapixels camera, Acer’s exclusive Social Jogger app that integrates updates from your social network accounts into one feed… and much more!
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the new Acer Iconia Tab family was officially introduced: see here the Iconia Tab A500, with a 10.1 display and Android OS, Iconia Tab A100, 7″ display with Android, and Iconia Tab W500, with 10.1″ display and Windows OS.
NY Global Press Conference, November 23rd, 2010 – Iconia, the outstanding Acer’s dual screen device with all-point multi touch functionality, and the 10.1″ Windows tablet, completely touch screen but also equipped with a docking device that includes a keyboard, introduced by Jim Wong, Senior Corporate Vice President, Acer Group, President ITGO, Acer Inc.
NY Global Press Conference, November 23rd, 2010 – Enter into the world of Clear.fi: the smartest way to enjoy multimedia at home. Jim Wong, Senior Corporate Vice President, Acer Group, President ITGO, Acer Inc., explains that contents stored on any Clear.fi enabled devices can be shared seamlessly with the other devices using the same interface. Take also a look to the new 10.1″ tablet that ensure powerful performances, the 7″ tablet, ideal on the go, and, finally, the 4.8″phone that is a real mini tablet!

 

The Acer Group is the culmination of years of innovation and change. We have become the global group we are today by adhering to the values and principles we established at our foundation. The language of these values may have changed, but our respect for and dedication to them has not.

ACER GROUP CORE VALUES:

The way we must act:
(1) Innovative
(2) Fast
(3) Effective

The pillars on which we must base our actions:

(1) Value Creating
(2) Customer-centric
(3) Ethical
(4) Caring

THE ACER GROUP’S MISSION:

User-friendly technology makes all the difference in today’s world. Indeed, the innovation and breakthroughs that technology brings can change the course of history.” With this introduction, the Acer Chairman delivers a clear message of the responsibilities and opportunities that technology can provide. Breaking down the barriers between people and technology is not an isolated event. It’s an ongoing process that unlocks our potential to bring innovation to life and embrace the challenges of the future.

As Acer continues to break down barriers, we have the real possibility to make a difference to the world we live in.
J. T. Wang
Chairman, Acer Inc.

 

Lanci, who was replaced as CEO in March, said that the interests that control Acer were worried that his plan would lead to a de-Taiwanization of the company.

“I said, ‘Look, it is not de-Taiwanization,’” he said. “It is just globalization. If we want to be in the top three (PC makers) in the next three to five years, we need to be a global company and we need to leverage resources wherever they are.”

Although today’s tablets are a consumer phenomenon, Lanci said the push by Microsoft to deliver Windows on ARM-based chips will help the devices move solidly into the business domain.

“You can easily think about a tablet thin and light, like the current iPad 2,” he said, but offering everything that the PC offers as well. However, he said that Acer needed to do more to prepare for that world. In addition to boosting its own software capabilities, he said the company needed a different relationship with chipmakers. The PC world, he said, was one of buying and selling components, with pricing and availability based solely on volume. The mobile world, he said, is based on close partnerships and strategic alliances.

As for who is doing things right, Apple is clearly winning, but there are others also making moves to adjust for the shifting world.

“I see Samsung is probably doing the right thing,” he said. “HP, maybe. It depends what they are going to do with software and with WebOS.”

However, he said much of the PC industry is in a similar position where Acer was.

So with Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation as the result of Acer Q3’13 Financial Results: Consolidated Revenue NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), Operating Loss NT$2.57B (US$86.61M), Intangible Asset Impairment NT$9.94B (US$335.13M) leading PC vendors of the past should take advice from Dell Goes Private: 8 Things To Expect [InformationWeek, Nov 4, 2013]

Dell CEO Michael Dell took the company private to gain more independence from Wall Street investors. Now that the buyout’s cleared, what moves can customers expect?

After eight months of maneuvering, Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell has finally taken the company private. Dell executives remained tightlipped about the buyout as the process wore on, and as the flailing PC market continued to punish the company’s margins. But now that Dell has officially delisted, many of its enterprise customers no doubt are asking the question: How will this affect me?

Many have probably been asking the question for months. Activist investors such as Carl Icahn at times appeared to have the upper hand against Michael Dell. It seemed plausible at points that the founder might be ousted from his own company, or that pieces of the company might be sold off.

And even after it became clear Michael Dell would prevail, questions still remained. Observers widely interpreted that Dell didn’t want the burden of Wall Street’s quarterly scrutiny; after all, it’s hard to invest in new enterprise services when shareholders are howling about PC profits every three months. But now that Dell has rid himself of investor pressure, the question still remains: What will he do with his new flexibility, and how will it help customers?

Dell North America President PH Ferrand spoke withInformationWeek about Dell’s strategy as a privately held company. Here are eight takeaways from the conversation.

1. Dell can make investments as a private company that it couldn’t make as a public company.

Ferrand affirmed one of the buyout process’s dominant narratives: that from Dell’s perspective, Wall Street was more trouble than it was worth. Ferrand said going private will give the company more flexibility. It “might not have been obvious to investors” when the company needed to double down on investments, he said.

2. Dell sees no reason to make a smartphone but will continue to make PCs.

“Very few players make money [selling smartphones],” Ferrand said. “We don’t feel we have to be in the space.”

That’s consistent with what Michael Dell told InformationWeek last year at Dell World. But many of the device manufacturers with which Dell competes have started positioning smartphones as a gateway to consumer sales and BYOD business. Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s device business is a notable example. Execs at HP, another company struggling to adjust to the mobile world, have repeatedly indicated that a smartphone is coming.

Why is Dell still resisting the trend? “The IT market is a $3 trillion business and we are about 2% of that,” Ferrand said. “We don’t need to have phones to get to 3% or 4%.”

Even so, Ferrand said Dell remains committed to PCs and intends to become a leader in the commercial tablet space. He said he can’t rule out a Dell smartphone eventually but predicted that in the meantime, people will soon stop differentiating between tablets and computers; instead, they’ll simply talk broadly about mobile devices. If this revolution in user behavior happens, Dell hopes its Venue 11 Pro tablet will be one of the devices that gets it started; a “three-in-one” device, it attaches to a keyboard to become a laptop and docks to an external monitor to become a desktop replacement.

3. Dell will focus on the hybrid cloud.

Ferrand highlighted hybrid cloud services as a market on which Dell will focus, and which Dell sees as ripe for growth. “We want to dominate hybrid,” he said, explaining that customers want a company that will allow them to be flexible with their data. Customers want to move applications between private and public clouds as they see fit, and they want security from outages and data leaks, he said. He cited some of the investments Dell has already made to fulfill these needs, such as its acquisition of Gale, a company that makes cloud automation tools.

But he said direct relationships with customers would be one of Dell’s defining traits as it builds its cloud business. With competitors such as HP, Microsoft, IBM and others occupying the same space, Dell hopes it can stand out not only with its products but also by serving as a “trusted advisor” for its customers.

4. Dell wants to enable IT to manage BYOD and fragmented workplaces.

Ferrand said device choice has become a smaller part of Dell’s conversations with customers. The reason? Dell’s cloud, virtualization and device management products allow companies to employ applications to whomever needs them, regardless of what kind device the person is using.

“Connecting devices” will be one of Dell’s core competencies as a private company, Ferrand said, and it will involve a variety of products from the company’s existing portfolio, from Wyse technologies for thin clients, to KACE products for management and deployment, to Credent technologies for added security. Device management tools and virtual desktop products are fairly common, but Dell hopes the breadth of its offerings can help it to stand out. This “one-stop shop” mentality plays in the “trusted advisor” persona noted above. Ferrand said the attitude would apply to all Dell’s businesses.

5. Dell will invest in next-gen data center technologies and big-data products.

Ferrand also said Dell would continue to focus on next-generation data center products and big-data applications. The company has already achieved some early momentum with its Active System line ofconverged infrastructure products, as well as its hyperscale servers built around energy-efficient ARM processors. But for both these data centers products and its emerging analytics tools to stand out in the crowded market, Dell will need to continue showing that its software assets are starting to coalesce. The company spent several years acquiring software patents and expertise, but Dell’s success will rely on integrating all of the technologies at the right price and pace.

6. Dell will increase its international sales coverage.

U.S. customers currently account for an inordinate amount of Dell’s business but the company believes emerging markets will be central to its long-term success. Ferrand said the company will continue to participate heavily with channel partners but will also expand its fleet of direct sales representatives throughout the world.

7. Dell will continue to focus on the middle market.

As its enterprise portfolio has expanded, Dell has tried to carve out a niche by delivering enterprise-class resources to SMBs and mid-market customers. Ferrand said Dell will continue this strategy as a private company partly because the middle market contains the largest group of potential customers. But he said this focus also enables Dell to design more flexible products. It’s easier to scale up a mid-market architecture than to affordably repackage one designed for large companies, he said.

8. Dell will execute moves more quickly than in the past.

Ferrand didn’t offer any hints regarding big moves Dell might be planning — such as another major acquisition, or some kind of new product launch. But he said customers can expect Dell to quicken the pace of innovation. As a publicly-traded corporation, the company faced a variety of hurdles in making aggressive moves. But with Michael Dell now securely in the driver’s seat, Ferrand said changes will unroll much more quickly.


2. Taiwan is still confused:

China Times: China’s Internet phenomenon sends warning to Taiwan [Focus Taiwan, Nov 6, 2013]

MomentCam, a mobile app that transforms pictures into cartoons, has quickly shot to popularity since its launch on Aug. 31, drawing 18.24 million users over the past two months.

The Chinese company that developed the app, founded by Ren Xiaoqing, has obtained new investment of 30 million Chinese yuan since the app hit the market.

The success story marks the rise of yet another Chinese Internet entrepreneur after Ma Huateng of Tencent Inc., Jack Ma of Alibaba Group, Yao Jinbo of 58.com Inc., and Zhuang Chenchao of qunar.com.

China’s booming Internet sector stands in sharp contrast to the situation in Taiwan, where the country’s star ICT industry has been losing its luster and the economy remains sluggish.

Taiwan’s ICT companies have hit a bottleneck because they have failed to reposition themselves from contract manufacturers to technology developers. In order to rescue the ICT industry, it is crucial for Taiwan to take part in the thriving Internet economy.

Google Inc. has seen its share price soar from US$85 to over US$1,000 within the nine years since it was launched in 2004, and it currently has a market value of US$338 billion. The market capitalization of Facebook, meanwhile, has reached 1.3 times that of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. — the world’s largest contract chip maker.

Taiwan’s ICT companies must not continue to confine themselves to the contract manufacturing market. The government should promote an alliance between the ICT industries of Taiwan and China and remove the current restrictions on the flows of information, talent and capital across the Taiwan Strait to salvage Taiwan’s dying economy. (Editorial abstract — Nov. 6, 2013)

MomentCam app, China’s latest overnight sensation [WantChinaTimes.com, Nov 6, 2013]

imageThree cartoon portraits made with the MomentCam app. (Internet Photo)
A smartphone application that converts pictures of the user into cute cartoon characters has become a hit overnight in China, with the number of subscribers topping 20 million in the fourth months after its launch.
The application, called MomentCam in English — a phonetic rendering of the Chinese which means “magic manga camera,” rose to the top of the free apps category on the Apple online store in China in just three days and notched a record 3.25 million subscribers a day. On the back of its rapid success, it recently attracted a 10 million yuan (US$1.64 million) loan.
The software was created by two young people, Ren Xiaoqing and Huang Guangming, both members of the Dark Horse Development Camp, a platform dedicated to startups.
Ren Xiaoqian, a fine-arts major, conceived of the idea when working as a souvenir designer for Walmart in the US in 2006. “A popular [design] for Walmart back then was planting a human face on the body of a cartoon character, although the effect was quite ugly as well as the dark background. This gave me the idea to render photographs of people in a cartoony comic style, believing that it would be even more popular,” Ren said.
In 2008, she encountered Huang Guangming, then a manager at Microsoft, and they decided to combine their respective expertise in the fields of fine art and computing by returning to China to found a startup.
The company initially dedicated itself to the production of custom-made cartoon souvenirs for some major local companies before Ren decided to switch to online business entirely due to the ceiling for offline products and her dislike of the need to entertain clients to drum up business.
From a slow start, the MomentCam app suddenly became a hit overnight. “We were not mentally prepared for the phenomenal growth of subscribers,” Ren admitted. The number of downloads topped 1 million in one month and 10 million in three months as people became aware of the software, which converts a photograph of a human into a cartoon figure in the space of a few seconds.
Ren said the challenge now is how to maintain the number of subscribers to avoid it becoming a short-lived fad, a fate that has befallen a great many applications in China.

Windows 8.1 tablet sales 20-30% below expectations [DIGITIMES, Oct 31, 2013]

Channel retailers are seeing their Windows 8.1-based tablet sales in October 20-30% below than their original expectations, despite strong price/performance ratios.

Asustek Computer’s recently released Transformer Book T100 is priced at US$349 for a 32GB model and US$399 for 64GB and after bundling with telecom services, the 64GB model’s price drops from NT$12,900 (US$438) to NT$5,000-6,000 in Taiwan.

Sources from channel retailers pointed out that the weakening Windows 8.1 tablet demand is due to competition from PC and Android-based tablets. Most of these products have received price cuts after the release of Windows 8.1-based 2-in-1 devices.

Since Windows 8.1-based tablets are starting to face problems similar to those of previous Windows-based models, the sources are concerned that inventory issues may rise again in 2014.

So far, channel retailers have not yet received any word about price cuts from brand vendors, but some retailers expect Windows 8.1 tablets to receive over 20% discounts in December for the year-end shopping season.

Dell expected to overtake Acer to become third-largest notebook vendor in 2014, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Sept 17, 2013]

Microsoft’s ending Windows XP technical support in April 2014 has triggered growing replacement of business-use notebooks, and this is expected to significantly benefit Dell because Dell has more focus on business-use modes than other notebook vendors, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Consequently, Dell is expected to surpass Acer to become the global third-largest notebook vendor in 2014.

Notebook vendors normally do not rely on business-use models for volume shipments mainly because sales are subject to the government sector’s and enterprises’ procurement scheduling, the sources indicated. But while demand for consumer notebooks has been shrinking due to competition from tablets and smartphones, business-use models have become the main source of growth for notebook vendors, the sources said.

Dell is expected to continue to focus on the business-use market segment, especially after its privatization, the sources noted. Dell shipped 9.285 million notebooks globally in the first half of 2013, ranking fourth next to Acer’s shipments of 9.814 million units, the sources cited IDC statistics as indicating.

Commentary: Suppliers need to prepare for Dell strategy change [DIGITIMES, Sept 27, 2013]

As Dell is expected to become privatized, Taiwan’s upstream component suppliers may need to start preparing for the US vendor’s business reorganization.
Michael Dell previously said that the company will accelerate its reorganization after becoming privatized and though the PC business will not be abandoned, it will surely no longer be the major focus of the US vendor.
Dell’s financial report for the second quarter showed that the company still had about 33% of profits coming from computing-related product lines including desktops, notebooks and tablets. However, as the PC industry continues to decline, placing less emphasis on the PC business is a path Dell is likely to take in order to achieve growth in the future.
The PC industry has already been shrinking for two consecutive years and is expected to continue declining in 2014. Although Wintel has been aggressively releasing new products and cutting prices, it has been unable to stimulate PC demand. This is a clear indication that the industry has already entered the decline stage and users may only replace their PC products when they are no long functional.
PCs still have low penetration in emerging markets, but as consumers of these markets are also having high interest in smartphones and tablets, the PC industry is unlikely to return to a growth track through these markets.
With the integration between software and hardware becoming a new trend of the IT market, upstream suppliers may also need to start preparing for Dell’s future strategy of combining software design with hardware products.

Dell optimistic about Windows 8.1 for enterprise PCs [DIGITIMES, Aug 29, 2013]

As Microsoft is ready to release Windows 8.1 on October 18, Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman and president of Global Operations and End User Computing Solutions, has expressed his optimism about the operating system. Compared to Android and iOS, Windows’ security and management abilities will allow the OS to become the top pick of the enterprise PC industry, Clarke noted.

Although Clarke has mentioned that Dell is planning to release several Windows-based tablets in the second half, he has not provided much detail for the related plans.

However, sources from the upstream supply chain has revealed that Dell is currently planning to release an 8-inch Windows-based tablet in the second half, targeting mainly the enterprise market.

In addition, Dell is also considering releasing a 10.6-inch Windows tablet, adopting either a Core i or an Atom processor, the sources added.

Dell aims to strengthen software businesses in Greater China [DIGITIMES, June 24, 2013]

Dell has set up four major departments, End-User Computing, Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG), Dell Software Group (DSG) and Services, and plans to strengthen businesses in Greater China in 2013.
The DSG was established earlier in 2013, while the Service department was formed only three years ago. With the four departments, Dell is able to push complete solutions as well as increase service consulting for its clients in Greater China.
Dell has been acquiring solution providers in the market since 2010 and has acquired players such as Kace, SonicWall and Quest. Thanks to the acquisitions, Dell Taiwan’s software solution business currently has over one thousand clients that are using its solution services including datacenter, cloud computing, information and data management, mobile office management and security and data protection.
Currently, Dell has about 40-50 service consultants for the Greater China region and is currently hiring more to support demand from the information and data management service sectors.
Dell Taiwan president Terence Liao pointed out that Dell’s global revenues in 2012 were about US$50 billion and the software segment contributed about US$1.5 billion. Since Dell Taiwan’s software business also shared a similar proportion, it shows that the software business has already become a focus at Dell.
In the future, Liao expects Dell Taiwan’s sales growth to be driven mainly by cloud computing and security and data protection services, and therefore will offer promotions to push the two services in the channel.


3. How Acer’s “new strategy” that has been in place since April 1, 2011 came to an end:

FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS:

May 8, 2013: Acer forecasts shipment growth in Q2 (update)

Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Wednesday that it is aiming for single-digit growth in shipments in the current quarter after returning to profitability in the first quarter.
Acer Corporate President Jim Wong told an investor conference that he expects shipments of Acer’s notebooks, netbooks and tablets to remain flat or increase by up to 5 percent in the second quarter.
The company said its total PC shipments fell 11 percent sequentially in the first quarter, but it did not disclose the actual number of units shipped.
According to data compiled by research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), Acer shipments plunged 31.3 percent year-on-year to 6.15 million units in the first quarter, well below the industry’s average of a 13.9 percent decline.
Wong said touch-enabled notebooks are expected to account for about 25 percent of Acer’s total notebook shipments in the second quarter, and that the ratio is likely to hit 30 to 35 percent by the end of the year.
J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said his company plans to break even in the second quarter, when the shipping quantity of its touch notebooks is expected to double those shipped in the first quarter.
He said Acer will continue to make more efforts in customer-centric designs and marketing to help the company regain growth momentum in the next decade.
“Our approach is to focus on driving valuable growth that is profitable and enhances Acer brand value,” Wang said.
The company’s operating margin in the quarter was 0.03 percent, and it had consolidated revenue of NT$91.7 billion (US$3.08 billion), down 9.4 percent from the previous quarter due to seasonal factors.
The company’s first quarter net income was NT$515 million, or NT$0.19 per share, derived mainly from non-operating income such as foreign exchange gains and the disposal of stock.
Acer’s operating income was NT$29 million, compared with an operating loss of NT$3.37 billion in the fourth quarter of last year that included a NT$3.5 billion intangible asset impairment charge for the loss in value of its rights to four trademarks.
Acer unveiled a series of Windows 8-based laptops and tablets in New York on May 3 in a bid to boost shipments and strengthen its bottom line, but the company is still struggling to cope with weak PC demand and strong competition from other brands.
Kirk Yang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at British banking group Barclays Plc, said Acer’s operating margin of 0.03 percent was much lower than his forecast of 0.18 percent and a consensus estimate of 0.17 percent by Bloomberg.
“We expect Acer to guide revenue to grow by single digits sequentially, after posting quarter-on-quarter revenue contraction for five quarters in a row,” Yang said in a note to clients before the investor meeting.
“However, we estimate that Acer’s operating margin in the second quarter of 2013 will not see any meaningful recovery due to weakening global PC demand and more low-priced tablet PC shipments in the mix,” he wrote.
Barclays forecast that Acer’s sales revenue will grow 4.8 percent for the whole of 2013, with its operating margin improved to 0.8 percent. It maintained an “equal-weight” rating and a target price of NT$24 on the stock.
Acer shares closed up 2.26 percent at NT$24.85 before the announcement of the quarterly results.

August 8, 2013: Acer aiming to break even in Q3

Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Thursday it expects to break even or record a small operating loss in the third quarter of 2013, despite its disappointing results in the previous quarter.
The company’s mobile PC shipments — including notebooks, netbooks and tablets — are forecast to grow by 0-5 percent sequentially in the third quarter, Acer Corporate President Jim Wong told investors in a conference call.
However, Acer has lowered its annual tablet shipment target to between 5.5 million and 6.5 million units, from its projection in May of 5 million to 10 million units, Wong said.
He said touch-enabled notebooks will account for 20-25 percent of Acer’s total laptop shipments this year, below its previous estimate of 30 percent, in light of weakening demand for such products.
“I think applications are most important. Today, there are still no killer applications for touch (notebooks),” Wong said in the conference call.
Asked about Acer’s full-year outlook, he said the company is trying to “sustain its market share while protecting its bottom line.”
The company is aiming to stay profitable in 2013 after registering losses over the past two years, Wong indicated.
J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the company is expanding its non-Windows business, including Android-based tablets and smartphones, as well as the web-centric Chromebook laptops promoted by Google Inc.
Non-Windows business is expected to make up 10-12 percent of Acer’s revenue this year and 20-30 percent next year, Wang said.
Acer reported an operating loss of NT$613 million (US$20.47 million) for the second quarterfollowing six consecutive quarters of operating profit — because of increasing investment and the rising cost of memory chips.
For the first six months of 2013, the Taiwanese PC maker’s consolidated revenue fell 18.9 percent year-on-year to NT$181.35 billion, resulting in an operating loss of NT$585 million and earnings per share of NT$0.06.
British bank Barclays Plc maintained its “equal-weight” rating on Acer shares and cut its earnings per share estimates by 5.4 percent for 2013, and by 5.3 percent for 2014, forecasting a contraction in Acer’s sales and more competition pressure.
“We expect Acer’s sales to continue to be weak and do not expect any further momentum currently,” Kirk Yang, head of Asia ex-Japan Tech Hardware Research at Barclays, said in a research note dated Aug. 6.
“We expect Acer will face a more competitive situation in the tablet and notebook segments in the near term and we don’t see it having an obvious plan in place to react,” said Yang, who reduced his price target on the stock from NT$24 to NT$23.
Acer shares ended 3.97 percent lower at NT$20.55 Thursday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

August 30, 2013: Talk of the Day — Will Acer be sold or merged?

Acer Inc., Taiwan’s leading computer vendor, has seen its share price plunge to historically low levels in recent months.
Market sources said earlier this week that investment banks are planning to broker a merger between Acer and one of two major rivals — Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer or China’s Lenovo Group.
Acer founder Stan Shih said Thursday that he had an open mind toward such an overture.
I would let nature take its course,” Shih said, but he added that no investment bankers have approached him for such talks.
In charting the company’s future development strategy or direction, Shih said, the rights and interests of all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders and society at large, should be priority concerns.
Shih has retired and is no longer involved in Acer’s management, but he remains the company’s largest shareholder, controlling 2.64 percent of its shares. His wife has a similar sized stake in the company.
Shares of Acer gained 2.57 percent to close at NT$19.95 Friday.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of Shih’s views on Acer’s future:
Economic Daily News:
Acer spokesman Henry Wang said Thursday that the company has never thought about a merger with any other corporation.
We are restructuring and streamlining our operations, and focusing more on innovating,” Wang said.
While the company is tapping into the ever-expanding tablet market to help compensate for declining PC sales, it has also launched a new generation of laptops and desktops, including an ultra-thin laptop-tablet hybrid, he said.
In the past, some foreign analysts have suggested that Taiwan’s two leading PC makers — Acer and AsusTek — should merge to expand their operating scale and enhance their international competitiveness.
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang also said previously that Lenovo, which has emerged as the world’s second largest PC vendor and has a comprehensive portfolio of products, proposed a few years ago to buy out Acer, but Wang said he politely rejected such an offer.
On Thursday, Stan Shih was asked to comment on reports that investment banks intend to mediate an Acer-AsusTek merger or an Acer-Lenovo merger.
Shih said Acer is not a company that can be evaluated solely in financial terms.
“Capitalists tend to assess things simply in monetary terms, but Acer has something invaluable,” Shih said.
As one of Taiwan’s few international brands, Shih said, Acer has come a long way and overcome numerous challenges in building up its brand recognition.
“I hope local people will give Acer more encouragement and support,” Shih said. (Aug. 30, 2013).
China Times:
Shih said a company’s share price is not the sole indicator used to assess a company’s value.
“I have not been bothered by fluctuations in Acer’s share price,” Shih said Thursday when chairing an event marking the start of applications for this year’s Acer Digital Award.
But he added that the PC industry is changing rapidly.
“We should let nature take its course. If somebody wants to take over Acer at a price beyond what anybody could imagine and create an even better brand based on it, why we should resist such a deal,” he said. (Aug. 30, 2013).

May 11, 2013: Acer, Asustek upbeat about Windows 8 market reception

Taiwan-based Acer Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc., two of the world’s leading personal computer vendors, are optimistic about the market reception of Microsoft Corp.’s latest operating system Windows 8, which is to be revamped, market sources said Saturday.
Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said Microsoft is eager to communicate with hardware device providers like Acer in an attempt to improve the Windows 8 functions and make the platform more user-friendly.
Amid lackluster market reception since the new Microsoft operating system was launched at the end of October 2012, the U.S.-based software giant said it is planning to revamp the OS so that consumers will learn how to use the new platform more quickly.
The plan to launch a new version of Windows 8 was announced after Tami Reller, Microsoft’s chief marketing and financial officer, conceded that it was not easy for consumers to get used to the platform.
Many business users have been urging Microsoft to restore the “Start” button in its latest OS. In the earlier Windows versions, the icon appears in the lower-left corner of the computer screen, but is not visible in the latest software.
To stir up buying interest, Microsoft has lowered its royalties by US$20-US$30 (NT$600-NT$1,000) on touch notebook computers 11.6 inches or smaller, while offering incentives to distributors of Windows 8 tablet computers.
Market sources said Microsoft is expected to cut its royalties on Windows 8 tablet computers so that they can be sold at around US$199-US$349 and thus make them more competitive in the market.
Wang said the changes in Microsoft’s strategy will have a positive effect on market reception of the Windows 8 OS and also on the future development of the PC industry.
Acer said that with touch devices becoming the mainstream in the PC market, it will continue to unveil tablets, touch ultrabook computers, and combination PCs and smartphones, all running either Windows 8 or Google’s Android operating system.
Meanwhile, Asustek said Windows 8 is a good product, although some consumers have not gotten used to it. Once Microsoft revamps the OS, sales of Windows 8 mobile devices will pick up, Asustek said.

June 3, 2013: COMPUTEX: Acer unveils new product lines

imageAcer Chairman J.T. Wang (left) holds the 8-inch Iconia W3,
and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Birkin holds the 5.7-inch Liquid S1.

Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. unveiled a series of new products Monday, including an 8-inch Windows tablet and a 5.7-inch phablet.

At an international press conference held under the theme of “Redefining Technology Through Touch,” Acer showcased a wide array of its latest products one day ahead of Asia’s largest computer trade show.

The 8-inch Iconia W3, one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets on the market, weighs 500 grams and is less than half an inch thick. With a battery life of eight hours, the device can beam out 720p video playback on a 1,280 x 800 display. It also comes with an optional full-size keyboard.

The company also displayed its first phone-tablet hybrid product, the Liquid S1, with the aim of gaining traction in the fast-growing hybrid market.

The new quad-core phablet features a 5.7-inch 720p display, weighs 195 grams and runs on Google’s Android 4.2 operating system.

Acer projected that the global phablet market will grow to about 10 million units in 2013, up from between 7 million and 8 million units last year.

June 3, 2013: COMPUTEX: Acer unveils new product lines (update)

Acer Chairman J.T. Wang said on the sidelines of the launch ceremony that touch technology applications have become all the rage, and this will continue in the future.

“It’s all about touch,” he said, adding that the launch of the new products is expected to meet consumer demand.


4. The road which lead to Acer downfall
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Acer press release:

March 31, 2011: Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci resigns – With immediate effect

Gianfranco Lanci is appointed President of Acer Inc., effective January 2005 … Current President, J.T. Wang, will step into the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as Stan Shih retires from Acer at the end of this year. The new positions are effective from 1 January 2005. Lanci’s designation marks Acer’s appreciation for his outstanding performance in the European market, including his management style and successful business model – which may now extend to the Acer group worldwide. …
Acer’s Lanci Takes Over CEO Role [IDG News Service, June 13, 2008] … Gianfranco Lanci, who came to Acer from Texas Instruments (TI) when Acer bought the TravelMate laptop PC business from TI in 1997, will add the CEO position to his current role as president of Acer.
The company’s laptop business has been a driving force in its double-digit growth over the past few years and helped catapult Acer into the number-three spot in the PC industry.
J.T. Wang, the current chairman of Acer, relinquished his CEO title at Acer but took on the title of Acer Group CEO on Friday, Acer said in a statement.
Wang took over as chairman at Acer from company founder Stan Shih several years ago, after Acer split itself into three distinct companies in order to separate its branded business from its contract manufacturing operations. Acer took over as the branded company, while Wistron took most of the PC-related contract manufacturing and BenQ took on mobile phone and PC-related work.
Shih retired from Acer in December 2004.
Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci has resigned from the company, with immediate effect. Acer Chairman J.T. Wang takes acting role in the interim. The company has commenced with the planning of organizational and operational adjustments for the sustainable future of Acer.
The resignation was approved at a meeting of Acer’s Board of Directors today, and the company has communicated internally with its worldwide employees.

On the company’s future development, Lanci held different views from a majority of the board members, and could not reach a consensus following several months’ of dialog. They placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation.

The change does not affect current operations which are functioning as normal. Acer’s strong management team of multi-nationals has been well-informed and is committed to overseeing and implementing the company strategies, as does the amicable company relations with industry partners persist. Acer will continue to push for globalization, follow its multi-brand and channel business model, develop competitive products and services, and foster closer relations with key vendors and channel partners.

Acer Chairman, J.T. Wang expresses, “The personal computer remains the core of our business. We have built up a strong foundation and will continue to expand within, especially in the commercial PC segment. In addition, we are stepping into the new mobile device market, where we will invest cautiously and aim to become one of the leading players.”

“In this new ICT industry,” continued Wang, “Acer needs a period of time for adjustment. With the spirit of entrepreneurship, we will face new challenges and look to the future with confidence.”

In his role as President and CEO, Lanci has contributed significantly toward Acer’s growth. The company expresses its true appreciation for Lanci’s efforts and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.

April 19, 2011: Acer appoints Jim Wong as Corporate President – Through teamwork, company to face challenges and embrace opportunities of the new ICT industry

Acer Inc.’s board of directors has approved the candidacy of Jim Wong as the new Corporate President, with immediate effect. Wong previously held the positions of corporate senior vice president and president of IT Products Group (ITGO). Together with Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang, they will lead the company forward to embrace new challenges and opportunities in the new ICT age.

Acer Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang … “As the ICT industry shifts from single to multiple operating system platforms, it opens up new challenges as well as new opportunities. Acer needs a leader who is familiar with technology, as well as understands the market. We reviewed Jim’s potential and agreed he would fit well in the role.”

The rapid growth from data-creation to data-consumption devices is increasing the ICT market scale and opening up new prospects. Acer will aggressively yet cautiously develop data-consumption products, tablet PCs and smartphones based on the solid foundation of the main PC business.

Jim Wong, new corporate president of Acer states, “The IT industry is encountering a profound change. I foresee many new opportunities and am ready to face the challenges ahead. I will encourage teamwork throughout the company and work closely with the new management team. We are ready with a clear set of goals and action plans.”

In the PC business, Acer will continue to seek volume/shipment growth, but we must optimize our multi-brand strategy by having clear differentiation of the brands’ positioning and create value for our customers. Concurrently, Acer shall focus on developing selective models for mobile devices to lay a solid foundation for the future.
Three key principles have been defined by Acer’s new management to ensure successful decision making:

  • Promote the spirit of teamwork to enhance company’s overall competitiveness, and encourage closer communication between front-end and back-end management teams for better mutual understanding.
  • Simplify operational systems and processes to boost effectiveness and speed.
  • Strengthen corporate governance and enhance company sustainability.

Wong joined Acer in 1986, with experience in sales, product marketing, product development, with a keen understanding of ODM supplier operations and the brand business. In 2001 when he took charge of the ITGO, he has been one of the core members of Acer’s top management team. In 2005 he was promoted to corporate senior vice president.

Born in 1958, Wong holds a bachelor degree, majoring in mathematics from Soochow University in Taiwan, and an MBA from Emory University, Georgia, USA.  In 1999 he received Taiwan’s 17th Annual Management of Excellency Award.

Acer ICONIA [press release, Nov 23, 2011]

Not so long ago mobile computing devices with touch screens were only found in science fiction. Now Acer presents ICONIA, a new concept device set to add a brand new tablet experience, combining the versatility of a conventional 14” form factor with a unique dual-screen layout and highly intuitive all-point multi-touch functionality, which means you can use all the fingers of your hands to navigate ICONIA.

If you are looking for a different and innovative approach to personal computing, look no further. With its two all-point multi-touch displays Acer ICONIA offers an enhanced content consumption experience and brings the interaction with the tablet to a new level.

Multimedia, entertainment, communication, web browsing and office productivity seamlessly flow across the dual screen, allowing users to set the best scenario for what they are doing. To improve readability of web sites or documents, the window can be spread across both screens. But the dual screen also means you can do one thing in one screen and something else entirely on the other: you can browse a website on the top screen and view the contents of your favourite folder on the bottom one or you can watch a video on the top screen and check out your multimedia library in the other.

“We took this insight and created a range of easy to use devices with touch technology including Smartphones, Notebooks, AIO PCs, Tablet and our latest addition, the ICONIA Touchbook: this level of commitment to touch technology is something no other PC vendor can compete with.” states Jim Wong Acer Inc. Vice President and ITGO President. “The Intel® Core™ i5 processor together with our experience with touch technology has allowed us to completely remap the user experience to create a far more natural interaction with our devices.

April 19, 2011: Acer establishes Touch Business Group to enhance development of new mobile devices

  • Acer Corporate President Jim Wong to lead Touch Business Group
  • Campbell Kan to lead PC Global Operations
  • Walter Deppeler to lead Chief Marketing Office

Acer Inc. announces organizational adjustments in separating the back-end product-line operations into two independent entities: Touch Business Group (Touch BG) and PC Global Operations (PCGO) lead by new Acer corporate president, Jim Wong, and Campbell Kan, former VP of the smart handheld business unit, respectively. In addition, Acer announces new functions for mid- and long-term business planning and operation analysis.

To make significant inroads in the mobile device business, Acer has reorganized the former IT product global operations into two independent entities. The newly founded Touch BG comprises of the former tablet PC and smartphone teams, while the PCGO consists of the main PC product lines.

The Touch BG shall be led by new Acer corporate president, Jim Wong, and president of Eten Information Systems, Simon Hwang, concurrently appointed deputy president of Touch BG.

Acer president, Jim Wong, states, “Touch/mobile devices open up a host of new opportunities. They form Acer’s new business and growth engine for the future. To focus on this market, we saw the need to allocate sufficient resources, and devise a new management structure different from the PC business specifically for this line of business.”

New Functions
Acer also creates three new functions deemed necessary for company’s competitive development, they are: Chief Marketing Office (CMO) – responsible for brand position and marketing strategy; Chief Technology Office (CTO) – responsible for mid to long term planning and integration of technologies; and Operation Analysis Office (OAO) – for studying and analyzing company business models and financial affairs.

Senior corporate VP and EMEA president, Walter Deppeler, shall concurrently serve as CMO, while Tiffany Huang, AVP of supply chain operations will concurrently oversee the OAO. The CTO will be jointly led by former VP of quality and service, Jackson Lin, former CTO of products development, R.C. Chang, and former VP of technology center, Arif Maskatia.

May 26, 2011: Acer’s manufacturing base in Chongqing commences operation – Ceremony to mark milestone achievement joined by Mayor Huang Qifan and Acer President Jim Wongise competitiveness on a global scale.

Acer’s new global IT manufacturing center in Chongqing has commenced production. Today a ceremony attended by Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan and Acer President Jim Wong was held to mark this achievement. The city of Chongqing in western China offers excellent infrastructure including land and air transportation, and stable manpower supply. The newly operational manufacturing center is expected to enhance Acer’s worldwide business and logistics to boost overall competitiveness.

Acer President, Jim Wong, remarked, “Our decision to go west in China is a global strategy. Since December last year, the steps in setting up this manufacturing base have been smooth, enabling our production start in May. Acer is extremely grateful for the support of the Chongqing government and our manufacturing partners to make this a possibility.”

“Major OEM companies have already set foot in Chongqing and all will begin shipping by the second half of this year,” continued Wong. “Key component suppliers have also set up presence here to create a complete supply chain. To begin with, we will produce our notebook and netbook PCs in Chongqing and gradually expand our manufacturing volume. By the end of 2011, 30-40% of our total notebook and netbook PCs will be produced here.”

June 1, 2011: Acer Chairman & CEO to relinquish his remuneration

Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang is taking responsibility of the one-time write-off totaling US$150 million by relinquishing total remuneration from his position as director of the company board, as well as employee bonus of  2010.

With Acer’s substantial loss in write-off, Wang deeply feels regretful of the current situation and will dedicate his efforts fully to investigating the reasons behind the loss and to improving internal management.

July 18, 2011: Dave Chan appointed General Manager of China Operations, Acer Touch Business Group – Focus on penetration into China touch mobile device market

Global IT industry veteran, Dave Chan, has been appointed General Manager of China Operations, Acer Touch Business Group. Under Chan’s leadership, Acer expects to accelerate penetration into China’s smartphone and tablet PC market.

Chan has been working in the high-tech industry for more than 20 years, accumulating a wealth of experience in the consumer/retail business and operations with extensive geographic experiences ranging from global, regional (Asia) and country (China). Prior to this, he served as senior official for eight years at a first-tier IT company, responsible for notebooks, smartphones and tablet PCs in China.

Acer Corporate President, Jim Wong, said, “Touch mobile device is Acer’s new strategic business. While China’s huge IT market, with unique applications and customer segment, presents great business potential. To address these specific needs, we established a separate business group overseeing the China touch mobile device market and will allocate the needed human resource.”

“Dave will lead Acer’s touch business development team in China,” continued Wong, “cooperate with local telcos and operators on R&D, software, sales and services. His joining ensures that Acer has substantial leadership to steer this new business forward in China.”

To make significant inroads in the mobile device business, Acer announced in April the newly founded Touch Business Group comprising of the former tablet PC and smartphone teams, and directly overseen by Wong.
Chan holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University and MBA from Santa Clara University.

July 18, 2011: Acer sets up global R&D center in Chongqing – Focus on smart handheld application software and services

A new global R&D center, Acer Intellectual (Chongqing) Co. Ltd., was inaugurated today to enhance Acer’s development in smartphones and tablet PCs. The center shall cooperate with Chongqing municipal government and China Mobile Ltd. in researching and developing smart handheld devices as well as related software and services.

An inaugural ceremony was held today and joined by Chongqing government officials, during which Acer also signed an agreement with Chongqing Economic and IT Commission (CQEIC) and China Mobile’s Chongqing subsidiary (Chongqing Mobile) to jointly research and develop smart handheld devices, including smartphones and tablet PCs, application software and services.

To begin with, Acer will invest US$4 million in Acer Intellectual (Chongqing) Co. The center, led by Acer Corporate President Jim Wong, will also focus on the smart handheld user behavior study in the China market.

Acer’s R&D taskforce has already begun collaborating with Chongqing Mobile and local IT companies to successfully develop software applications for Android based TD (time domain) smartphones; the applications are used by Chongqing civil servants. Further on, together with Chongqing government, the center will develop smart handheld mobile terminals to provide more value-added services.

January 8, 2012: Acer Unveils World’s Thinnest Ultrabook: Aspire S5

“The Ultrabook is much more than just a product segment,” said Jim Wong, president of Acer Inc. “It’s a new trend that will become the mainstream for mobile PCs, and customers will see the unique features gradually extended across Acer’s notebook family.”

January 8, 2012: AcerCloud Connects All Personal Devices Securely for Anytime, Anywhere Access to Digital Media and Data

Acer today previewed its upcoming AcerCloud, which securely connects all personal smart devices for anytime, anywhere access. Featuring Acer Always Connect technology, users can retrieve multimedia and data files anytime, even when their main PC is in sleep (standby/hibernation) mode. Users can enjoy these advantages knowing that their information is stored and transferred securely via strong encryption and authentication. Bringing users tremendous functionality and value, Acer will include the AcerCloud, without additional cost, on all new Acer consumer PCs.

Acer reduces the complexities of today’s fast-paced lifestyles by developing solutions that enable devices to communicate, simplifying the process of content sharing. With the ever-growing number of smart digital devices, users need to share and back up their multimedia and data files in a simple, smart way.

Acer Inc. President Jim Wong stated, “AcerCloud not only provides the simplicity and efficiency when accessing and sharing data, but it’s also free with a new Acer PC and gives our users peace-of-mind, knowing that their data is safely transferred in a personal cloud space.”

AcerCloud will be bundled on all Acer consumer PCs starting Q2 2012. It will support all Android devices, while future support is planned for Windows-based devices. The service will be available in America, Europe, Asia and China.

August 30, 2012: Acer Steps Up Marketing, Engages Red Peak Group and Appoints Michael Birkin as Chief Marketing Officer

To energize and strengthen Acer’s global marketing organization, Acer will engage Red Peak Group, a global marketing services firm, and appoint Red Peak Chairman Michael Birkin as Acer Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This strategic move is aimed at strengthening Acer as a marketing-oriented company.

Red Peak will assign Birkin and other Red Peak members to perform related marketing functions and services for Acer. And as CMO, Birkin will lead the global brand marketing team, and report directly to Acer’s chairman and CEO, commencing October 1, 2012.

According to Acer Chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang, “Our key objectives for Red Peak are to enhance Acer’s marketing strengths and help steer the existing company mindset.”

“In the product development stages, we will place marketing ahead of R&D and design,” said Wang. “Our precise understanding of customers’ needs will lead the way in products and services development. We will build an end-to-end marketing environment and enhance our marketing-oriented mindset.”

Birkin is regarded as one of the world’s most respected brand strategists and marketing experts. During his career he served as the CEO of Interbrand Group, the brand consultancy, and worked in various capacities at Omnicom, the global advertising and marketing communications services group. In 2010, Birkin founded the Red Peak Group, a marketing services company with offices in New York, London and Los Angeles, offering a full range of services including brand consulting and design.

In addition to the marketing organization and personnel changes, the incumbent CMO Walter Deppeler, has been assigned to lead a newly established marketing committee as Chairman, responsible for integrating Acer’s global branding and marketing strategy.

June 4, 2012: Acer Unveils Windows® 8 PC Lineup: Ultrabooks™, Tablets, and AIO Desktops – Creating a world of explorers through transformational user experiences

Acer today announces its series of Windows 8-based products, which includes the premium Aspire S7 Ultrabook™, ICONIA W Series tablets, and Aspire U Series all-in-one (AIO) desktops, all featuring innovative ergonomic designs and appealing beauty that deliver greater convenience and delight to the overall user experience.
“It is a watershed moment for Acer,” says J.T. Wang, Chairman and CEO of Acer Inc. “Acer has always been committed to breaking the barriers between people and technology and the leading design of these products, when coupled with the Windows® 8 touch functions, will provide transformational experiences for users whether they are creating important output or simply being entertained.”
Jim Wong, Corporate President of Acer Inc. comments, “Acer collaborated closely with Microsoft Corp. and has taken the lead to engineer new products that will be great with Windows® 8, demonstrating our product development efficiencies and taking advantage of our ability to provide an enhanced and satisfying computing experience. By focusing on ergonomics and style, we are addressing key consumer demands.”
Wong continues: “Interaction between human beings and computers should be easy rather than complex. In our view, the touchscreen experience enabled by Windows® 8 is a massive step forward – simply because it makes computing more intuitive by offering users a backward in interface. We understand Windows® 8 innovation and benefits and by utilizing Intel’s architecture and platform performance on our products, we believe we will provide users a better touch experience across devices for both consumer and commercial products.”
“Microsoft and Acer have been working together on new devices for Windows® 8, and it’s great to see the progress Acer is making,” says Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President, OEM Division, Microsoft Corp. “We expect customers to have a great experience using the combination of Windows® 8 and the new hardware designs from Acer.”
“Intel and Acer continue to focus on innovation and collaboration delivering engaging and secure user experiences,” says Kirk Skaugen, Vice President and General Manager, PC Client Group of Intel Corp. “Combined with the increased responsiveness of Intel’s 3rd generation Intel Core processor, new breakthrough capabilities possible with future Microsoft Windows® 8, and the added flexibility of touch, the Acer Aspire Ultrabook™ will provide a magnificent experience for users.”
Wong says further, “At CES we announced Acer’s new brand positioning, the visible statement of which is to explore beyond limits. Today’s announcement is the most significant yet in our goal to create a modern day explorer in everyone. Our new products are 100% designed and created to enable anyone to accomplish more whether they be an individual or a business.”
In the development of the new product lineup, Acer has been working even more closely with Microsoft and Intel.
PRODUCT INFORMATION
The Aspire S7 Ultrabook™ — the premium model in the S Series — boasts a sleek aluminum unibody design. The 13.1-inch model is currently the thinnest Full HD touch Ultrabook™ and features glossy tempered glass, while the 11.6-inch model is the smallest Full HD touch-enabled Ultrabook™. Both devices are kitted out with the innovative Acer Twin Air cooling system for best thermal comfort, as well as a light-sensing keyboard that adjusts its backlight to facilitate typing, even in low light.
The ICONIA W510 and W700 tablets have raised touch functionality to the next level. The W510 is equipped with a 10.1-inch display and has tri-mode touch, which allows users to touch, type and view. It also delivers up to 18 hours of battery life and headlines Always On, Always Connect technology. The W700 is the best-performing Windows tablet with a versatile cradle that is adjustable for different viewing requirements while offering data storage expansion and an additional battery. Sporting an 11.6-inch Full HD touchscreen, this tablet stuns with high-quality 1080p images.
Aspire U Series AIO desktops are also available in two sizes. The 27-inch 7600U has an ultra-slim 35 mm profile and a gorgeous Full HD edge-to-edge screen and Dolby® Surround Sound. This AIO features multi-user touch, and can be tilted from 0 to 90 degrees. Furthermore, the screen can swivel to all sides when laid flat. The 23-inch 5600U is the slimmest AIO PC that can tilt from 30 to 85 degrees, enhancing personal touch use. Both models have leading ergonomic designs, and a slim, stylish finish that complements interior decor.

October 30, 2012: Acer Aspire S7 Series The Thinnest and Lightest “Touch & Type” Ultrabooks™

First previewed at Computex Taipei, the Acer Aspire S7 Series, the thinnest and lightest Ultrabooks™, has been hailed as one of the most exciting Windows 8-based touch Ultrabooks to launch. It was also featured prominently in Microsoft’s launch event in New York and highlighted as one of the best PCs ever made. The positive reviews have been unparalleled.

As thin as a smartphone, the S7 is an iconic combination of power and beauty. The use of straight lines, glossy white glass, electroluminescent lighting and anodized aluminum have culminated in an Ultrabook that champions cutting-edge technology and innovative design. The dual torque hinge and Acer Green Instant On / Always Connect features ensure the ultimate in control and seamless usability.

“Acer took a fresh approach to the design and development of the Aspire S7, using premium construction methods and materials,” said Jim Wong, corporate president of Acer. “The high level of engineering and design quality we set for the S7 was achieved by placing the user experience as our top design priority, and by our ongoing commitment to introducing technologies into our products that truly complement human behavior, and stimulate curious and progressive thought and action.

November 12, 2012: Acer America’s New C7 Chromebook: Secure, Speedy and Simple

Editor’s Summary:

  • Available for purchase starting tomorrow in the U.S. through Google Play, Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com at an affordable $199
  • Provides hassle-free computing with automatic security and software updates
  • Great for use as an additional home computer
  • Includes built-in apps for productivity, collaboration and entertainment

Acer America today debuts its new Acer C7 Chromebook, its next-generation mobile computer that runs Google’s Chrome operating system and is priced at a low $199.

The new Acer C7 Chromebook is the ideal additional laptop for families, students and business people that need a fast, easy and secure way to get online to do their computing in the cloud, such as using Gmail, keeping up on social networks, shopping, and paying bills.

Today’s computer users are doing more online heightening the need for enhanced security, quicker online access and an easy-to-use interface,” Jim Wong, corporate president, Acer Inc. “The Acer C7 Chromebook provides all this at an affordable price, making it the right choice for families and students on a budget as well as anyone who wants a new or second mobile PC for web-based computing.”

“The core of Google’s Chromebook vision is creating a better, more simple computing experience and making it available to everyone,” said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president, Chrome and Apps, Google. “We’re excited about the Acer C7 Chromebook, the newest addition to the Chromebook family. The Acer C7 delivers a hassle-free computing experience with the speed, security and simplicity that users expect of Chromebooks built in.”

December 10, 2012: Acer Appoints Tiffany Huang President of PC Global Operations – Incumbent president, Campbell Kan, to serve as special assistant to Acer chairman

Acer announces the appointment of Tiffany Huang to become the president of Personal Computer Global Operations (PCGO), reporting to the corporate president, Jim Wong. Huang shall replace Campbell Kan who will serve as special assistant to the chairman, J.T. Wang. Both appointments shall take effect from January 1, 2013.

Kan has held key positions within Acer’s IT products global operations over the past twelve years, and is accredited for his excellent management and contribution to the mobile PC business. With his extensive knowhow, Kan shall take charge of key projects assigned by Acer chairman where he can lend his expertise for the future of the company.
With her latest appointment, Huang leaves her post as associate vice president of Supply Chain Operations Business Unit after twelve years in this field. In the past year, she has also held positions in the Operations Analysis Office responsible for analyzing and strategizing corporate operations, and the Strategic Demand Planning Business Unit for demand and material planning.
During her career at Acer, Huang has demonstrated clear potential with her leadership quality, execution and communication skills, and experience in cross cultural and cross functions. Her sense of business acumen, global insight, matched by accurate end-to-end projections on many occasions deemed her to be the ideal candidate to take the position as president of PCGO, as Kan assumes his new post.
Huang joined Acer in 1988 in the legal division dealing with intellectual property rights. From 1997 to 2001 she served as director of operations management at Acer’s U.S. operations. In 2001 she returned to the Taipei headquarters and was later promoted to associate vice president of supply chain operations until the latest appointment.
Born in 1964, Huang has a Bachelor of Science degree in Law from Taiwan’s Chung-Hsing University.

January 7, 2013: Acer Extends AcerCloud to Top Three Operating Systems, Making it Easy to Share Files and Media among Windows, iOS and Android Devices

Acer today announced cross-platform support for AcerCloud, the company’s file sharing and media management solution, free to Acer customers. Consumers can now share, retrieve and enjoy their multimedia and data files using a variety of computing devices, regardless of which operating system they are running – Windows, Android or iOS.

AcerCloud uses the free space on a PC’s hard drive as cloud storage spaceUsers simply designate one of their PCs as their “Cloud PC,” enabling them to use the available hard drive space on their own PC, giving them security and full control over their storage needs.  And unlike other cloud solutions, consumers won’t receive constant reminders about exceeding capacity with solicitations to pay for more storage.

“With AcerCloud, Acer now supports free file sharing between all of the key mobile devices, adding tremendous value to Acer customers,” said Acer President, Jim Wong.  “AcerCloud greatly simplifies our customers’ ability to manage all of their digital assets across all of their devices, regardless of platform.”

Acer, Asustek actively marketing cloud computing solutions [DIGITIMES, July 25, 2013]

Acer and Asustek have been pushing forward in marketing hardware/software-integrated cloud computing solutions focusing on educational applications and web storage, respectively, according to the companies.

Acer has integrated its servers with software used in eDC, its electronic information management center, into cloud computing solutions and promoted sales through cooperation of system integration providers, the company indicated. The cloud computing solutions are mainly used for educational purposes, with procurement by local governments being the major source of business, Acer noted. In addition to contracts from schools in Taiwan and Thailand, Acer has been marketing products in Nanjing City, eastern China, and Chongqing City, western China, and plans to tap the North America and Europe markets, Acer noted.

Asustek has its subsidiary, Asus Cloud, responsible for operating its cloud computing business. In addition to Taiwan-based Cathay Financial Holdings and Taishin Financial Holding, Asus Cloud-developed storage solutions have been adopted by the National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) under the government-sponsored National Applied Research Laboratories, Asus Cloud CEO Peter Wu said. Asus Cloud will offer a storage solution of 1PB in total capacity for NCHC, with more than 10TB to come into use in the second half of 2013, Wu indicated. In addition, Asus Cloud has signed with the government of Chongqing City to develop cloud computing platforms for education, civic services and by small- to medium-size enterprises in the city, Wu said.

June 3, 2013: Acer Enhances its Flagship Ultrabook™, the Aspire S7

“We designed the S7 to be the best touch Ultrabook in the world, bar none,” said Jim Wong, Acer Corporate President. “We listened carefully to users to find substantial ways to make it even better.” The re-engineered S7 delivers improved battery life of up to 7 hours, a 33% increase from its predecessor. Its new light-sensing EL backlit keyboard is also refined, with a deeper keystroke for more natural and comfortable typing. Plus, thanks to 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling technology, the noise at maximum load is more than 20% lower than the previous S7, keeping the system quiet and cool. … The new Aspire S7 will be available in Q3 2013.

The end of the road announcements:

Acer Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang Tenders Resignation; Corporate President Jim Wong to Succeed as CEO – Wang to remain in chairmanship to fulfill tenure as Acer begins a comprehensive restructuring and transformation [press release, Nov 5, 2013]

Acer announces that the resignation of J.T. Wang, Chairman and CEO, has been approved by its board of directors. Wang shall remain in chairmanship until the end of his tenure next June. The Board and The Search Committee also agreed that Corporate President Jim Wong will succeed Wang as the new CEO from January 1, 2014. A comprehensive restructuring plan has been formulated by the Acer management team, and without delay, the Board will commence with its corporate transformation.
J.T. Wang, chairman and CEO of Acer, said, “Acer encountered many complicated and harsh challenges in the past few years. With the consecutive poor financial results, it is time for me to hand over the responsibility to a new leadership team to path the way for a new era.”
Acer’s board of directors stated, “We are very grateful for Wang’s contribution and hard work. The past two to three years have been extremely tough for Acer due to the rapidly changing industry and market conditions. We fully respect Wang’s decision to step down; however, in the interest of ensuring company stability and a smooth transition during this latest restructuring and transformation, we have asked J.T. to remain to complete his tenure as Chairman which ends in June 2014.”
Wang elaborated, “Together with the management team, we have crafted a far-reaching plan for Acer’s transformation. I wish to thank the board members for their support and to Jim for assuming the CEO duties. I feel optimistic toward Acer’s future. The management team promises to carry out the internal restructuring and will work closely with the Board on the corporate transformation.”
Acer’s Board has set up a Transformation Advisory Committee with board member [founder] Stan Shih as Chairman and Acer co-founder George Huang as executive secretary. The committee will propose changes in the company vision, strategy, and execution plans for the Board’s approval. They will work with the management team to carry out the transformation to increase shareholder value. To support new development needs, the Board has approved the issue of 136 million new common shares for a capital increase in cash (approximately 4.8% of total shares).
Stan Shih stated, “After I retired from Acer I shifted my attention to promoting public interests. But when J.T. tendered his resignation, the Board turned to me for help. In consideration of personal social responsibility and for Acer’s onward sustainability, I agreed to take on the duty to help the management team with a smooth handover during this transition period.”
Shih added, “After making structural adjustments, we will introduce more competitive products within the existing PC, tablet, and smartphone business and stabilize our market share. This will be the basis of our transformation and for developing new business opportunities.”
Acer’s personnel and business restructuring plans include reducing manpower, product plan termination with related product tooling and legal fees, resulting in a one-time cost of US$150M which is expected to be reported in the Q4’13 financial results. Acer will cut its worldwide employees by 7% resulting in OPEX savings of US$100M annually from 2014.

Acer Q3’13 Financial Results: Consolidated Revenue NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), Operating Loss NT$2.57B (US$86.61M), Intangible Asset Impairment NT$9.94B (US$335.13M), PAT NT$-13.12B (US$-442.19M), EPS NT$-4.82 [press release, Nov 5, 2013]

Acer’s financial results for Q3 2013, approved by its Board of Directors, are: Consolidated Revenue of NT$92.15B (US$3.11B), up 3.1% quarter-over-quarter and down 11.8% year-over-year; an Operating Loss of NT$2.57B (US$86.61M). In addition, due to a non-cash related intangible asset impairment of NT$9.94B (US$335.12M), profit after tax was NT$-13.12B (US$-442.19M), and earnings per share was NT$-4.82.
Q3’s operating loss was mainly due to the gross margin impact of gearing up for the Windows 8.1 sell in and the related management of inventory. In addition, in Q3, there were one time compensation payments related to the long standing eMachines consumers litigation. This is now settled.
The intangible asset impairment loss, which includes trademarks and goodwill, is NT$9.94B (US$335.13M).This impairment, which covers the Gateway, Packard Bell, Founder, iGware and ETen brands, is made in accordance with IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and is reflective of changes in business strategy. The impairment is a non-cash charge and has no impact on Acer’s business operation and working capital.
Acer’s consolidated revenue for the first three quarters is NT$273.50B (US$9.22B), down 16.6% year-over-year; operating losses for this period are NT$3.15B (US$106.3M). Due to the impact of the intangible asset impairment of NT$9.94B (US$335.13M), PAT is NT$-12.95B (US$-436.42M), and EPS is NT$-4.76. After the impairment of intangible assets, Acer’s net value per share is NT$23.1.
Looking at Q4, due to the adjustment on brand strategy, shipments for Acer’s notebooks, tablet PCs and Chromebooks are expected to decrease by 10% compared to Q3, however, the gross margin is expected to improve.
Notes:

  • The spot rate as of November 5, 2013 was used — US$1: NT$29.67.
  • Acer Inc. consolidated revenue includes revenues from other companies in which Acer Inc. has 50% or more ownership, and already deducts any revenues between Acer Inc. and these companies to avoid double-counting.

Phablet competition in India: $258 Micromax-MediaTek-2013 against $360 Samsung-Broadcom-2012

Allwinner in mainland China moved first to quad-core Cortex-A7 with the A31 SoC introduced with the launch of the first two tablet products, Onda V972 and V812, on December 5, 2012 (and delivered from December 24, 2012 on in mainland China). That prompted a direction only reaction that Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market and China [Dec 9, 2012]), with sampling just planned for Q2’13 and only now publishing a completely redesigned 2013 roadmap according to Qualcomm moving ahead of Allwinner et al. in CPU and GPU while trying to catch up with Allwinner in Ultra HD [Jan 12 – Feb 20, 2013]. The #2 SoC vendor MediaTek from Taiwan had already plans to move to Cortex-A7 so was able to react much more quickly with MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery [Dec 12, 2012]. Such a delivery first happened with Micromax A116 in India (from February 14, 2013 on) which targeted the delivery of Samsung Galaxy Grand (from January 21, 2013 on) based on a very much ‘2012 vintage’ SoC from Broadcom still using a dual core Cortex-A9 driven CPU.

So here we have an interesting possibility of comparing a ‘2013 vintage’ (quad-core Cortex-A7 at 28nm etc.) phablet solution with a ‘2012 vintage’ (dual core Cortex-A9 at 40nm LP etc.) one. In addition from a vendor (MediaTek) trying to agressively conquer the global market after the Greater China one by going against the global #1 heavyweight Samsung. Such an analysis would, no doubt, reveal quite interesting facts not only about the current state of the market but about the future market as well.

First here is an overall comparison video from India:
Micromax Canvas HD A116 VS Samsung Galaxy Grand – Gaming, Benchmarks, Camera, Performance, Display [intellectdigest YouTube channel, Feb 16, 2013]

See also: ‘Micromax Canvas HD A116 Detailed In Depth Video Review And Comparison With Galaxy Grand’ at http://www.intellectdigest.in/micromax-canvas-hd-a-116-price-and-review-583/

Next there is a detailed specification comparison is in the table somewhat below.

Before that, however, note that to do such a comparison one needs to invest more than one day of time which shows quite well that in the consumer computing space customers will hardly be able to recognize the really deciding differentiators(in the same way as this happens with consumer products in general). I am particularly dismayed by the fact that even from such a table one will hardly recognize the most important differentiator that from power consumption point of view the Galaxy Grand is ways better that the Micromax A116 (440 hours of standby time vs. 174 hours, and 10 hours 10 minutes of talk time vs. 5 hours).

Then the display quality difference discussed first in the above video is far less than one would conclude from the below table (TFT LCD at 800×480 resolution on Grand and IPS at 1280×720 on Micromax A116) as evidenced by the excerpted video image included below (taken az [1:15] with A116 on the left and Grand on the right, for both the brightness set to maximum for the comparison). One of the reasons for that is the mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) technology from Samsung going back to 2003 with TVs. In fact MediaTek just now came up with a kind of similar technology of its own (see in the end of Section 1) called MiraVision. Immediately after that (in the whole Section 2) I included all available material about both the mDNIe and its “parent from TVs”, DNIe in order to make possible to understand the maturity of Samsung solution vs. the MediaTek one. And there are definitely other “tricks” (additional layers etc.) which are also essential for making the Grand screen a true masterpice of display engineering.

image

Click on the image below or this link in order to go to a clickable version of the table!image
            Click on the image above or this link in order to go to a clickable version of the table!

Finally, in addition to the already mentioned first two sections of the detailed analysis there is a Section 3 in the end devoted to the Broadcom SoC technology used in the Samsung Galaxy Grand

More information for this introductory part:
Micromax Canvas HD A116 [Micromax microsite, Feb 13, 2013]
MediaTek High Performance Quad Core Solution Empowers Micromax A116 Canvas HD [MediaTek press release, Jan 22, 2013]
Micromax Canvas HD demo Video [micromaxtube YouTube channel, Feb 19, 2013]

Micromax launches Canvas HD to strengthen phablet leadership [Micromax press release, Jan 21, 2013]

… it is the ideal phone for the young generation who is always on the lookout for better, faster and savvier smart phones on the go!

Commenting on the launch and association with MediaTek, Mr. Deepak Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer, Micromax said, “At Micromax, we constantly strive to innovate and develop  great technological experiences for our consumers. Today’s launch marks our association with MediaTek to bring forth our first quad core phone in this segment, offering consumers a great user experience with latest features and added functionality.” He further added, “We are excited with the success of Canvas 2, which has clearly established Micromax as number one player in the new 5” phablet category in India. We are looking forward to similar success with the new phone being unveiled today.”
Speaking at the occasion,  Dr. Finbarr Moynihan, General Manager  – Business Development at MediaTek, said, “In less than 2 years of launching our first smartphone chipset, MediaTek’s shipments in this category have grown more than ten times, with 110 million units in 2012. As the world’s first commercialized quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC, the MT6589 is an innovative solution that accelerates product development, simplifies differentiation, and offers the best possible experience that mid to high-end smart device owners desire. Micromax shares our core philosophy of pushing the bar on innovation and bringing it within the reach of the masses. We are delighted that India’s leading youth mobile brand has chosen MediaTek to power its top-end mobile smartphones.”

About Micromax [the 12th largest handset manufacturer in the world]:
Micromax started as an IT software company in the year 2000 working on embedded platforms. In 2008, it entered mobile handset business and by 2010 it became one of the largest Indian domestic mobile handsets company by offering unique affordable innovations. … The brand’s product portfolio embraces more than 60 models today, ranging from feature rich, dual – SIM phones, 3G Android smartphones, tablets, LED televisions and data cards. The company has many firsts to its credit when it comes to the mobile handset market including the 30-day battery backup, dual SIM phones, QWERTY keypads, dual reception mode handsets, universal remote control mobile phones etc. Micromax has presence in more than 500 districts through 100,000 retail outlets in India. The company has global business presence spread across Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Maldives, UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan and Brazil.

Samsung Galaxy Grand (i9082) full review hands on video [mobiscrub YouTube channel, Feb 4, 2013]

[2:06] The display of the Grand is a 5 inch Super Clear LCD with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. When compared to the Super AMOLED screen in the Galaxy Note II or the S III, the screen does look less saturated, however, color rendition is great & looks very natural. Wide viewing angles & good outdoor visibility lets you watch movies & read content easily. [2:42]
The Galaxy Grand camera is an 8 MP sensor with autofocus & LED Flash. The camera also features BIS (Backside Illumination Sensor) which basically takes great shots even in low light condition. The shutter speed of the Galaxy Grand camera is quite nice as well but not as fast as the Note II or the S III.
Much of the smart features in the Galaxy Grand resemble to those found in the S III & Note II such as: Multi window, Smart Rotation, Smart Stay, Smart Alert, Direct call & pop up play. Obviously there is no S Pen included with the Galaxy Grand, that differentiates from the smartphone beast, the Note II.

Samsung GALAXY Grand [Samsung Mobile Press announcement, Dec 18, 2012]
Samsung Unveiled GALAXY Grand [Samsung Tomorrow Global, Dec 18, 2012]
Galaxy Grand GT-i9082 [Samsung India microsite, Jan 22, 2013]
Samsung Galaxy Grand Redefines Smartphone Experience for All [Samsung India press release, Jan 22, 2013]

Even though it supports a massive 5.0″ screen with WVGA TFT display powered with mDNIe [mobile Digital Natural Image engine]technology, the device is incredibly slim and comes with an ergonomic design which makes is comfortable to hold. The vivid display provides an expansive viewing experience rendering messaging, multimedia and Web content in brilliant color and clarity.

image image

Samsung GT-i9082 Galaxy Grand [Duos]

Micromax Canvas HD A116 Detailed In Depth Video Review And Comparison With Galaxy Grand [Intellect Digest, Feb 17, 2013]
List of Top 5 Phablets under Rs 20k – Feb 2013 [My PhoneFactor.in, Feb 20, 2013]
Micromax A116 Canvas HD performance review vs. other quad-core phones [Thinkdigit, Feb 15, 2013]


Section 1   MT6589
Quad-Core Cortex-A7 1GHz+CPU Smartphone Platform [MediaTek product page, Dec 27, 2012]

Overview

The world’s first commercialized quad-core SoC available for mid to high end smartphone and tablets market
The Coolest quad core solution- MT6589 is the world’s first commercialized quad-core SoC (AP+BB) available for mid to high end smartphone and tablets market, the MT6589 integrates a power-efficient Cortex™-A7 CPU subsystem from ARM, PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies, and MediaTek’s advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem. The MT6589 is delivered in advanced 28nm process technology, creating a universal platform that delivers powerful performance at a very competitive price.

Features

Innovative, Advanced Dual-SIM solution
    • Dual-SIM and Dual-Active functionality frees users to seamlessly make and receive calls on two SIM cards at the same time.
      High-end Multimedia Capabilities
        • 13MP camera with integrated ISP, 1080p playback and recording at 30fps, and enhanced image processing for DTV-grade image quality
        • Full HD (1920×1080) [1080p] LCD support for razor sharp visuals
          Best-in-class MediaTek Technology
            • Integrated leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo, providing 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM radio

            MT6589 – The Coolest Quad-Core SoC Platform – Thermal Benchmark [mediateklab YouTube channel, Dec 28, 2012]

            MediaTek MT6589 -The World’s First Commercialized Quad-Core Cortex-A7 SoC Available for Mid to High End Smartphone and Tablets Market.

            See also:
            MediaTek Strengthens Global Position with World’s First Quad-Core Cortex-A7 System on a Chip – MT6589 [MediaTek press release, Dec 11, 2012]

            MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, announced the launch of the MT6589, the world’s first commercialized quad-core System on a Chip (SoC), available for mid to high-end Android smartphones and tablets worldwide. The new quad-core SoC integrates MediaTek’s advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem, a power-efficient quad-core Cortex™-A7 CPU subsystem from ARM, PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies, and is delivered in 28nm process technology. As a leader in Dual-SIM technology, the MT6589 is also the world’s first HSPA+ smartphone platform supporting Dual-SIM, Dual-Active functionality to address increasing multi-SIM demand around the world. The integration of these compelling features makes the MT6589 a universal platform that delivers premium multimedia capabilities with extremely low power consumption for an outstanding user experience. It also enables handset makers to reduce time to market, simplify product development and manage product differentiation in a more cost effective way, for any market worldwide.
            The MT6589 also supports Miracast™ technology for multi-screen content sharing and pre-integrates MediaTek’s leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo, which supports 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM.
            The MediaTek MT6589 is currently being incorporated into smart devices by MediaTek’s leading global customers, and the first models based on this new chipset are expected to ship commercially in Q1 2013.

            Lenovo S3000 uses MediaTek quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 [Charbax YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]

            Lenovo announces the Android tablet market has overtaken the iPad market, with 53% worldwide market share for Android and 43% for iPad. Lenovo is the biggest tablet brand in China, with a tight relation to MediaTek, here’s Lenovo’s latest quad-core 7″ 1024×600 IPS tablet.

            MediaTek Powers Lenovo’s Premium Multimedia IdeaTab S6000 Tablet [MediaTek press release, Feb 25, 2013]

            This year, at Mobile World Congress, MediaTek’s quad core SoC will be powering three new Android tablets launched by Lenovo, led by the Lenovo IdeaTab S6000. Built on the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, the S6000 is a sleek (8.6mm) and light (560g), 10” tablet which leverages quad-core processing to deliver performance, connectivity, and clarity.
            Jeffrey Ju, GM of Smartphone Business Unit of MediaTek. “Our aim is to democratize the smartphone market by enabling the smart ecosystem to make high performance products at affordable prices for the mainstream market.  This in turn will be the catalyst for the smart age as customers will demand greater device integration to share and view their entertainment and information seamlessly across multiple screens – requiring a sophisticated smart ecosystem that only MediaTek’s SoC total solutions can drive.”

            How MediaTek helps lower mobile device power consumption? [mediateklab YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2013]

            MediaTek is continuously making technological breakthrough with each new generation of smartphone solution. Through high levels of hardware and software integration and the efforts of system optimization, the CPU power saving for MT6589 allows for up to 11 extra hours of operation with a typical battery. Watch the video to learn more…

            MiraVision makes Full-HD support for mobile devices a reality to everyone [MediaTek press release, Feb 25, 2013]

            MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions announced today the availability of “MiraVision,” the world’s most comprehensive suite of display picture quality technology, for its smartphone and tablet platforms.
            The joint hardware and software suite of display picture quality technology – MiraVision – aims to strengthen Mediatek’s leading position in the smart age, where consumers can expect the same, high quality of the visual experience across various display resolutions. Leveraging MediaTek’s leading display picture quality technology developed in digital TV (DTV), MiraVision is designed to deliver seamless full high-definition display picture quality on mobile devices. It empowers handset and tablets makers to provide the best visual quality on the mobile platform with reduced time to market, simplified product development and differentiation for consumers everywhere.
            MiraVision is equipped with specific features that enable users to enjoy DTV-grade display picture quality on their mobile devices. With MiraVision, contents will be displayed more vivid and saturated with more details, providing a far richer and more colorful viewing experience previously only available on a high-end DTV. Furthermore, specifically tailored for mobile devices, the all-important power efficiency has been addressed and boosted through the Ambient-Light Adaptive Luma (AAL) technology, which intelligently adjusts the panel backlight in response to the ambient light intensity and the displayed contents to simultaneously optimize battery life and viewing experience. The combination of enhanced sharpness, richer color and adaptive Luma technology means true seamless quality across multiple devices is closer than ever before.
            “The future is more than just TVs or smartphones alone,” commented Jeffrey Ju, GM of Smartphone Business Unit of MediaTek, “our focus is on innovative solutions that enhance the chip, driving speed to market at premium performance up for our customers while ensuring the seamless cross-screen experience across the array of devices through which users are consuming entertainment and information. We are proud to be the one who can truly integrate technologies of DTV and mobile phones/tablets in the smart age, making the premium cross-screen experience real to everyone in every market.”

            This background technology from MediaTek is also available to the MT6589 as evidenced by [2:00 – 3:00] time fragment of this recorded video (at [0:56] it is explicitly said: “Miravision engine which has been included in the new MT6589 quad-core SoC”):
            MiraVision: world’s leading digital TV-grade picture-quality engine for mobile devices [mediateklab YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2013]

            With advanced algorithms, the Miravision picture-quality engine can calculate the optimal level of backlighting for any given environment, while also ensuring that the backlighting is optimized by the content. This kind of flexible optimization for backlighting and pixel intensity gives the user a level of screen brightness that is most comfortable and pleasing for the eyes.


            Section 2
            Samsung mDNIe [mobile Digital Natural Image engine]

            Into the New Wave – the Samsung Wave S8500 [samsungwave YouTube channel, Feb 14, 2010]

            Samsung Wave S8500 is the first mobile handset to be released on Samsung’s new, open mobile platform, Samsung bada. … Display: 3.3 WVGA (800×480) Super AMOLED with mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) technology. DNIe technology is proven display technology which was incorporated to Samsung’s LCD TV and LED TVs lineups. It boosts an even sharper and crisper viewing experience for photos, videos, and e-books than the Super AMOLED by itself.

            Mobile Digital Natural Image Engine – mDNIe [Read a tech, June 12, 2010]

            Samsung Wave display features Samsung’s mDNIe – mobile Digital Natural Image engine technology, borrowed from Samsung’s latest LCD TV and LED TV products, says the company. The mDNIe technology is said to offer better viewing angles and “super fast response.” The Wave’s display is also touted for its tempered glass and anti-smudge surface.

            From http://tvtonight.televisionshop.info/samsung-hl-s5087w-50-inch-1080p-dlp-hdtv-on-sale/

            The Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. DNIe improves contrast, white level, picture detail and incorporates digital noise reduction to improve lower quality video inputs. The 3-line digital comb filter constantly analyzes the three dimensions of picture height, picture width, and picture changes-over-time to dramatically reduce edge image artifacts while improving transition detail. Samsung’s Cinema Smooth 3:2 pull-down film mode corrects for the artificial frames created when films are converted to DVDs. The result is a clearer image without the subtle motion artifacts caused by 24-to-30 frames per second video conversion.

            Samsung’s DNIe™

            Samsung’s DNIe™ technology offers digital perfection in naturally presented, crystal-clear images that uncover even the most minute detail.


            Motion Optimizer: The visual data are automatically broken down into signal and noise and adjusted through a combined spatial/temporal process to eliminate noise and blurring without the slightest damage to the original signal. This guarantees the viewer a picture of astounding sharpness, whether the scene is still or moving.


            Contrast Enhancer: DNIe has done away with the unwanted side-effects that conventional contrast enhancement can produce, such as noise boost-up and flicker by developing an algorithm that recognizes over 1 million criteria for applying contrast. Its detail contrast enhancement technology can automatically analyze up to 70,000 local images within a frame, treating the viewer to a picture rich in contrast even in the tiniest details.


            Color optimizer: For each scene the color optimizer calculates the saturation of red, green, and blue in the input signal and adjusts it to the shades that the human eye accepts as natural. Even a conventional process like white tone enhancement produces more striking results when when used with DNIe. The end result is a palette of vivid hues and pure white tones to satisfy the most discerning viewers eye.


            Detail enhancer: Many viewers complain of the unnatural effect that conventional uniform detail enhancement produces by relying on artificial amplification of the input signal. In contrast, DNIe automatically analyzes the portion to be amplified, detecting and re-processing any noise or defect to bring the viewer a startlingly sharp and lifelike image.

            Samsung DNIe ‘Pixel’ [sangafilms YouTube channel, Dec 5, 2007]

            “Nature created DNA, but SAMSUNG developed DNIe.” Samsung Electronics Unveils New “Natural Image” Technology for Digital TV [Samsung press release, April 2003]

            – Digital TVs with new DNIe technology are being put on the world market. DNIe technology can be applied to all digital TV typesLCD, PDP, projection or CRT.
            – The cleanest and most natural images are produced under all viewing conditions.
            – Samsung, which leads the world market in color TVs, TFT-LCDs, and color monitors, aims to do the same with digital TVs.
            Samsung Electronics has developed the Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) that greatly improves the clarity and detail of images reproduced by color TVs. The company expects its technology breakthrough to elevate the Samsung brand the top of the rapidly growing world digital TV market.
            On April 29, Samsung Electronics held a briefing on the new DNIe technology and digital TV business strategy. On display were PDP, LCD, projection and cathode ray tube (CRT) models supported by DNIe, which offers far greater image detail than conventional digital TVs. Samsung Electronics began its research project to improve picture quality back in 1996 and implemented it in stages. The first prototype digital TV with DNIe was ready last December. The technology can be used with all types of digital TVs to re-create natural colors that truly please. Last year, Samsung sold more color TVs than any other manufacturer, and now the company is ready to do the same in the digital TV market.
            DNIe technology optimizes the moving picture image and color, while the contrast ratio and fine details are amplified. These four processes automatically and precisely capture broadcast signals in all formats, from analog to high definition. This high clarity, high detail image technology provides the best possible picture quality under all conditions.
            Last December, Samsung Electronics completed development of the four processes. The next four months were applying the new technology to CRT TVs (29”-32”), DLP projection TVs (43” to 61”), CRT projection TVs (43” to 52”) PDP TVs (42” to 63”) and LCD TVs (32” to 40”) and commercializing the new products.
            Significance of New DNIe Technology
            Samsung Electronics’ high clarity, high detail image technology is the product of a determined effort to improve picture quality. This approach is far more than a simple picture improvement based on analog signal reception. Rather, the new technology produces complete image quality; any signal input comes out cleaner and more natural.
            DNIe can completely eliminate blurring from movement or image prolongation. A deep contrast can also be achieved. What is more, the finest detail appears sharp, while the vivid natural color is most pleasing to the eye.
            The Samsung Electronics briefing clearly demonstrated the superiority of the company’s latest technology over conventional technology. The company has received 85 foreign and domestic patents related to DNIe, including a basic technology patent for contrast reproduction.

            DNIe Technology in a Nutshell

            Samsung’s unique DNIe technology encompasses four functions that analyze all signal input, from analog to high definition, in stages. The volume of noise in the signal is detected and the signal level is classified according into analog, SD or HD and then optimized accordingly.
            Motion Optimizer: Processes Noise More Completely than Ever Before
            This noise processing technology integrates temporal and spatial concepts to ensure clear images even when the motion is very fast.
            Contrast Enhancer: For a Deeper Contrast
            This technology employs a contrast ratio of one million or more and a new algorithm that can reproduce the optimal contrast to provide a deep and rich image quality.
            Detail Enhancer: Complete Images, True to the Finest Detail
            A vastly improved technology for automatically analyzing the picture signal reproduces images in amazing detail, resulting in more lifelike video.
            Color Optimizer: Vivid, Natural Colors
            The video signals being generated are analyzed and the quantities of reds, greens and blues are calculated to provide the colors most natural to the human eye.

            Samsung DNIe [tnbtsingapore YouTube channel, Aug 12, 2010]

            FAQs: What is DNIe [Samsung, Oct 10, 2012]

            Samsung’s Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe TM) is a set of four advanced image processing technologies that makes digital TVs, including various types of displays such as LCD, PDP, projection, and CRT, produce the clearest, most detailed, and yet most natural-looking images ever.
            The four technologies used by DNIe are:
            • Motion Optimiser: eliminates noise, even in moving pictures
            • Contrast Enhancer: increases the contrast
            • Detail Enhancer: sharpens pictures and makes details visible
            • Color Optimiser: provides natural and vibrant colours
            The secret of DNIe TM begins with an Intelligent Analyser that analyses any kind of input signal to optimise the picture quality. By analysing the frequency characteristics of the input signal, the Analyser automatically detects the amount of noise in the signal, identifies the source level as analogue, SD, or HD, and even determines whether it has been scaled.
            Through this analysis of the input signal at the first stage of the DNIe TM process, the Intelligent Analyser ensures that the optimal adjustments is made throughout the remaining four stages to the production of the final output.
            DNIe technology is not only suitable for all usual input signals for television reception today, such as analogue, cable, satellite and digital, it also works with the input signals of DVD, camcorders and game computers.
            DNIeTM R&D History
            Progress in picture quality enhancement has been achieved through sustained research and investment at Samsung, beginning in 1996 with an independent project. In 1997, Samsung’s project developed a noise reduction function for the image enhancement of CRT TVs.
            In 2000, Samsung embarked on a new picture quality enhancement project and confirmed its potential for production. By 2001, the fruits of these research efforts had laid the technological foundations for the birth of Samsung’s full-fledged image enhancement algorithm.
            In March 2002, the basic version of Samsung’s unique DNIe technology was ready. At last it was possible to obtain optimal picture quality with signals ranging from RF all the way up to HD. The development of DNIe was completed by 2002, and early 2003 this radical new technology caught the eye of the world in a successful demo at a show in Las Vegas.
            For more information on (DNIe) Digital Natural Image engine click Here

            DNIe – Digital Natural Image engine [Birds-Eye.Net, Apr 3, 2011]

            DNIe, or Digital Natural Image engine, is a “natural image” technology introduced by Samsung in 2003. Originally developed as part of a concerted effort by Samsung to improve television picture quality on non-high-definition-televisions, the DNIe chip is now used in Samsung’s plasma and high definition televisions (HDTV). DNIe makes input signals sharper, clearer and more lifelike. Its advanced image processors help to create true-to-life colors and high contrast, while pretty much eliminating digital artifacts.
            DNIe offers better detail than conventional televisions by using four proprietary processes that optimize and enhance image quality and sound: a Motion Optimizer that is a noise processing technology used to eliminate blurring and noise in fast moving images and thus producing a more natural-looking motion; a Contrast Enhancer that offers rich details and image quality through brightness and contrast levels that are enhanced for deeper, richer blacks with greater detail, and more natural whites; a Detail Enhancer that automatically analyzes the picture signal elements in order to produce sharper detail, clearer image separation and more natural edge transition; and a Color Optimizer that analyzes the video signals being generated so that the quantities of reds, greens, and blues are calculated to provide colors with a more lifelike realism, where whites are more accurate, and skin tones are given a more natural hue. DNIe also offers Samsung’s patented “My Color Control” technology that the user to control specific colors without affecting the whole screen, providing six color-control selections: white, red, pink, yellow, green and blue, so the user can adjust a color to their liking.
            Other Related Definitions for DNIe
            “The secret of DNIe TM begins with an Intelligent Analyzer that analyzes any kind of input signal to optimize the picture quality. By analyzing the frequency characteristics of the input signal, the Analyzer automatically detects the amount of noise in the signal, identifies the source level as analogue, SD, or HD, and even determines whether it has been scaled.” [Samsung]
            “The SAMSUNG DNIe vision is an image enhancement algorithm with remarkable engines that work in tandem and individually to improve the visual quality. This technology from SAMSUNG that spells the end of conventional television.” [Samsung]
            “SAMSUNG’s DNIe Pro (Digital Natural Image engine) ensures the clearest, most natural images imaginable. Colour and motion are optimised and the contrast and detail are enhanced to ensure unprecedented image quality.” [Samsung]
            “Samsung’s proprietary technology, DNIe – Digital Natural Image engine – is the secret to stunning HDTV picture quality. DNIe optimizes six different elements of image quality such as color balance, sharpness, and motion to reproduce the most life-like and vibrant picture throughout Samsung’s broad portfolio.” [Samsung]
            “DNIe generally improves most HD and DVD content with a few exceptions, but it’s a mixed bag with NTSC sources. Many HD and DVD images are made sharper with DNIe, contrast is improved, and color accuracy is enhanced in many scenes.” [Extremetech.com]
            “DNIe is Samsung’s image “enhancement” engine…On the surface these claims sound great, but on closer examination most of these features are either impossible (6 times density enhancer) or undesirable (dynamic contrast ratio). For every image DNIe makes better there are two images that it makes worse. There is no way these sets can hold a calibration with DNIe enabled. If accuracy is desired DNIe should be turned off and left off. On the HLP DNIe can be easily disabled in the user menu. It should be noted that there are a few models of Samsung DLPs (notably the HLR series) that have DNIe permanently enabled. Before purchasing a Samsung display I would make sure that DNIe can be toggled from the user menus.” [Gadgetbench.com]
            “DNIe is a video enhancer that makes the picture more colorful and lifelike. You can tell too. In the DNIe product demo, the screen is split – one side shows natural footage, the other shows DNIe enhanced footage. The difference is remarkable. The natural footage is boring and robbed of color while the DNIe footage is bright and crisp. The user controls when DNIe is used, which is good because not everyone will want enhanced video all the time – like an editor previewing footage to see what color correction is required.” [Matthew Torres]
            Links Related to DNIe
            Nature created DNA, but SAMSUNG developed DNIe – Samsung Electronics Unveils New “Natural Image” Technology for Digital TV
            What is DNIe? – Digital Natural Image engine

            Technical Resources for DNIe

            Feel the DNIeVideo demo of DNIe and Technical Information

            Blogs about DNIe
            Samsung Village – Official Samsung blog for news and inside stories
            Books about DNIe
            Digital Video and HD, Second Edition: Algorithms and Interfaces (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics) – by by Charles A. Poynton
            Global Marketing Management – by Kiefer Lee and Steve Carter
            Other DNIe Related Books

            Section 3

            Smartphone HSPA+ Platform (from 2013 Products of Broadcom [Feb 8, 2013]):

            • BCM28145: 720p 4G HSPA+ Smartphone Processor
            • BCM28155: 1080p 4G HSPA+ Smartphone Processor

            Broadcom CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jan 29, 2013]

            Scott A. McGregor – Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

            Samsung launched the Galaxy Grand, Grand Duos, and Galaxy S2 Plus, leveraging our complete Android platform, which includes our 3G cellular SOC and wireless connectivity.

            We also have more than 40 designs in process in China on our turnkey reference platforms. Our technology mix is trending to HSPA+ dual core application processors and additional connectivity, features which command a meaningful ASP premium.

            The Galaxy Grand, for example, includes Broadcom’s dual core SOC NFC controller, connectivity combo with built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and FM, RF transceiver, power management, and GPS.

            From Broadcom Corp. – Analyst/Investor Day, December 6, 2012 (slides from here)

            Robert Americo Rango, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile and Wireless Group:

            image

            Broadcom’s focus is on 3G and 4G. The reason we’re focused on 3G is because we see the 3G market continuing to grow. We see it being very important for emerging markets. And we see the 3G market taking over the feature phone market going forward. So for emerging markets, our focus is on 3G. And then the 4G market, of course, for developing regions like the U.S. Big investment in 4G, a lot of progress to report, and I’ll get into this in my presentation. So focused on both because these — this is where the growth is, and this is where the action is in the market.

            So 2 years ago, we had one 3G smartphone SoC. That was the 21553. And you can see that’s the 7.2-megabit modem, single-core device. It could address screen sizes, say, from 3 to 3.5 inches. And this was the device that last year I talked about that powered the Samsung GALAXY Y, which was one of the most popular smartphones in India. Now, over the last year, we added 2 chips that we announced earlier this year, the 21654 and the 28145. We switched from 65-nanometer to 40-nanometer, and we went from single core to dual core. So — and you can see that it helped us address a bigger part of the market. We were able to move up to the 4- to 5-inch phone screen size.

            Now today, with the announcement of the 21664 and extension of the 28145 to the 28155, we now have a full family of solutions on 3G. We can cover anything from 3 inch, all the way up to 7 to 10-inch, which would be a tablet. More interesting actually is the 5 to 7-inch category, because the phablet is growing at a 93% compounded average growth rate. And phablets turn out to be one of the biggest growth areas for phones in Asia, okay? So Broadcom has the ability now to address this entire market. And again, why is that important? Because once a customer invests in one of these chips and picks up the Broadcom software suite for one, it can quickly be applied to an entire family of products.

            Now, again, 3G market is very competitive. We all know that 3G is probably the most competitive segment out there. The reason that we can win is because we have a family of devices here that offer different feature points, different cost points and allow us to make money at these various cost points, okay? So a full range of 3G for all of the segments is now complete.

            Now, let me highlight one other point. So 82% of the volume is in this 5-inch and below, but I did mention the phablet being an important segment.

            image

            Now, let me highlight our multimedia capability. I just wanted to compare the 28155 on the right to the HTC One X on the left. So HTC One X is a phone you can buy today. HTC One X is the phone that has been touted to have a lot of multimedia capability, world-class imaging, world-class image signal processing. This is the post-processing that goes on, on the pictures to make the pictures look good. A console gaming capability, good browsing experience, a 720 HD screen, Miracast capability that I just described to you, this ability to beam videos from your phone to a TV as well as Wi-Fi Direct. All these are the multimedia capabilities touted by the HTC One X.

            Now last year, I talked about the economics of the chips that we were announcing. For those of you who were here, I talked about how Broadcom’s ability to integrate with — change the economics of the smartphone business. And here’s a perfect example of how it changed it, okay? So HTC One X, tear it apart, what do you see inside? Three different chips. A thin modem chip, a quad-core application processor, discrete application processor, and a discrete ISP chip.

            Tear apart one of our 28155 phones, what do you see inside? One chip, integrated modem, application processor, graphics and ISP. Okay. So I told you I would exemplify the power of the 28155, and I wanted to talk today about Samsung’s — Samsung is going to be announcing a series of phones based on Broadcom’s 28155 dual core HSPA+. I’m holding the first one in my hand. This is the GALAXY S II Plus, okay? And again if you look go back and look at the GALAXY S II, you’ll see a similar architecture, GALAXY S II Plus, based on 28155, is based on the Broadcom chip, the integrated chip. So those economics that I was talking to you about, they come to play right here with the Samsung GALAXY S II Plus. And in fact, there’s a series of phones that Samsung will be putting out based on the 28155 over the next couple of quarters.

            image

            So and then beyond that, what have we done in 2012? We’re working on customer diversity. And in order to achieve customer diversity in today’s 3G market, you need what’s called a turnkey device, a turnkey design. And you might ask what’s the difference between a turnkey and a reference design? Well, a turnkey is something that can quickly be put into production by a customer. So I’m holding up Broadcom’s 28155 turnkey design. And you can see it’s very thin, it’s very light, it’s the kind of phone that you’d want to carry with you. We have a design file that we can offer a customer. And it can reduce their investment from 6 to 9 months of time, down to 30 to 60 days. Where it used to take 200 to 300 engineers to put a design in production, now it’s something like 20 to 30 engineers because we’ve done the turnkey design. And this design is so complete, we have second-sourced the major components, the panel, the sensor, the memory, and we picked suppliers that are favorite suppliers for companies in China who are really building, taking advantage of these turnkeys. So what we’re doing is we’re enabling our handset companies to focus on what they do best, brand and distribution, and we focus on what we do best, which is engineering execution, okay? And we now have turnkeys for 21654, which is our single-core device, 40-nanometer single core; 21664, which is the part we just announced yesterday, which is our low-cost dual-core device, HSPA+ capable; and our 28155, which is what I’m holding up right now, which is our high-end dual core HSPA+ device. Okay.

            image

            So a lot of activity has been spawned by this — by these turnkeys and, again, this is a capability we’ve put in place in 2012. So it’s hard to measure the progress yet, but I tried to do that with this chart. And you can see, even in the short time that we’ve had the turnkey capability in place, the number of designs have gone up significantly, almost threefold. So significant number of designs that are currently going on, 15 from last year to 44. So you can see the power of the turnkey design because it enables companies — handset companies, to quickly adopt our platforms.

            image

            So talk some more about our expanding cellular SoC share. If you focus on that first row now, those are the phones that I’d like to highlight. Of course, I just mentioned the Samsung GALAXY S II, and I mentioned that there’ll be a series of phones based on Broadcom’s 28155 dual core HSPA+ coming from Samsung. The other phones you see here, GALAXY Chat, GALAXY Music, GALAXY Pocket Plus, are the beginning of a series of phones that are coming out on our single core HSPA+ device. And I’d also like to point to some of these interesting carrier-branded phones, okay? Kind of a blessing our 3G technology in the world’s biggest carriers: T-Mobile, with Concord, this is our first 3G phone in the U.S. market; Vodafone, with the Smart II and Orange. All phones based on Broadcom 3G SoCs, okay? And then all the phones in the bottom row, all in production still, all rolling along with our first 3G SoC, that’s the 21553 that I talked to you about last year. Samsung GALAXY Y is still selling like gangbusters along with a number of these Samsung smartphones in the developing countries, okay? So a lot of progress on 3G. And you can see a number of Chinese vendors on the chart, TCL, ZTE, G’FIVE, Sprocomm. Those are all customers and certainly, there’s other customers in China now working on our turnkey designs.

            imageSo exemplifying that growth we have in the 3G space, this chart shows that from Q3 2011, Q3 2012, we grew our 3G business 500%. Pretty big growth. More important to me though, is the market share that we command. You can see that Strategy Analytics has now recognized that Broadcom has 15% of the 3G/4G Android smartphone SoC ecosystem, okay? 15%. And we haven’t started shipping our 4G LTE solution yet, okay? So again, significant market share gains over the last 24 months in the most important ecosystem for us, which is Android, 15% market share.

            … roughly 15 different customers that make up that 44. And if you talk about when products hit the market, I mean, I think, they’re starting — they’re going to start hitting the market in — over the next 3 months.  …

            … you’re asking, should I worry about the vertical integration at Samsung? And I think anything Samsung does on vertical integration only applies to one segment of their business. I mean, if you look at Samsung’s business, it’s very broad. Everything from entry-level smartphones, midrange 3G smartphones, 4G smartphones, they have a very broad portfolio. In order for them to make money in all these areas, they need chips that are optimized for each one of those segments. And I think I exemplified that with the 28155 for the GALAXY S II Plus. So I think the risk of vertical integration is kind of overblown because you just need to apply the best solution to the particular class of product you’re building. …

            … we see Wi-Fi changing very rapidly and it will change even in the China market. So we don’t see the need to go integrate it. We believe the idea of having a connectivity island and a SoC island with app processor graphics and cellular modem, is the right partitioning for the next couple of years. …

            My question is, I guess, is do you think your timing — it seems like now, you’ll really going to hit the market, 2014 is when you get any significant revenues. Is that — are you going to really miss out on the profit pools while you’re fighting it out at the — with MediaTek at the midrange and low-end, meanwhile your good buddies in Southern California capture all this profit and then use that to attack you elsewhere?

            … if you look at the 3G space, it’s a lot more than just China. Right? I mean, I just showed you all the different phones from Samsung that are still coming out on 3G. So I do not believe that there’s not money to be made in 3G. Okay? Having said that, a big investment in 4G, absolutely recognize the importance. We’re moving very fast we have a big R&D investment in 4G. We think we’re going to get there in time to hit the sweet spot of the 4G market. And 4G will last for many years to come.

            Can you talk a little bit about your position on the RF side of the equation? You’re building full turnkey solutions now, there’s a lot of complexity on the RF side of the handset and whether you have the applicable tool kit to do more integration on that side.

            That’s an easy question because we have one of the world’s most capable RF teams in Broadcom. Broadcom pioneered CMOS RF, implementing RF in CMOS. And you can — as witnessed by our patent portfolio, which is second to none. We have a very capable team. The team has built RF chips for all of our devices. And I mentioned earlier that we sell more wireless chips with integrated RF than any company on the planet. So I’m very confident in the capabilities. They are doing the RF for all of our complete platforms that I showed you. So whether it’s 21553, 21654, 21664, 28155, those are complemented with Broadcom RF internal, 100% Broadcom IP. And again over the course of time, we can integrate all these IP into a single chip. That’s the reason these big OEMs, these big handset OEMs want to work with Broadcom because they know eventually all these connectivity pieces will integrate into a single connectivity island, and same thing with the baseband island.

            As it relates to the wins that you had earlier this year with the single-core platform like let’s say for example going into Samsung, I think the rough dollar content is about $10 to $12. Because you’re not only supplying the baseband, you’re supplying the power management, RF, integrated connectivity. And I think you’ve told us before that as the team moves to the dual-core platform, very similar to the GALAXY S II plus announcement today, that it’s roughly about a $7 to $9 increase in dollar content. So first question is, is that still the case?

            I think you’re asking is can our dual core — our 28155, for example, which is our high-end dual core, okay. As I mentioned, this is part that has integrated ISP. That’s the same ISP engine that Nokia used for their 41-megapixel camera that’s on board our 28155 device. We also have very high-end graphics on that device. The graphics on Broadcom 28155 rivals lot of the 4G SOCs that are out there. In fact, it surpasses a number of them, okay. So when you compare the price of that to the single core, absolutely the price delta would be in the range that you mentioned, okay, the ASP uplift.

            And then the second question is, as a team rolls out the turnkey solution, my sense is that there is still a lot of customization that has to be done on the software and the firmware set for your customers.

            … the idea behind the turnkey is not to have a lot of customization. The way that a company — a handset company could take advantage of our turnkey is to perhaps change the color, perhaps change the idea a little bit, but not change it. And that’s really what’s important. So there isn’t a lot of customization needed. We do all of the Android integration, all the tests. And we make sure all of the Android certification tests pass when we deliver that turnkey design. So if somebody wanted to put their own skin on top of it, we could do that, but would really prefer when it comes to the turnkey that they don’t touch anything, that they use this as their experience phone, if you will.

            12 months from now, most of the growth of the smartphone market is coming from emerging markets, much lower-end mix, can you help me understand how that impacts the content, the pricing, the competitive landscape, the profitability? Is that China market really going to be it’s a Broadcom turnkey solution or it’s a MediaTek turnkey solution and whoever has that turnkey solution wins it all?

            … first of all, every handset company, any smartphone handset company is — are spinning their 3G offerings today. So in order to — for them to take advantage of the growth in 3G, they’re all having to reduce their costs. They are all having to move to more integrated solutions. So I don’t see it as just a China play, okay. So I see it’s a worldwide event. And that certainly in China, I think the turnkey does help significantly because if you look at Tier 2s and Tier 3s in China, they don’t have as much engineering resource. So I do think it’s a big swing, an advantage to have a full turnkey and be able to supply this multi-sourcing capability to those Chinese customers. But again, the 3G turnover is going to happen across the world, not just in China.

            SUPPLEMENTAL CONTENT:

            image
            Source: Broadcom 2012 Analyst Day Supplemental Content, Dec 6, 2012

            BCM28145/28155
            Dual Core 720p/1080p HSPA+ Baseband Processors [Broadcom product page, Feb 24, 2012]

            The BCM28145/BCM28155 HSPA+ baseband processors are highly integrated high-performance dual-core CPUs implemented in a cost effective 40 nm LP process that squarely targets today’s power-conscious mobile platforms. These devices, combined with their complete reference platform, provide system designers with everything needed to bring next-generation mobile devices to market while also providing an extremely flexible platform for application, video, and multimedia developers.
            BCM28145/BCM28155 devices integrate high performance dual-core ARM® Cortex-A9 processors, each with a NEON floating-point SIMD processing engine. A powerful 2D/3D graphics engine, the latest audio codecs, and advanced video and image processing capabilities are all delivered by the integrated Broadcom VideoCore-IV® technology.
            Features
            • Advanced 2G/3G modem with support for 21/5.8 Mbps HSPA+ and Class 33 EDGE
            • Advanced applications processing subsystem
              – Dual ARM cortex-A9 processors with NEON extensions, up to 1.2 GHz per core
              VideoCore-IV multimedia and imaging processor
              – Support for 20-Mpixel imaging, 720p (28145) /1080p (28155) video capture and playback, and accelerated 2D/3D graphics
              – Full integration of audio subsystem
            • High performance memory and peripheral interfaces
              400 MHz LPDDR2 memory interface (single-28145, dual-28155)
              – High-speed e.MMC/SD/SDIO and NAND interfaces
              – CPI and MIPI® CSI-2 and MIPI DPI-2, DBI-B and DBI-C DSI serial camera and display interfaces

            image

            image
            Source: Broadcom 2012 Analyst Day Supplemental Content, Dec 6, 2012

            See also:
            Broadcom Introduces New Platforms Optimized for Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ Smartphones [Broadcom press release, Feb 27, 2012]

            Single and Dual Core Processors with VideoCore® Technology Provide Premium Android Experience
            Broadcom’s new family of 3G platforms will enable handset OEMs to affordably deliver a premium Android 4.0 user experience across multiple smartphone product tiers. The Broadcom® BCM21654G features a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, an integrated 7.2/5.8 Mbps HSPA modem and low-power VGA video support. The BCM28145 and BCM28155 include dual ARM Cortex A9 cores up to 1.3 GHz, 21/5.8 Mbps HSPA+ modems and HD 720p and 1080p, video respectively. All three chips were developed in an advanced, low power 40 nanometer process technology and are complemented by radio frequency (RF), power management unit (PMU) and an advanced connectivity suite for a complete system solution.

            All three platforms are sampling to customers and expected to be in production in the second half of 2012.

            Optimized for Superior Android 4.0 ICS Smartphones:
            • Broadcom’s industry-leading VideoCore technology offers a ‘third processing core’ to offload the application processor, enriching the Ice Cream Sandwich user experience with the industry’s lowest power HD playback and camcorder capabilities up to 1080p.
            • Low latency memory and bus architecture boosts overall system performance for a highly responsive user interface.
            • Highest quality imaging is provided by Broadcom’s latest Image Signal Processor (ISP) that supports cameras up to 42 megapixels, with very low light capabilities and wide dynamic range for the sharpest images.

            From Broadcom Corp. – Analyst/Investor Day, December 14, 2011

            Robert Americo Rango, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile and Wireless Group:

            Broadcom has been investing for many years, actually, since 2004 when we did an acquisition, in graphics. In fact, we call it VideoCore, and that, it’s maybe a misnomer, it should be called MediaCore because this dedicated IP block does graphics, it does image signal processing. When your image comes off the camera, you need to post-process it, that’s called image signal processing, okay? And it does video. So you can’t do those functions well with standard application processors. You need to do that with dedicated hardware, dedicated customized hardware, and that’s called VideoCore.

            image
            Source: Broadcom 2011 Analyst Day, Dec 14, 2011

            Now let’s see how we do versus the industry’s competition. One of the most recognized benchmarks that’s out there is called Taiji. It’s the OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark most people will recognize as benchmark, as a very important benchmark. And what you see here is Broadcom versus Qualcomm versus TI. In fact, this TI chip, I think, is running the latest version of some of Ice Cream Sandwich phones that are out there. And you can see that Broadcom’s VideoCore is able to render over 50 frames a second while some of the competition can barely get to 30. And in fact, just another data point comparing Broadcom VideoCore 4, all this — again, this is a fair comparison because it’s comparing what’s in production to what’s in production. Our VideoCore 4 is in production in many different Nokia phones, smartphones. And Nokia’s multimedia experience is widely considered to be one of the best. Now comparing VideoCore 4, which again is in production, to one of Imagination’s latest IP cores, we’re 1/2 the power and 2x the performance.

            So some of our competitors don’t have this IP. They go often license it from a company like Imagination. It sounds good on paper until you have a problem. And a customer calls you up and says, “Hey, this game, this Modern Warfare 3 won’t run,” and that company has to go call Imagination. Okay, Broadcom doesn’t have to do that. We’re a one-stop shop. All this IP that I’m talking about is owned and within Broadcom so I can walk down the hall, knock on the engineer’s door and say, “What were you thinking when you designed this?” and I usually get an answer very quickly. And I think that’s the respect we have with our customers, okay? We have the IP in-house. Okay, so the industry’s best graphics performance and power consumption. …

            Broadcom Announces 1080p Multimedia Processor with Breakthrough Mobile Power-Performance [Broadcom press release, Dec 15, 2009]

            New Broadcom® BCM2763 VideoCore® IV Processor Features 1080p Video, 20 Megapixel Photos and 1 Gigapixel Graphics in an Ultra-Low Power 40 Nanometer Design
            Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced its next generation multimedia processor that delivers industry leading performance and lower power in the top multimedia categories for mobile devices. Using 40 nanometer (40nm) CMOS process technology, the new Broadcom® BCM2763 VideoCore® IV multimedia processor provides even higher integration, smaller footprint size and lower power consumption than 65nm designs.
            With the higher integration and significant power savings from 40nm CMOS process technology, the BCM2763multimedia processor features the most advanced mobile high definition (HD) camcorder and video playback, up to 20 megapixel digital camera and photo image processing, and 1 gigapixel 2D/3D graphics rendering for a world-class gaming experience. HD video, 3D games and high resolution 20 megapixel pictures can be displayed at top quality on full-sized HD televisions and monitors using an on-chip industry standard HDMI interface. Additionally, the BCM2763‘s highly integrated architecture reduces bill-of-materials (BOM) cost to help drive sophisticated multimedia features into more affordable handsets.
            Highlights/Key Facts:
            The breadth and quality of Internet multimedia content is rapidlyimproving, with sites such as YouTube now supporting full HD 1080p video sharing. Consumers are also increasingly using cell phones as their primary digital camera and camcorder, which is driving demand for higher resolution and more sophisticated image processing which is currently only available on advanced standalone camcorders and cameras. Additionally, newer graphics-oriented user interfaces and mobile games now require enhanced graphics capabilities.
            The new Broadcom BCM2763 VideoCore IV multimedia processor enables best-in-class performance in the following areas:
            • Full HD 1080p camcorder capabilities in a cell phone with significantly improved quality over current generation handsets (which generally have VGA or lower resolution camcorders). 
            • Up to 20 megapixel digital camera with advanced features such as multiple shots per second, image stabilization, face and smile detection and panorama mode.
            • The ability to render mobile games natively at up to 1080p resolution, which in combination with an on-board HDMI output, allows a console-quality gaming experience on large screen HDTVs.
            In addition to providing these capabilities on new handsets, the BCM2763 has improved power savings using a 40nm process without draining the battery or significantly reducing talk time. Additional ultra-low power consumption features include:
            • 20% to 50% power reduction in comparison to the prior generation Videocore III multimedia processor.
            • 4 to 6 hours of 1080p video recording and 8 to 10 hours of mobile playback, with up to 16 hours of full HD playback over HDMI given sufficient handset storage.
            • Only 490 mW of chip power is required for 1080p camcorder H.264 High Profile encoding and only 160 mW for 1080p playback.
            • Only 160 mW of power is required for mobile game graphics processing, supporting up to 1 gigapixel per second fill rates and improves graphics performance by a factor of 4x to 6x in comparison to the prior generation Videocore III multimedia processor.
            The BCM2763 processor integrates the key functionality and components needed to drive advanced multimedia capabilities in new handsets. As a result of this high integration, the BCM2763 enables a lower overall BOM cost, enabling manufacturers to pass these lower costs on and introduce advanced features to lower tier phones than previously possible.
            • The BCM2763 integrates the functions of eight chips including GPU and graphics memory, image signal processing (ISP) and ISP memory, video processing and video memory, HDMI and USB 2.0. 128MB of LPDDR2 graphics memory is stacked in a single package. 
            • The 40nm process enables reduced power, improved performance and reduced handset board space.
            Benefiting from an existing VideoCore software code base and legacy architecture, manufacturers of phones and other consumer electronics devices can easily add these new VideoCore IV multimedia features to their products, allowing faster time-to-market.
            The BCM2763 is currently sampling to early access customers (pricing available upon request). Handsets utilizing this new 40nm VideoCore IV multimedia processor technology are expected to reach the market in 2011.
            Supporting Quotes:
            Mark Casey, Vice President & General Manager, Broadcom’s Mobile Multimedia line of business.
            VideoCore IV is setting new benchmarks for performance, power consumption and affordability and is poised to drive advanced multimedia capabilities into new tiers of handsets. Supported by our comprehensive line of complementary cellular and connectivity solutions, our multimedia processor technology is the right choice for next generation mobile designs.”
            Subscribe to RSS Feed: Broadcom Mobile Platforms Group
            About Broadcom
            Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything®.
            Broadcom is one of the world’s largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2008 revenue of $4.66 billion, and holds over 3,650 U.S. and over 1,450 foreign patents, more than 7,750 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, data and multimedia.
            A FORTUNE 500® company, Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at +1.949.926.5000 or at www.broadcom.com.

            Linux client market share gains outside the Android? Instead of gains will it shrink to 5% in the next 3 years?

            The Linux Foudation quite proundly referred to ReadWriteMobile: The ‘Year of the Linux Desktop’? That’s So 2012 [Feb 3, 2013]

            For those Linux enthusiasts still pining for the mythical “Year of the Linux Desktop,” the wait is over. In fact, it already happened. In 2012 Microsoft’s share of computing devices fell to 20% from a high of 97% as recently as 2000, as a Goldman Sachs report reveals [”Clash of the titans” downloadable from here, dated Dec 7, 2012]. While Apple has taken a big chunk of Microsoft’s Windows lead, it’s actually Google that plays Robin Hood in the operating system market, now claiming 42% of all computing devices with its free “Linux desktop” OS, Android.

            Read more at ReadWriteMobile.

            from which I will include here the following chart:

            image

            for which Goldman Sachs commented as:

            The compute landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade with consumers responsible for the massive market realignment. While PCs were the primary internet connected device in 2000 (139mn shipped that year), today they represent just 29% of all internet connected devices (1.2bn devices to ship in 2012), while smartphones and tablets comprise 66% of the total. Further, although Microsoft was the leading OS provider for compute devices in 2000 at 97% share, today the consumer compute market (1.07bn devices) is led by Android at 42% share, followed by Apple at 24%, Microsoft at 20% and other vendors at 14%.

            Note from Goldman Sachs: Microsoft has gone from 97 percent share of compute market to 20 percent [The Seattke Times Dec 7, 2012]:
            I asked Goldman Sachs about what happened in the 2004-2005 time frame — as seen in the above chart — that made Apple’s vendor share jump, Microsoft’s share plummet and the “other” category to go from zero to 29 percent. Goldman Sachs replied that it has to do with more mainstream adoption of non-PC consumer computing devices but declined to elaborate beyond that.

            Microsoft was put into the “Challenged” category (along with Google BTW) by Golmann Sachs noting that:

            … we estimate that Microsoft would have to sell roughly 5 Windows Phones or roughly two Windows 8 RT tablets to offset the loss of one traditional Windows PC sale, which we estimate has an overall blended selling price of $60 for business and consumer.

            but a kind of more positive than negative outlook was predicted for the company by

            … we expect the recent launches of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets to help the company reclaim some share in coming years.

            Apple, at the same time, was into the “Beneficiaries” category (along with Facebook and Samsung BTW) by Goldmann Sachs for the reason of:

            … we believe loyalty to the company’s ecosystem is only increasing and this should translate into continued growth going forward. In particular, we see the potential for Apple to capture additional growth as existing iOS users move to multiple device ownership and as the company penetrates emerging regions with new devices such as the iPad miniAAPL and lower priced iPhones. As a result, we believe Apple’s market share in phones has room to rise much further, and that its dominant tablet market share appears to be more resilient than most expect. We expect these factors to continue to drive the stock higher.

            This is, however, not going to happen if taking a judgement from the stock market reflections since then with 13.7% drop in Apple’ share price vs. that of Dec 7 (the report publishing date) and a whopping 34.5% drop vs. its last peak on Sept 19, 2012 (at $702.1):image 
            source: Yahoo! Finance

            Why Did $AAPL Stock Go Down After Beating Earnings Estimates And $AMZN Stock Go Up After Missing? [Techcrunch, Jan 29, 2013] had the following explanation:

            The moves in different directions for Amazon and Apple have been about expectations and guidance. Wall Street has higher expectations for Apple and ‘different’ expectations for Amazon. Wall Street wants Apple’s ‘gross margins’ to grow. They don’t expect Amazon’s ‘profits’ to grow. It sounds silly, but if Apple has reported lower profits and a huge gross margin increase the stock might have shot up. If Amazon had reported record profits today on decreasing margins, Wall Street might have panicked.

            Wall Street has stopped caring about Apple’s profits today. They were displeased with forward guidance. Growth rates have slowed measurably at Apple which is understandable for a company of its’ size. Wall Street is worried that growth is slowing and competition from Google and Samsung are taking a toll. Apple has given Wall Street so many wonderful surprises so magic has become the norm. Now that Apple is boring, they have run for the hills.

            That moode didn’t change even after Apple CEO Tim Cook was trying to assure investors at the Goldman Sachs Internet and Technology Conference on Feb 12, just a week ago. Read the Wrap up: Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Goldman Sachs Conference keynote [AppleInsider, Feb 13, 2013] from which I will quote only the following excerpts as the most notable ones:

            Cook went on to say that introducing a “budget device” was not something Apple would be comfortable with, and instead pointed to the strategy seen with the iPhone lineup. In that model, new variants like the iPhone 5 are sold at the highest price while preceding versions like the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are sold at discounted rates.

            According to Cook, the iPad is “the poster child of the post-PC revolution” and has driving the push to tablets since its introduction in 2010.

            While Apple’s tablet has been the downfall for a number of PC alternatives, such as netbooks, the device is also said to be hurting the company’s own Mac computer sales. During the last quarter of 2012, Mac sales dropped 22 percent year-to-year on low demand and supply constraints. Apple’s iPad business, however, grew by nearly 50 percent over the same period.

            The cannibalization question raises its head a lot,” Cook said. “The truth is: we don’t really think about it that much. Our basic belief is: if we don’t cannibalize, someone else will. In the case of iPad particularly, I would argue that the Windows PC market is huge and there’s a lot more there to cannibalize than there is of Mac, or of iPad.”

            Cook noted that burgeoning markets like China and Brazil will be major players in future growth, and the company is banking on its ability to draw customers in to the Apple ecosystem with “halo products.”

            “Through the years, we’ve found a very clear correlation between people getting in and buying their first Apple product and some percentage of them buying other Apple products.”

            At the same conference Microsoft, similarly to Apple, declared a ‘no change’ strategy despite of the obvious failure of its Windows 8 and Windows Phone efforts so far. In the No “Plan B” for Microsoft’s mobile ambitions: CFO [Reuters, Feb 13, 2013] report one can read:

            “We’re very focused on continuing the success we have with PCs and taking that to tablets and phones,” Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said

            “It’s less ‘Plan B’ than how you execute on the current plan,” said Klein. “We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers.”

            Gartner estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 900,000 Surface tablets in the fourth quarter, which is a fraction of the 23 million iPads sold by Apple. Microsoft has not released its own figures but has not disputed Gartner’s.

            Windows phones now account for 3 percent of the global smartphone market, Gartner says, which is almost double their share a year ago but way behind Google’s Android with 70 percent and Apple with 21 percent.

            To grab more share, Klein said Microsoft was working with hardware makers to make sure Windows software is available on devices ranging from phones to tablets to larger all-in-one PCs.

            “It’s probably more nuanced than just you lower prices or raise prices,” said Klein. “It’s less a Plan B and more, how do you tweak your plan, how do you bring these things to market to make sure you have the right offerings at the right price points?”

            So the last 3 months went against Goldmann Sachs’ November 2012 predictions. The only question now remains whether those 3 months brought any changes in the non-Apple and non-Microsoft territories which would question other parts of the Goldmann Sachs’ forecast as well?

            There were no negative changes just strengthening of the already established dominant position against both Apple and Microsoft:

            1. Mainstream tablets 7-inch at US$199, say Taiwan makes [DIGITIMES, Feb 19, 2013]

            Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD have reshuffled the global tablet market and consequently 7-inch with a price cap of US$199 has become the mainstream standard for tablets, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

            Cumulative sales of the Nexus 7 have reached six million and are expected to reach eight million units before the expected launch of the second-generation model in June 2013, the sources said. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire have driven vendors to develop inexpensive 7-inch tablet models instead of 10-inch ones, the sources indicated.

            In order to be as reach US$199, 7-inch tablets are equipped with basic required functions such as access to the Internet and watching video, the sources noted. While Google, Amazon, Samsung Electronics and Asustek Computer are competitive at US$199 for 7-inch tablets, white-box or other vendors need to launch 7-inch models at lower prices such as US$149, the sources said. Fox example, China-based graphics card vendor Galaxy Microsystems has cooperated with Nvidia to launch a 7-inch tablet in the China market at CNY999 (US$160).

            2. Digitimes Research: 68.6% of touch panels shipped in 4Q12 from the Greater China area [DIGITIMES, Feb 19, 2013] meaning that in supply chain terms there is a growing concentration on suppliers not only from Greater China but especially from mainland China:

            Taiwan- and China-based touch panel makers held a 68.6% global market share for touch panels shipped during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Digitimes Research.

            China-based panel makers saw the biggest share in the handset touch panel market during the fourth quarter due to smartphone demand in China, while Taiwan-based panel makers only held a 27.5% share in the market largely due to lower-than-expected sales of the iPhone 5, said Digitimes Research.

            In terms of touch panels used in tablets, Taiwan-based panel makers saw a drop in their global market share to 59.9% during the period largely due to the iPad mini using DITO thin-film type touch screens provided from Japan-based touch panel makers. China-based panel makers meanwhile held 18.6% in the market due to demand for white-box tablets in China, added Digitimes Research.

            Meanwhile, Digitimes Research found that Taiwan-based TPK provided 70.9% of all touch panels used in notebook applications in 2012.

            3. Touch Panel Market Projected for a 34% Growth in 2013 from 2012 [Displaybank, sent in a newsletter form, Feb 19, 2013] published to promote Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013 [Jan 30, 2013]

            The touch panel market is growing rapidly due to the increasing sale of smartphones and tablet PCs. The touch panel market size in 2012 was 1.3 billion units, a 39.4% growth over 2011. The market is projected to grow 34% in 2013, growing to more than 1.8 billion units.

            Touch Panel Market Forecast (Unit: Million)image(Source: Displaybank, “Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013”)

            Smartphone and tablet PCs, major applications that use touch panels, are expected to continue to grow at a high rate. In addition, most IT devices that use display panels have either switched to or will start using the touch panels soon. Therefore the touch panel market will show a double digit growth annually until 2016, by unit. The market size is expected to reach more than 2.75 billion units by 2016.
            With the explosion in the sale of smartphones and tablet PCs during the past few years, our lives have changed dramatically. They are now common place in our lives, and have a huge influence in the IT industry in general. With the introduction of Windows 8 OS in October 2012, upsizing of touch panels has begun. The impact of this event on the immediate growth of the touch panel market and the long-term effect is so immense that it cannot be estimated at the moment.
            The financial crisis that started in 2008 left much of the IT industry hobbling worldwide. But only the touch panel market is enjoying a boom. Many new players are pouring into the industry, and those on the sidelines are waiting for the opportune moment to enter. As more players enter the competitive landscape, touch panel prices are falling rapidly. In addition, to gain competitiveness and to differentiate itself in the market has led players to develop and improve structure, technique and process, and seek out new materials.
            The introduction of Windows 8 is leading the increase in touch capable Notebook and AIO PCs. It is still too early for the touch interface to completely displace keyboard and mouse, but the touch functionality does add convenience to some operations. We are sure to see an increase in specialized apps that capitalize on such functions. Therefore, touch functions will complement traditional input methods. As the technology is still in early implementation stages, it is used only in select high-end Ultrabooks. But it’s only a matter of time before touch functions make its way to mid-end products.
            Forecasting the future of touch panel industry is not only difficult, but also outright confusing in the current landscape due to the rapid expansion; the increase in number of devices that use touch panels; more players in the market; and rapid development of new products and new processes. In serving clients, Displaybank has released “Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013” to provide industry outlook by application, product, and capacitive touch structure. The report also includes the supply chain of set makers and touch panel manufacturers; and cost analysis of major capacitive touch panels by size and type. This report will serve as a guide to bring clarity and understanding of rapidly transforming touch panel industry.

            4. Cheaper components could allow 7-inch tablets priced below US$150, says TrendForce [DIGITIMES, Dec 14, 2012]

            Viewing that Google and Amazon have launched 7-inch tablets at US$199, other vendors can offer 7-inch tablets at below US$150 only by adopting cheaper components, according to Taiwan-based TrendForce.
            As panels and touch modules together account for 35-40% of the total material costs of a 7-inch tablet, replacing the commonly used 7-inch FFS panels with 7-inch TN LCD panels accompanied by additional wide-view angle compensation could save over 50% in panel costs, TrendForce indicated. In addition, replacing a G/G (glass/glass) or OGS (one glass solution) touch module with a G/F/F (glass/film/film) one, although inferior in terms of transmittance and touch sensitivity, can cut costs by about 70%. Thus, the adoption of a TN LCD panel and a G/F/F touch module for a 7-inch tablet could reduce material costs by about US$25, TrendForce said.
            Given that the type of DRAM affects standby time only as far as user experience is concerned, costs can be reduced through replacing 1GB mobile DRAM priced at about US$10 with 1GB commodity DRAM priced at about US$3.50, TrendForce noted. As for NAND flash, 8GB and 4GB eMMC cost US$6 and US$4, respectively, and therefore the latter should be the preferred choice to save costs.
            For CPUs, China-based IC design houses, including Allwinner Technology, Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics, Ingenic Semiconductor, Amlogic and Nufront Software Technology (Beijing), provide 40-55nm-based processors at about US$12 per chip which could be alternatives to chips used in high-end tablets which cost about US$24, TrendForce indicated.
            While the sales performance of tablets below US$150 is yet to be seen, such cheap models are expected to put pressure upon China-based white-box vendors, and in turn intensify price competition in the tablet market in 2013, TrendForce commented.

            5. Strong demand from non-iPad tablet sector to boost short-term performance of IC vendors [DIGITIMES, Jan 28, 2013]

            Demand for IC parts from the tablet industry in China has been stronger than expected in the first quarter of 2013, which could help boost the short-term performance of IC design houses, while offsetting the impact of slow demand from China’s smartphone sector caused by high inventory levels, according to industry sources.

            Entry-level tablets meet market demand in terms of pricing and functionality, particularly in China, said the sources, adding that demand for entry-level tablets in China and other emerging markets could top 4-5 million a month in 2013 compared to 2-3 million in the second half of 2012.

            MediaTek, while seeing demand for its handset solutions from China decrease in the first quarter of 2013, has also enjoyed emerging IC demand from the tablet sector, with plans to release chipset solutions for the segment in the second quarter of the year, the source revealed.

            Since the growth momentum for tablets in 2013 is expected to come from non-iPad vendors in China and other emerging markets, Taiwan-based suppliers of LCD driver, analog and touch-controller ICs as well as those of Wi-Fi, audio and Bluetooth chips will benefit from the trend thanks to cost advantages and strong business ties in these markets, the sources commented.

            6. Allwinner A31 SoC is here with products and the A20 SoC, its A10 pin-compatible dual-core is coming in February 2013 [Dec 10, 2012] and The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs [Dec 4, 2012], both from my own separated trend tracking site devoted to the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ coming from mainland China and having the potential of drastically altering the 2013 device market (not taken into account at all by Goldmann Sachs report):

            Allwinner Tech tell us about the new features of their A31 product targeted for tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. Based on quadcore ARM Cortex-A7.

            that already resulted in huge growth of the mainland China Android tablet manufacturing in 2012, as well shown by this chart:which has already fundamentally affected the worldwide tablet market in 2012:

            7. What Allwinner started in 2012 with the single core A10/A13 SoCs and which was further boosted by the quad-core Cortex-A7 A31 SoC on Dec 5, 2012 with the release of Onda V972 and V812 tablets (for US$ 208 and US$144 respectively) is an incredible strategic inflection point for the whole ICT industry, which ALL SoC vendors should compete with. Rockchip shown as the #2 on the mainland China market just followed the suite:

            Rockchip’s new RK3188 chipset: quadcore ARM Cortex-A9 and quadcore ARM Mali-400, 28nm HKMG process. Plus an update on Rockchip’s involvement with products for the education market.

            8. Now the most ambitious external challenger Marvell Announces Industry’s Most Advanced Single-chip Quad-core World Phone Processor to Power High-performance, Smartphones and Tablets with Worldwide Automatic Roaming on 3G Networks [press release, Feb 19, 2013] which is going to add to the competition the integrated on the SoC 3.5G modems:

            Marvell’s PXA1088 is the industry’s most advanced single-chip solution to feature a quad-core processor with support for 3G field-proven cellular modems including High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+), Time division High Speed Packet Access Plus (TD-HSPA+) and Enhanced Data for GSM Environment (EDGE).

            The Marvell PXA1088 solution incorporates the performance of a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 with Marvell’s mature and proven WCDMA and TD-SCDMA modem technology to provide a low-cost [elsewhere stated by Marvell that this SoC is for the phones space in the “$100 range”] 3G platform for both smartphones and tablets. The advanced application processor technology of the PXA1088 enables a breakthrough end user experience for multimedia and gaming applications with universal connectivity. Marvell’s complete mobile platform solution includes the Avastar® 88W8777 WLAN + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM single-chip SoC and the L2000 GNSS Hybrid Location Processor, and an integrated power management and audio codec IC.

            Marvell’s PXA1088 is backward pin-to-pin compatible with its dual-core single-chip Unified 3G Platform, the PXA988/PXA986, enabling device partners to upgrade their next-generation mobile devices to quad-core without  additional design cost.

            Currently, the PXA1088 platform is sampling with leading global customers. Products based on this platform are expected to be commercially available in 2013 [elsewhere stated by Marvell thatWe’ll start seeing PXA1088-based phones in the first half of this year”].

            9. Yesterday we had two significant advancements described in the Ubuntu and HTC in lockstep [Feb 19, 2013] post here. Especially the Ubuntu related part is remarkable as first time we had a new platform which can span the whole spectrum of devices: from smartphones, to tablets, to desktops, to TVs – actually all from a smartphone capability expanded via docking and other means to a screen, to a TV, a keyboard, and a mouse. This is certainly an extreme case of the new Ubuntu capability which can have implementation in different devices as well. Even in that case, however, the source and binary codes could be the same. This is also cleverly using the already well established Android drivers and Android Board Support Package (BSP) infrastructure of the most cost-efficient ARM SoC vendors. Note that this is furthest from any “license violation” attacks as the original OHA terms and conditions are stating the Apache V2 licencing which:

            The Apache license allows manufacturers and mobile operators to innovate using the platform without the requirement to contribute those innovations back to the open source community. Because these innovations and differentiated features can be kept proprietary … Because the Apache license does not have a copyleft clause, industry players can add proprietary functionality to their products based on Android without needing to contribute anything back to the platform. As the entire platform is open, companies can remove functionality if they choose.

            10. Finally today came Google Glass: showing how radically the user experience might be changing in the next 2-3 years:

            Want to see how Glass actually feels? It’s surprisingly simple. Say “take a picture” to take a picture. Record what you see, hands free. Even share what you see, live. Directions are right in front of you. Speak to send a message, or translate your voice. Get the notifications that matter most. Ask whatever’s on your mind and get answers without having to ask. All video footage captured through Glass. Welcome to a world through Glass. See more athttp://www.google.com/glass/start “New Lipstick” by The Kissaway Trail on Google Play -http://goo.gl/v4dUf

            More information: Google Glass – Home [Feb 20, 2013] where it is also possible to grasp its wonderful, non-intrusive seign like this:

            image

            Conclusion: There are even more uncalculated by Goldmann and Sachs advancements in the non-Apple and non-Microsoft spaces than in Apple and Microsoft ones. Just in these 3 months! Therefore it would be ridiculous if Goldmann and Sachs’ “consumer compute platform share” forecast as shown in the chart above will be fullfilled!

            STMicroelectronics and Texas Intruments are exiting the mobile market as there is no chance to compete with aggressive SoC vendors from PRC and the market #2 MediaTek from Taiwan

            STMicroelectronics sees no future for itself in ST-Ericsson’s strategy of Fundamental repositioning for modem, APE and ModAps spaces as it announces new strategic plan [Dec 10, 2012]

            “Today we are announcing the new ST, aligned with the new market environment,” said Carlo Bozotti, President and CEO of ST. “Based on that, we have made the decision to exit ST-Ericsson after a transition period. We will continue to support ST-Ericsson as their supply-chain partner, advanced process-technology partner and application-processor IP provider.” 

            “Our new strategy is centered on leadership in sense and power and automotive products, and in embedded-processing solutions,” continued Bozotti. “Our specific focus is on five product areas: MEMS and sensors, smart power, automotive products, microcontrollers, and application processors including digital consumer. 

            In Embedded Processing Solutions the company will focus on the core of the electronics systems rather than on wireless broadband access. The Embedded Processing Solutions segment includes microcontrollers, imaging products, digital consumer products, application processors and digital ASICs. 

            As a consequence of the major changes that occurred in the dynamics of the wireless market, ST has taken the decision to exit ST-Ericsson after a transition period and is currently in negotiations on exit options. This disengagement process has started, with the transition expected to end during the third quarter of 2013. While no further details can be provided at this time, any option taken will be in line with the new financial model as presented by ST today.

            Ericsson, ST’s partner in joint venture, meanwhile reinforced its commitment to the modem part of the business with Ericsson starts negotiations on ownership of ST-Ericsson [Dec 10, 2012]

            ST-Ericsson announced its strategic plan in April 2012 and is in the middle of executing on company transformation aiming at lowering its break-even point and introducing new technologies.

            Ericsson continues to believe that the modem technology, which it originally contributed to the Joint Venture, has a strategic value for the wireless industry. For Ericsson, a key priority in this process is a successful market introduction of the new LTE modems that it is certain will be very competitive and needed in the market.

            During the process Ericsson will not speculate on the possible outcomes, timelines, and future ownership structures of ST-Ericsson.

            This led to ST-ERICSSON CONFIRMS STRATEGIC DIRECTION [Dec 10, 2012]

            ST-Ericsson confirmed today its strategic direction announced in April and continuing industrial and technology relationships with STMicroelectronics and Ericsson, following ST’s decision to disengage from ST-Ericsson after a transition period.

            “ST-Ericsson set a new strategic direction in April this year to develop competitive system solutions either directly or with partners. We have been executing steadily and aggressively on our strategy and delivered on our commitments,“ said Didier Lamouche, President and CEO of ST-Ericsson. “We have started to deliver integrated ModAp platforms to our lead customers and testing in-the-field of our cutting-edge LTE modem, as well as introducing a disruptive technology for the mobile market as we committed earlier this year.”

            ST-Ericsson continues its cooperation with Ericsson in the field of advanced wireless telecommunications to bring innovative and competitive modem solutions to the market.

            ST-Ericsson has started to work with customers and operators on testing its innovative LTE modem which is the core of its next NovaThor and Thor platforms. This follows extensive interoperability testing with Ericsson’s advanced network infrastructure as well as other network vendors.

            ST-Ericsson continues its cooperation with ST as its supply chain partner, advanced process technology partner and application processor IP provider.

            A NovaThor single chip modem and application processor based on ST’s advanced process technology has been sampled and confirms the breakthrough nature of the technology in terms of performance boost and ultra-low power consumption. Results of this cooperation will be demonstrated next month, with ST-Ericsson’s next generation NovaThor ModAp, at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

            ST-Ericsson will continue to work on delivery on its next generation technology and continuity in execution on customer commitments and supply.


            OMAP line being discontinued. What does this mean for the DM8148 family? [Answer from OMAP Embedded/EEE Marketing Manager on TI E2E Community, Nov 20, 2012]

            First let me clarify the OMAP product line is not being discontinued. We are changing the business strategy with OMAP moving away from smartphone/tablet/mobile market and focussing primarily on Embedded (including Automotive). This is consistent with communications earlier the quarter refer here [2012 Embedded Processing & Wireless investor meeting, Sept 25, 2012], In addition the announced actions [see below] to reduce costs is a implementation of the previously announced strategy to enable us to focus investment and resources and serve the embedded & automotive markets. In addition, consistent with our announced startegy to focus on embedded we announced at Electronica [see below next] with several module partners – OMAP 5 System on modules to enable embedded designs around OMAP.  OMAP processors will continue to ship and be supported for customer for years to come and will evolve around the strategy to focus on embedded & automotive.

            Texas Instruments will pull back its wireless business and retreat from smartphones and tablets, refocuses on embedded processing [The Dallas Morning News, Sept 25, 2012]

            A top Texas Instruments executive today said the company is pulling back its wireless business to refocus on new embedded processing products.

            Greg Delagi, head of TI’s embedded processing and wireless division, noted that the use TI’s chips in smartphones and tablets are “less attractive” given the emergence of a few large players and vertical supplier trends in those markets. That’s something other TI officials have been talking more about in the last several weeks.

            As a result, TI is “re-profiling its investments” in embedded processing and wireless because the research and development “needs to look different,” Delagi said.

            His comments came in a webcast of a TI meeting with financial analysts and investors in New York.

            Delagi said the company  plans to shift its focus — and R&D investments — into new embedded processing products, such as using its OMAP and other processors in industrial, automotive and home appliance applications.

            He wasn’t ready to disclose other details or a time frame yet, but noted that TI has shifted its investments before as it saw products become commoditized or other trends.

            The Dallas-based chipmaker combined its embedded [and] wireless businesses into one division in May.

            Although TI is a supplier to the latest Kindle Fire HD tablet, it has recently lost out to rivals on new Apple and Samsung smartphones.

            From TI reports financial results for 3Q12 [Oct 22, 2012]

            … Rich Templeton, TI’s chairman, president and CEO.  “Our core businesses of Analog and Embedded Processing each grew revenue by 2 percent.  Our operations were disciplined, with expenses and inventory levels both down, and our core businesses grew profit faster than revenue.”

            Regarding TI’s business model, which is focused on Analog and Embedded Processing, Templeton said, “These two core businesses now comprise 70 percent of our revenue.  The importance of this strategy shows in the strong cash that we generate even in weak markets and in our ability to return that cash to shareholders.  In the third quarter, our free cash flow exceeded $1 billion, and we returned more than 75 percent of it through dividends and share repurchases.  Our confidence in the long-term sustainability of our business model drove the dividend increase of 24 percent that we announced in the quarter.” 

            3Q12 segment results 

             
            3Q12
            3Q11
            Change
            2Q12
            Change
            Analog:
                     
                  Revenue
            $ 1,843
            $ 1,557
            18%
            $ 1,800
            2%
                  Operating profit
            $    460
            $    414
            11%
            $    437
            5%
            Embedded Processing:
                     
                  Revenue
            $    520
            $    539
            -4%
            $    509
            2%
                  Operating profit
            $      63
            $    113
            -44%
            $      51
            24%
            Wireless:
                     
                  Revenue
            $    325
            $    580
            -44%
            $    342
            -5%
                  Operating profit (loss)
            $    (53)
            $      78
            n/a
            $     (51)
            -4%
            Other:
                     
                  Revenue
            $    702
            $    790
            -11%
            $    684
            3%
                  Operating profit*
            $    370
            $    209
            77%
            $    161
            130%

            *  Includes Acquisition charges and Restructuring charges/other.

            Wireless: (includes OMAPapplications processors, connectivity products and baseband products)

            • Compared with both the year-ago and prior quarters, revenue declined primarily due to baseband productsRevenue from connectivity products also declined while revenue from OMAP applications processors increased.
            • Operating profit from the year-ago quarter became an operating loss due to lower gross profit.  The operating loss increased from the prior quarter due to lower revenue and the associated gross profit.

            TI to reduce costs in Wireless business; OMAP™ processors and wireless connectivity solutions will focus on embedded markets [Nov 14, 2012]

            Consistent with previously stated strategic plans, Texas Instruments(TI) (NASDAQ: TXN) announced today it will reduce costs and focus investments in its Wireless business on embedded markets with greater potential for sustainable growth. Cost reductions include the elimination of about 1,700 jobs worldwide.

            TI previously outlined intentions to focus its OMAP processors and wireless connectivity solutions on a broader set of embedded applications with long life cycles, instead of its historical focus on the mobile market where large customers are increasingly developing their own custom chips. These changes require fewer resources and less investment.

            “We have a great opportunity to reshape our OMAP processor and wireless connectivity product lines to concentrate on embedded markets. Momentum is already building with new embedded applications and a broad set of customers, and we are accelerating our efforts in these areas,” said Greg Delagi, senior vice president of Embedded Processing. “These job reductions are something we do with a heavy heart because they impact people we care deeply about. We will work closely with all employees affected by these changes to provide a range of assistance related to compensation, benefits and job search.”

            As a result of these actions, the company expects annualized savings of about $450 million by the end of 2013. Total charges will be about $325 million, most of which will be accounted for in the current quarter. TI’s fourth-quarter outlook, published on October 22, did not comprehend these restructuring charges.

            New OMAP™ 5 processor-based modules spur easier, faster industrial designs [Nov 12, 2012]

            Modules bring dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A15 prowess to systems that demand high-performance processing, rigorous real-time time control, advanced graphics, and fanless low power

            Expanding the OMAP™ processor footprint in embedded applications, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN), together with six leading system-on-module (SoM) vendors, today introduced OMAP 5 processor-based modules designed to simplify and speed industrial development. Based on a dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A15 architecture which is complemented by an integrated DSP, dual Cortex-M4 cores and various on-chip accelerators, TI’s OMAP 5 platform supports next-generation industrial applications such as point of service, portable data terminals and more. Select modules are on display this week at Electronica, in TI’s booth (#420 in Hall A4).

            TI is committed to the expansion of OMAP processors into industrial applications that require long product life cycles, extended temperature and reliability, and real-time control and communication,” said Debasish ‘Ron’ Nag, manager of TI’s OMAP industrial business. “Our OMAP 5 processors meet rigorous industrial requirements and come backed by a support model that ensures protection and longevity of customers’ investments, solidified by our commitment to ship devices for 10 years following production. We are proud to work with top SoM vendors to ease and speed industrial designs.”

            The new OMAP 5 processor-based modules build on TI’s more than 50 years of industrial experience, and optimized solutions based on Sitara™ ARM Cortex-A8, OMAP 4 and multicore processors, all of which are designed into industrial applications today. With the new OMAP 5 processor-based modules, industrial developers now have a greater range of ARM-based development options for solutions that require high-performance processing, real-time time control, advanced graphics, and fanless low power.

            OMAP 5 processors: Higher performance for industrial systems
            The OMAP 5 architecture keeps power levels low to decrease utility costs and brings the best of ARM’s Cortex-A15 performance to advanced industrial systems, delivering:

            • Dual ARM Cortex-A15 MPcores for high-performance application processing
            • Dual Cortex-M4 cores for efficient task offloading and power optimization  
            • Integrated DSP for flexible, high-performance, real-time processing analytics and control
            • On-chip accelerators for vision, full-HD video (1080p) and 2D/3D graphics
            • Industrial temperature qualification (40 to +85°C)

            New OMAP 5 processor-based modules
            The new OMAP 5 processor based modules are expected to be available to select customers in first quarter 2013 from TI’s SoM vendors. For sales information and complete details, please visit the following links:

            Each leveraging unique features and benefits, the space-optimized OMAP 5 processor modules meet the industrial field’s tight security and design implementations, and are optimized to work with TI’s analog, connectivity and embedded solutions for more robust designs. Support and engineering resources available through TI’s SoM vendors help manufacturers focus on design differentiation to quickly deploy game-changing industrial offerings.

            E Ink strategic value proposition: displays on every smart surface

            UpdatesReflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]

            E Ink and SiPix
            Meanwhile, could color have anything do to do with E Ink’s recent announcement of its intention to acquire SiPix, whose microcup technology does show promise in that area? E Ink will certainly utilize SiPix’s color capabilities, says Sriram K. Peruvemba, Chief Marketing Officer for E Ink Holdings. Peruvemba characterizes that color as having “some of the same advantages as E Ink in that it is low power, sunlight readable, thin, light … .”
            Beyond a doubt, one area of interest for E Ink is SiPix’s manufacturing capabilities. “SiPix’s factories, equipment, and infrastructure are relatively newer, which gives us greater flexibility and additional capacity as we seek new markets,” says Peruvemba. Among the markets that the potential acquisition will make more accessible, he says, are digital signage and smart cards.
            When it comes to E Ink, it isn’t necessarily all about color, notes University of Cincinnati’s Jason Heikenfeld, who has served as a guest editor for Information Display (and is also a founder of e-Paper up-and-comer  Gamma Dynamics, mentioned later on). “We should maintain excitement about the continued expansion of monochrome e-Paper products,” he says. “A quiet revolution continues to take place there. Color-video e-Paper will also have its day, but today we should be impressed with E Ink’s continued product growth and diversification.”
            Any way you look at it, with E Ink, whose share of the e-Reader market is more than 90%, poised to acquire AUO subsidiary SiPix, further consolidation in the e-Paper market seems inevitable. At press time, E Ink had reached an agreement to acquire 82.7% of SiPix’s shares and was seeking to acquire up to a 100% stake, valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion [US$ 51.2 million]. [See: Complementary ePaper technology adds to E Ink’s portfolio of offerings [E Ink Holdings press release, Aug 3, 2012]] As DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza wrote in a recent blog, titled And Then There Was One – E Ink to Acquire SiPix, “Combined with Bridgestone’s exit [earlier this year] from the electrophoretic display (EPD) business, this means that E Ink, the first company to mass produce EPDs, will be the sole manufacturer of the technology.”
            Yet, the e-Paper story isn’t all black and white. In the future, look for news from Liquavista (which Samsung acquired in January 2011) and Gamma Dynamics (a spinoff from the University of Cincinnati). Both companies have video-capable displays (Liquivista’s is based on electrowetting and Gamma Dynamics’s on electrofluidics) that are reported to show more vibrant color than previously available.

            Meanwhile innovation in “color inking” is continuing as evidenced by Vivid e-ink makes ditching books a colourful choice [NewScientist, Sept 5, 2012]

            … Naoki Hiji of Fuji Xerox in Kaisei, Japan, and colleagues have built a prototype system that uses tiny fluid-filled cells containing cyan, magenta, yellow and white particles to produce almost any colour.
            Black-and-white e-ink displays work by having negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles suspended in fluid inside a cell. Apply a negative electrical field to the cell, and white particles move to the top and become visible; flip the current, and black shows up.
            Hiji’s display uses the same principle, but each colour particle responds to a certain intensity of electrical field, while the white particles are uncharged (see diagram). …

            No problem with reading on tablets over a long period of time [Eva Siegenthaler on IFeL bloggt, Sept 20, 2012]

            Tablets are not suited for reading over an extended period of time”; this statement is widespread. For example Scott Liu, head of the American-Taiwanese company E Ink Holdings, states that reading over an extended period of time on a Liquid Crystal display leads to increased visual fatigue. “The iPad is a fascinating multifunctional device, but not intended for hour-long reading” (stern.de). In comparison, E-ink readers, with their paper similar displays, are looked at as an adequate replacement for a book.
            But is it true that the tablet is an inadequate device for reading over an extended period of time? Critical statements against the tablet as a replacement for the book are widespread but there is a lack of scientific evidence for these assumptions. For that reason, a study answering this question was implemented at the Institute for Research in Open- Distance- and eLearning (IFeL).
            In a laboratory study, the participants read for several hours on either E-ink (Sony PRS-600) or LCD-Tablet (Apple iPad), where different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly (after each hour) recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour, and pupillary light reflex.
            The results of the study show that reading on both display types is good and very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures. Participants did not have more visual fatigue when reading on a tablet than when reading on an E-ink device. We concluded from this study that it is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that is crucial for reading. The study shows that compared to the visual display units of past decades, recent electronic displays allow good and comfortable reading, even for extended time periods.
            A few critical remarks still need to be made though. This laboratory study was conducted under artificial light conditions. Therefore it is unclear if an experiment under daylight conditions would lead to the same results. Another interesting question is how the sleep quality is influenced by different display technologies.
            But still, the result of the study is an important novelty in reading research, and is opposed to many statements from publishers and subjective user self tests, that have stated that tablets are not appropriate for reading over a long period of time.
            More information on the study is available online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x/abstract
            Publication:
            Siegenthaler, E., Bochud, Y., Bergamin, P. and Wurtz, P. (2012), Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 32: 367–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x
            Sources:
            http://www.stern.de/digital/homeentertainment/e-book-lesegeraete-die-gretchenfrage-beim-elektronischen-lesen-1596371.html

            Beyond the Kindle: what the future holds for E Ink [TechRadar, Sept 10, 2012]

            IN DEPTH Ereaders for classrooms, smart locks and dual screen smartphones on the cards

            The ereader market has been tripling in volume since 2007 but not this year,” explained Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s chief marketing officer, to TechRadar.
            “It is partly to do with tablets but the biggest reason is that the economy is off at the moment… we have also seen not as many product launches as last year and the year before.”
            “We believe that E Ink will come to home appliances. We are thinking differently – we want E Ink on every surface.
            “There are a lot of dumb surfaces around and by adding the E Ink technology we can transform them, by adding a display and making them smart.
            “We are going to keep going in that direction, enhancing products. Whether it is animated shelf labels, USB keys… drills.”
            “We create a lot of these concepts and some of them go nowhere, while some are picked up” – the company continues to create prototypes to show how versatile E Ink technology can be.
            It also seems that sometimes an E Ink device created for one specific market may take on a wholly different guise when it is finally released in the wild.

            E Ink, now available in lock form

            “One concept that was picked up but not how we originally intended was our E Ink lock,” said Peruvemba.
            “This was originally pitched as a bicycle lock, where it could tell you if your bike was locked properly or not. It’s very low powered, just an E Ink display with a hole in the middle. But it just didn’t get picked up; no one in the bicycle world wanted it.”
            “And then a company called InVue decided to take it on and use it for cabinet displays, it’s virtually indestructible so no more broken keys – alleviating a problem that retailers have with their cabinets.”
            White lightning
            This move away from ereaders doesn’t mean that E Ink is not innovating in the market it continues to dominate.
            The latest kindle to be launched, the Kindle Paperwhite, shows that E Ink can compete with tablets when it comes to display.
            Using E Ink’s Pearl technology and LED lighting it means you can use your Kindle in the dark, but still offer a screen that’s easier on the eyes – something tablets just can’t do.

            E Ink makes smartphones smarter

            One final place where we could see an E Ink screen is on the back of a mobile phone. Again, it’s E ink’s mantra of making a ‘dumb’ space smart. According to Peruvemba an additional screen on a mobile could be exactly what consumers need.
            “Most of these mobile phones have nothing going on on the back.
            “We can add another display at low cost on the back of the device and offer things like clocks, stock information.”
            Peruvemba also hinted: “There are vendors looking into this technology – it is very new but typically we should see this type of concept come within the year.”
            Looks like the world is going to be E Ink stained for some time to come.

            E Ink Booth Tour at SID 2012 [EInkSeeMore, the official YouTube channel of E Ink, June 20, 2012]

            E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba shows new products and concepts from E Ink and their partners, including traffic lights, crosswalks, kayak and bike computers, and various signage.

            E Ink at IFA 2012 [Charbax YouTube channel, Aug 31, 2012]

            Sriram Peruvemba of E Ink shows the latest demonstrations for the use of E Ink on devices and signage around the world. The backs of smartphones and tablets can be an E Ink screen.

            E-Ink concept double-display smartphone hands-on [SlashGear, Aug 31, 2012]

            … What could a twin-screen smartphone of this sort be used for? E Ink has a few ideas, though is leaving most of that to OEMs. An ereader app is the obvious choice, though you could also show a digital boarding pass for a plane (even if you had no battery life remaining on your phone to drive the regular screen), QR codes, or mapping directions. Alternatively, the panel could be used to show promotional information, such as vouchers for nearby stores, or even sponsored messages in return for free call, message and data credit. …

            E INK ANNOUNCES 2011 FINANCIAL REPORT [E Ink Holdings press release, Feb 22, 2012] Company also launches new website, www.einkgroup.com to encompass all E Ink companies

            … In 2011 consolidated sales revenues totaled NT$ 38.43 billion [US$1.3 billion], a growth of 53% as compared to 2010. Profit after-tax totaled NT $6.53 billion [US$220.85 million] and EPS totaled NT$6.05, a growth of 59 percent as compared to 2010. … Scott Liu, the chairman of E Ink, said, “… in 2012 we expect to strengthen our competitiveness and continue development of both flexible and color ePaper technologies. Additionally, we expect a customer to launch a high-resolution product with touch technology within this year.”

            As to market development, Liu said, “in addition to the eReader market, we are also actively expanding into the education and business markets. …”

            Today E Ink also announced the launch of a new global website, www.einkgroup.com, which provides product, technology and operational information for all of the companies under the E Ink umbrella.

            Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink Holdings, said: “As our businesses expand and products become diversified, we are keenly aware of the importance of integrating our internal resources globally. This is why we decided to launch einkgroup.com as the portal of E Ink Holdings around the globe. This website provides information of product and technology of E Ink Holdings, in which browsers can easily find the information they need.”

            Visitors to the site will find a consolidated location to browse the technology, product offerings and company backgrounds for the organizations under the E Ink Holdings umbrella. The site will host the Investor Relations portal for E Ink Holdings, as well as sales and marketing information. In addition to their inclusion in the new website, product line websites, such as www.eink.com and www.hydis.com will continue to host information particular to their technologies and job offerings.

            Shares of E Ink under pressure amid market uncertainty [Focus Taiwan of the CNA, Feb 23, 2011]

            “Despite record high earnings for 2011, E Ink’s gross margin has been squeezed by price cuts by the Kindle series of e-paper devices of Amazon, which is the largest customer of the Taiwanese firm,” Mirae Asset Management analyst Arch Shih said.

            “With market uncertainty expected to continue to impact product prices, I am afraid that E Ink’s profit margin will keep falling in the first quarter of this year,” he said.

            In the fourth quarter of last year, E Ink’s gross margin fell 6.8 percentage points to 28.6 percent, while it posted NT$1.28 billion in net profit, or NT$1.19 per share, down from NT$2.08 recorded in the third quarter.

            … “Amazon has tried its best to stage a price war in a bid to grasp a larger market share, and at the same time, it has cut contract production fees to its suppliers like E Ink,” Shih said. “This development has imposed a pressing threat to E Ink’s operations.”

            “Share prices tend to reflect forward-looking prospects, so it was no surprise to see investors dumping the stock,” he went on.

            E Ink said it has become very cautious about its earnings outlook for 2012 and that it is possible its sales and profit will see the largest challenge of the year in the first quarter due to slow-season effects.

            Shih said the global EPD market is suffering a failure to expand content to attract buyers and that the problem is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

            “I doubt E Ink will have a quick turnaround after the first quarter. Its share price is expected to continue to be pressured,” Shih said.

            E Ink reports 33.26% earnings decline [Taipei Times, Feb 23, 2011]

            … The decline in profit was because of the higher shipments of fringe field switching (FFS) LCD panels, which offer lower margins than the company’s flagship product — e-paper — E Ink chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said at an investors’ conference yesterday. …

            Liu said this year would be a “challenging year full of uncertainties,” mainly because of the possible fallout from the unresolved eurozone debt crisis.

            “Clients are conservative and said the market visibility is low,” he said, adding that E Ink would no longer provide shipment targets or projections in a response to clients’ requests.

            E Ink posts EPS of over NT$6 in 2011 [DIGITIMES, Feb 23, 2012]


            EIH plans to launch its next-generation color e-paper products in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the company currently does not have plans to ramp up its capacity for color EPD products, Liu said.

            The company is also developing flexible e-paper products, using plastic substrates instead of glass substrates used previously, with new products to be released in the third or fourth quarter, Liu revealed.

            Amazon 6″ color Kindle will not be arriving this year [übergizmo, Feb 21, 2012]

            Just yesterday we reported that according to Digitimes, Amazon is supposedly working on a 6” Kindle e-reader that will be utilizing colored e-ink. This rumor supposedly came about based on reports that E Ink Holdings had landed an order from Amazon for 6” color e-reader modules, but Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader, who’s had a pretty decent track record when it comes to these rumors, doesn’t seem to think so.

            According to Nate who contacted his source at E Ink, this is completely untrue. His source told him that if Amazon were indeed planning a color e-reader, they would only be able to start shipping them in a year’s time, because that would be how long it would take Amazon to set up a new production line for this rumored device.

            He also revealed that while E Ink has been making the Triton screens for years, it has mainly been the 9.7” model and not one in the 6” variety like the rumors had suggested and can be found in the Ectaco Jetbook Color. For now it looks like if you had hopes for a 6” color Amazon Kindle e-reader this year, you could be out of luck but we’ll be keeping our eyes open either way.

            End of updates

            EPD maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) reportedly has landed orders for 6-inch color e-book reader modules from Amazon with shipments to begin in March, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

            Shipments of the touched-enabled e-book reader modules are expected to top three million units a month, the paper said.

            EIH is to reveal its financial results for 2011 at an investors conference on February 22, said the paper, which added that EIH is expected to report an EPS of over NT$6 (US$0.2) for the year.

            At: E Ink lands 6-inch color e-book reader module orders from Amazon, says paper [Feb 20, 2012]

            So, E Ink’s business seems to expand quite well along the traditional e-book reader direction. But what is the more general business direction? In this post I am giving the answer.

            Before that it is also worth to go through the previous posts: E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011 – Jan 9, 2012], Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [May 25, 2011], E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011] and Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2010].

            The marketing idea of E Ink as a technology for all kind of smart surfaces came up in 2008 at the E Ink Corporation when it was an organization independent of any EPD panel manufacturers:

            “Fashion is a key driver in today’s world,” said Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing, E Ink Corp.E Ink offers a smart surface that changes the design and brings mobile phones to the fashion forefront of technology.”

            See: E INK ANNOUNCES MOBILE PHONE DESIGN WINS IN JAPAN [July 22, 2008]

            When in 2010 it was acquired by the leading EPD panel manufacturer (then called Prime View International, immediately renamed as E Ink Holdings) that idea was picked up by the new owner as well and even extended into a kind of a general vision:

            “The E Ink name is synonymous with the ePaper industry that we pioneered and in which we enjoy a leadership position,” said Dr. Scott Liu, Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings Incorporated. “We are now a globally recognized brand name and aim to have our displays on every smart surface.”

            See: PRIME VIEW INTERNATIONAL (PVI) IS NOW E INK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED [June 18, 2010]

            And now at CES 2012 we had a full manifestation of that marketing concept:

            E Ink On Every Smart Surface [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]

            Exclusive 17-minute interview with E Ink’s CMO at CES, where they showed me a Triton color display for signage with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. I also saw the SURF display used in a hand drill which has not been filmed before. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson. The Triton color display based Ectaco eReader that had just won the CES innovation award, it is being deployed in Russian schools. New E Ink watches from Phosphor and Seiko. Finally, the Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched this week was demonstrated, it is considered to be indestructible. E Ink has shipped over 25 million E Ink screens for e-readers alone in 2011, that’s up from 10 million screens in 2010 and 4 million screens in 2009. Now E Ink is also working to expand into new markets, signage, appliances, everywhere. The idea is that more and more devices and surfaces may get an E Ink screen on them that thus by being bi-stable can show the informations for a long time without using any battery. While many electronic paper technology companies show samples, E Ink is actually in mass production with monochrome, color and segmented displays and they claim that no technology in the world comes close to the reading experience on E Ink’s displays and these displays are easy on the eyes since they don’t have a shiny background or light emitting backlight.

            The above note produced by the author of video, Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, is not meant to elaborate all the talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of E Ink Holdings Sriram Peruvemba (or Sri Peruvemba). Since this post is about the strategic value proposition of E Ink I had to compose a note of my own which also corresponds to the order of presentation by Sri Peruvemba on the Charbax video:

            1. Amazon Kindle lineup, most used in the area of leasure reading.
            2. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson, going beyond publishing into what they are calling e-document space. Their plan is to replace electronic forms that are used by different folks with their laptops replacing printed paper, pads of paper and that sort of the things. These devices will have WiFi support, pen input and ability to edit. Some applications you may imagine are in inventory logistics, in the doctor’s office, and attorneys and other office people carrying this. They can put a number of images on them which would be very suitable for this 300DPI display, e.g. circuits, graphs, charts, maps and that sort of things. This has almost twice the resolution of the most of the other displays they are shipping which have a 167 to 200DPI resolution.
            3. With E-Ink technology they are at the point where it is better than reading on printed paper [for B/W]. Now they have pen input available on their devices thus replacing both printed paper and pen with their products. The idea here is to allow people to highlight, annotate, write notes and use it to fill-out forms. The E-Ink display would come into play during this (not the processor is the “limiting factor”) in the B/W case the native speed can be used which is 250 msec response time for the E-Ink display.
            4. Color E-Ink display based on the Triton display material. ECTACO JetBook Color, an actually shipping device is shown. It is being deployed in Russian schools as replacement for textbooks. They are still in early stages of deployment with this device but see a lot of promise in the education sector. They expect the education to be one of the largest markets for E-Ink, both the monochrome and color Trident display. A devices like this ECTACO JetBook Color is not simply replacement for textbooks but in fact it is a library. You can put a thousand books or more on any one of these devices and replacing the library. Literally every student has a library of his/her own. It also increases the interaction between the student and the teacher. Tests are created and assessed almost instantenously. Another point is that the color feature in the EPD display allows to convey more information and so students have much better learning tool than they had with printed books. Also books will never be out of the stock, there will be no late fees with the library and the content is available 24×7 etc. As far as the price of the color display is concerned the color is still based on the monochrome display, they put a color filter on top. So the color filter is an additional cost but most of the additional costs on the device itself would probably be the cost of the software (from E-Ink Holdings’ customer engineering the device) that makes the additional features of a colored device possible compared to the monochrome.
            5. Triton color display for signage (like the large billboards put on the streets) with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. This is all the result of a significant increase of the pixel size when significantly more light is coming to each pixel. They are looking at applications at signage space where you are looking at a device not from 6″ away but to a device that is 6 feets or 60 feets awaywhere the larger pixels are perfect for that.
            6. Brief showing of the SURF display (used in a hand drill shown later) just to demonstrate the display materialfor that case.
            7. The actual E-Ink display material is extremely thin and flexible like a sheet of transparency foil. This is the direction they are going to make display without glass and conform to non-flat surfaces, getting into non-publishing applicationslike signage.
            8. A concept power drill with the SURF display put on the surface as a case of showing the usefullness of an EPD display for a battery powered device when otherwise you would have no idea about whether there is enough battery power left or not. This could be quite an annoyance when you climb up a ladder and in the process you discover that the battery power to work with the drill drained down too soon. They can cut the display material in a needed shape so the display can be non-rectangular. E.g. a wrist watch is shown where the display material is round shaped. E-Ink is very unique in this respectamong the display technologies.
            9. Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched that week was demonstrated, it is meant for outdoor applications and considered to be virtually indestructible. It combines the solar technology with the E-Ink display, and essentially all of the solar power is used to listen to music rather than showing information. Considered to be a perfect combination for applications like that and they foresee many more deployments like that in the future.
            10. A couple of wristwatches. With a segmented SURF display which is curved and in a unique shape (a Phosphor device). Then a matrix display in a Seiko watch where you can have images changedon the display.
            11. For segmented display they can go for very low volumes because that kind of display doesn’t involve fabricating the backplane in a fab. But on the other hand the matrix displays (for which much larger order volumes are required) can be made in very large sizes since they are making their display material in rolls, seven feet wide and going a kilometer long. So a lot of new applications will come up, in areas where display technology hasn’t been used before. Then their unique selling point is the ruggedness of the E-Ink display material as well.

            After that it is worth to watch the following, very recent branding/directional videos from E Ink Holdings:

              • Imagine… a classroom with no paper… Build an eLearning environment
              • Imagine… a schoolbag with no book… Build an eLearning environment
              • Imagine… A ubiquitous home… Build an eLearning environment
            • E Ink – The First Law of More – Innovation:
              E Ink – More 的第一法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
              • states: the more you See, the more you Do
              • … Evolution is a collaborative process …
              • We’ve teamed up with some of the best names in the electronics business like: Epson, Freescale, Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments to create an electronics ecosystem that will nurture the E Ink innovations of the future.
              • We’ve joined forces with some of the most iconic brands in the world including Sony, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Samsung, Lexar and Motorola to bring an exiting new generation of consumer products to life.
              • We believe more innovation brings more good into the world. As an 840 million dollar [US] company we intend to do everything we can to make a big difference.
            • The Second Law of More – Growth:
              E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
              • states: the more you Do, the more you Grow
              • 100,000 displays in 2006 … over 10 million in 2010 …
              • today almost every e-book device on the market uses E Ink enabled reflective displays
              • Tomorrow we expect to lead the way in e-textbooks, providing a libray in every student’s backpack. And a few years down the road we see ourselves in signage of all shapes and sizes.
              • The next generation of E Ink applications is being developed as we speak: the paperless office, electronic toll passes, sporting goods, musical score sheets, personal medical devices, and more.
              • Look at the future from our vantage point. You’ll see why we are excited.
            • The Third Law of More – Green:
              E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
              • states: the more you Grow, the more you Care
              • Care = Save In more ways than you can imagine
              • E-Ink display use 97% less energy than the LCD versions
              • Under normal conditions an E Ink enabled e-reader runs three weeks on a single charge. That is supposed to be a day and a half on an LCD display.
              • A recent study from the University of California Berkely shows that an E Ink enabled electronic newspaper releases 32 – 140x less CO2than its paper counterpart. What’s more, e-book saved trees by drastically reducing the consumption of paper.
              • This year sales of e-books are predicted to top 1 billion [US] dollars, more than 10x increase over last year. …

            Also important to see E Ink’s video about:
            How E Ink Works [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Oct 17, 2011]

            Ever wonder how your eReader screen works? The ePaper display is made with E Ink, which is basically black and white particles inside small microcapsules. Watch to learn how E Ink technology works!

            As well as another video about:
            E Ink Color Triton technology [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Sept 23, 2011]

            Watch to learn about E Ink Triton, the only commercially available color electronic paper display, and see how E Ink technology works!

            Finally there are two important electronic paper product demos:
            E Ink Electronic Paper Display Products [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]

            E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba explains E Ink products – electronic paper displays. The displays are both monochrome (Pearl) and color (Triton), up to 300dpi high resolution, and in several sizes.

            E Ink Products/Concepts Tour at FPD [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]

            E Ink Director of Product Management Giovanni Mancini takes us on a tour at the 2011 FPD show in Yokohama, Japan. He shows us the new all plastic eReader, E Ink and LED road sign, Epson music stand with foot pedals that turn the page, and Toppan E Ink tags that update without batteries!

            Then comes:
            Ectaco jetBook Color on Fox News [ECTACO YouTube channel, Jan 24, 2012]

            An edited clip showing the jetBook Color on Fox News at the 2012 CES in Las Vegas. The jetBook Color was the CES 2012 Innovations Award winner.

            ECTACO jetBook Color introduced in Russian Schools – цветная эл.книга [ECTACO YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]

            PLEASE TURN ON CC [Red] FOR ENGLISH CAPTIONS Introduction of Ectaco’s groundbreaking new jetBook Color in in Public School #239, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Презентация первой в мире электронной книги ECTACO jetBook COLOR в рамках проекта “О переходе на электронное образование” в школе №239, города Санк-Петербурга, Россия. Учитель и ученики делятся своими впечатлениями от полученного опыта.

            William (Bill) Wong, staff technology editor from Electronic Design – focusing on embedded, software, and systems otherwise – who is an ardent follower of E Ink’s progress. For more E Ink related information you can watch his two Engineering TV Videos and a few Electronic Design excerpts given below:

            Behind the Scenes at CES 2012 – Display Technology [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 25, 2012]

            Eink’s electronic paper display (EPD) is popular with e-readers and it has been used on other devices such as Lexar’s JumpDrive flash that shows the amount of space used on the drive. The display uses no power when not plugged in and draws only a tiny amount when updating the display. Eink was showing off color demos and EPD prototype applications. It is a technology worth investigating for embedded applications.

            Cortex-A9 Incorporates Electronic Paper Display Controller [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 18, 2012]

            E-readers with electronic paper displays (EPDs) provide an excellent reading experience. But most of these e-readers have been underpowered compared to smart phones and tablets. E-reader manufacturers try to keep costs low, which is why processor performance has been lower.

            Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite and i.MX 6DualLite target these low-cost products with one or two 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Developers will have to decide whether the i.MX 6SoloLite’s 2D graphics are sufficient or if they require the 3D graphics support of the i.MX 6DualLite. Likewise, the 6SoloLite has a 32-bit DDR3 controller, while the 6DualLite has a 64-bit DDR3 controller for a higher-performance platform. Both support LP-DDR2 memory along with a range of flash memory.

            The i.MX 6DualLite has a single shader, compared to the four 3D shaders found in the higher-end i.MX 6Dual and i.MX6Quad chips. The family also addresses LCD screens, so these chips may find their way into low-end tablets and embedded display devices. The i.MX 6DualLite has HDMI, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and MIPI display support along with a MIPI camera interface as well. And, this chip tops the Solo with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PCI Express x1 link.

            The i.MX 6DualLite is pin-compatible with other i.MX 6 chips like the 1-GHz i.MX 6Solo, 1.2-GHz i.MX 6Dual, and 1.2-GHz i.MX6Quad. All are software compatible. Software support includes Google Android 4.0, Windows Embedded CE, QNX, Ubuntu, Linux, Linaro, and Skype.

            VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment

            The VIZIO Internet Apps® Plus (“V.I.A. Plus”) ecosystem of devices was launched on June 28, 2011 with the introduction of VIZIO’s first tablet. Each VIZIO V.I.A. Plus product features a VIZIO-designed user interface that is not only intuitive but also consistent across screens, for superior ease-of-use for the casual, non-technical user. It is built on the Android™ platform. All the information about that innovative ecosystem is available in an earlier “collection post” on this blog: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].

            We will look into the essential expansion of V.I.A. Plus announced at CES 2012 later. Here is sufficient to include just a short piece from the above mentioned collection in order to make the concept of V.I.A. Plus ecosystem absolutely clear (before we will go into the details of the brand new Windows based premium PC entertainment from VIZIO):

            VIZIO Tablet [VIZIO video, Aug 1, 2011]: the value proposition video from the vendor which is extremely well demonstrating not only the VIZIO-specific V.I.A. Plus UI but the whole new user experience:

            – [0:04] Listen to music – [0:19] Get social – [0:51] Read books – [1:10] View pictures and watch videos – [1:33] VIZIO’s Theater 3D. Leave behind the expensive battery powered glasses, the screen flicker, the darkened picture. – [1:46] Browse the web – [2:28] Control of your entertainment at your fingertips [i.e. the software based remote control] … [Watch at the end how easy is in the V.I.A. Plus user interface to switch over from your tablet to a Theater 3D TV set when viewing a 3D video on YouTube! See also the Theatre 3D related indormation further down in this post.]

            This week Vizio has added the alternative, Windows based PC entertainment to its portfolio as well: VIZIO Bursts Into the Computing Realm with Five Innovative and Sleek PCs Set to Redefine Consumer Entertainment [VIZIO press release, Jan 9, 2011]

            CES — VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO’s line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.

            Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.

            VIZIO PCs will be a continued progression of the VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.) Ecosystem, which provides a seamless, cohesive entertainment experience across multiple screens. As the V.I.A. experience spans across the brand’s HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, tablets and more, today’s announcement represents a natural extension of the experience over to the PC as well. Together with Windows, VIZIO’s PCs will deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, ensuring a fast, fluid and immersive user experience that distinguishes them from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.

            “PCs are often associated with productivity and the workplace, routinely lacking the excitement that would be expected with what and how consumers want to use their PCs today – as an extension of their entertainment experience,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer. “VIZIO wanted to change that. Our new line of VIZIO PCs are truly high quality and consumer focused, delivering enhanced multimedia capabilities while upholding our high standards of performance, style and design.”

            Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room. Known for HDTVs that boast stunning high-definition pictures, VIZIO engineered its new line of PCs to meet the same high-quality standards.

            Always committed to pushing the envelope, VIZIO believes their groundbreaking PCs will alter the way consumers view computing. With entertainment at the heart of the VIZIO PCs, users will find that consuming content will be just as desirable as on their HDTV. With an already high demand for devices that are able to multitask between work and play, the consumer’s choices are limited. VIZIO accepted the challenge and has elegantly bridged both worlds to provide a Windows-based PC that offers a rich entertainment experience alongside tools needed for getting work done.

            “We’re excited to see VIZIO enter the PC market and the positive impact they will have on the Windows ecosystem,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “With their expertise in providing connected entertainment experiences and an innovative go-to-market approach, we look forward to working with VIZIO to bring premium consumer PCs to market.”

            VIZIO anticipates its entry into the PC category will challenge consumers to expect more from their computers ­enabling them to play as hard as they work. Discover more at http://www.vizio.com/CES.

            *Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.

            About VIZIO
            VIZIO, Inc., “Entertainment Freedom For All,” headquartered in Irvine, California, is America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company. In Q2 2007, VIZIO skyrocketed to the top by becoming the #1 shipping brand of flat panel HDTVs in North America and in Q3 2007 became the first American brand in over a decade to lead in U.S. LCD HDTV shipments. Since 2007 VIZIO LCD HDTV shipments remain in the top ranks in the U.S. and were #1 for the total year in 2009 and 2010. VIZIO is committed to bringing feature-rich consumer electronics to market at a value through practical innovation. VIZIO offers a broad range of award winning consumer electronics. VIZIO’s products are found at Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, BJ’s Wholesale, and other retailers nationwide along with authorized online partners. VIZIO has won numerous awards including a #1 ranking in the Inc. 500 for Top Companies in Computers and Electronics, Fast Company’s 6th Most Innovative CE Company of 2009, and made the lists of Ad Age’s Hottest Brands, CNET’s Editor’s Choice, CNET Best of CES 2011 – Television, IGN Best of CES – Television, Bluetooth.org Best of CES, Good Housekeeping’s Best Big-Screens, PC World’s Best Buy, Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice and OC Metro’s 10 Most Trustworthy Brands among many other prestigious honors. For more information, please call 888-VIZIOCE or visit on the web at www.VIZIO.com.

            The V, VIZIO, VIZIO Internet Apps, Theater 3D, CinemaWide HDTV, Full Array TruLED, Edge Lit Razor LED, 240Hz SPS, 480Hz SPS, Entertainment Freedom and Entertainment Freedom for All names, logos and phrase are registered or unregistered trademarks of VIZIO, Inc. All other trademarks may be the property of their respective holders.

            SOURCE VIZIO, Inc.

            Brand New Line of Gorgeous Vizio Products from CES 2012! [TEKHD, Jan 10, 2012]

            Veronica Belmont talks to the CTO of Vizio, Matt McRae, to get the newest and unreleased info on the latest line of products including the All-In-One, complete with the highest performance processors in the world!

            CES 2012: Vizio takes on the iMac [IGNentertainment, Jan 9, 2012]

            Get a first look at Vizio’s slick all-in-one computer, recorded from this year’s CES event! While it takes its visual cues from Apple’s iMac line, Vizio’s all-in-one line features not one but two HDMI inputs which will work regardless of whether or not the computer is running. This makes it an intriguing solution for gamers who have limited space to work with. Watch the video then leave us a comment telling us what you think!

            Note that there is certainly an outstanding design professional behind these products: Scott McManigal, Senior Director of Global Design who has been with VIZIO since June 2009. Before he had been with OpenPeakHerbst LaZar Bell, BMW Group DesignworksUSA (10 years!), Mattel Toys and Patton Design. It is no wonder that the new PCs got immediate recognition from media with headlines like:
            The New Vizio PCs and Notebooks Are Worthy of Apple [Gizmodo, Jan 9, 2012]
            Vizio PCs and Laptops are the closest to Apple when it comes to style [Newlaunches.com, Jan 9, 2012]

            A First Look at Vizio’s new line of ultrabooks [CNETTV, Jan 10, 2012]

            Sharon Vaknin gets the lowdown on Vizio’s new line of ultrabooks.

            CES 2012: Vizio Takes On the MacBook Air [IGNentertainment, Jan 9, 2012]

            HDTV manufacturer Vizio is branching out with a line of ultra thin and light notebooks! The sleek line of notebooks have design cues which remind us of the shiny products from Apple, which is definitely a good thing. Details are scarce but IGN Senior Producer Ty Root and Executive Editor of IGN Gear Scott Lowe got an early peek, so take a look and leave us a comment telling us what you think!

            So far there are no tablets among these premium PC entertainment offerings. VIZIO will introduce them surely when Windows 8 will be launched late summer as the earliest.

            The CES 2012 expansion of the V.I.A. Plus

            From the V.I.A. Plus related press release (see later): Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled [Android] tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010. [The tablets are Android based (as all of the V.I.A. Plus system). Detailed information on that: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].]

            Vizio 10 inch tablet hands on [AndroidCentral, Jan 10, 2012]

            Vizio 10-inch tablet preview [TheVerge, Jan 10, 2012]

            Vizio’s New 10-inch Tablet to Have Intel Chip, Android [IDG News, Jan 10, 2012]

            A new tablet from Vizio will come with Intel’s upcoming Atom chip, code-named Medfield, and will run Google’s Android operating system, a source with knowledge of the product plans said.

            The M-Series tablet with a 10-inch screen was announced by Vizio at the Consumer Electronics Show, and the device will be “coming soon,” according to Vizio’s website. The tablet is being shown at the trade show in Las Vegas this week.

            Vizio has not shared further details on the tablet, saying it is “powerful” and has Wi-Fi. The tablet provides “a world of entertainment right at your fingertips,” according to the company’s website.

            The Vizio tablet could be the launching pad for Intel’s Medfield chip, which is not yet available in devices. The Medfield chip has been designed for smartphones and tablets, and Intel later this week is also expected to announce its first smartphone customers for the chip.

            Intel’s Medfield & Atom Z2460 Arrive for Smartphones: It’s Finally Here [AnandTech, Jan 11, 2012]

            It’s here. Intel’s first smartphone SoC that you’ll actually be able to buy in a device before the end of the year. The platform is called Medfield and Paul Otellini just announced its first device partners.

            Medfield starts out as a bonafide mobile SoC. Whereas Moorestown was a “two-chip” solution, Medfield is just one – the Penwell SoC:

            There’s only a single version of Medfield being announced today: the Intel Atom Z2460. The Z2460 features a single Atom core with a 512KB L2 cache, a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU and a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface. In a world where talking about four Cortex A9s and PowerVR SGX 544MP2s isn’t uncommon, Medfield starts out almost sounding a bit…tame. But then you see its performance:

            SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

            Although running what appears to be a stock Gingerbread browser, Intel’s Medfield reference platform posts SunSpider performance better than any other smartphone we’ve tested – including the Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich. Intel promises that Medfield’s performance will scale on ICS as well – the gap should be maintained. We’ve seen high results from reference designs in the past, but the Medfield platform is a little different as you’ll soon see – it’s a complete smartphone design that should be representative of handsets that hit the market later this year.

            Medfield isn’t a one trick pony either, performance is similarly dominating under BrowserMark:

            BrowserMark

            These are tablet-like scores. Here the Galaxy Nexus running ICS comes close, but once again Intel expects that on the same OS Medfield should be faster than any of the currently available SoCs.

            I asked Intel where its SunSpider and BrowserMark performance advantages came from, especially considering we’ve typically only seen huge gains with new browsers and not new SoCs. Their response pointed to a bunch of factors, but one stand out issue was the A9 has a great execution core but seems to be more limited on the memory interface. Atom can support far more outstanding misses in L2 than the Cortex A9, which chokes bandwidth to the processor for anything not already in the L2 cache. This may be one of the reasons why we’ve never been able to get really high bandwidth numbers out of A9 based SoCs. It’s probably safe to assume that things will be different with the Cortex A15, but for now it’s little things like this that give Medfield a performance advantage.

            GPU performance is understandably not as impressive. We couldn’t get offscreen numbers of GLBenchmark 2.1 but we did get results at the device’s native resolution (1024 x 600):

            3D performance is better than the OMAP 4460 due to Medfield’s 400MHz GPU clock compared to ~300MHz in most OMAP4 devices.

            Performance without power considerations is meaningless, especially in the smartphone world. Luckily for Intel, Medfield seems very competitive there as well. …

            Medfield, at least in Intel’s reference platform, looks very good.

            The actual values are pretty astonishing as well. Sub 20mW idle, sub 750mW during a call on 3G and although not pictured here, Intel’s internal data suggests ~1W power consumption while browsing the web compared to ~1.3W on the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S 2. I’ve done my own measurements on 4S web browsing and came up with a very similar value.

            Intel Measured Smartphone Power Consumption
            (Identical Display Brightness)

              Standby (3G) Talk (3G) Browsing (3G) Video Playback 720p
            Apple iPhone 4S ~38mW ~800mW ~1.3W ~500mW
            Intel Medfield Reference ~18mW ~700mW ~1.0W ~850mW
            Samsung Galaxy S II ~19mW ~675mW ~1.2W ~650mW

            The performance and power data both look great for Medfield. You would think that this data, assuming there’s nothing fundamentally wrong, would be enough to convince a handset maker to actually give Intel a shot. You’d be right.

            In addition to disclosing Medfield performance data, Intel is also announcing partnerships with both Motorola and Lenovo. The former is a broad, multi-year agreement stating that Motorola plans on creating many devices based on Intel silicon – the first of which will be a smartphone due out before the end of the year. Tablets will follow at some point as well.

            Lenovo on the other hand will actually be taking and tweaking Intel’s own Medfield reference platform, and releasing it in China in Q2.

            All of this is exactly what Intel needed: a start.

            The CPU

            The GPU, Process & Roadmap

            What’s Different This Time Around: Google & A Sweet Reference Platform

            ARM Compatibility: Binary Translation

            Final Words

            Medfield and the Atom Z2460 are a solid starting point. Intel finally has a chip that they can deliver to the market and partners to carry it in. Intel also built a very impressive reference platform that could lead to some very interesting disruptions in the market.

            VIZIO and Google TV Join Forces to Create a State of the Art Stream Player [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]

            – New stream player turns any HDTV into an enhanced smart TV with access to countless entertainment content and online services as well as powerful search and web browsing capabilities
            Part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the new VIZIO Stream Player incorporates the power of the latest Google TV in combination with premium setup experience and included Bluetooth universal remote with touchpad control
            Integrated app and TV watching experiencelet users multitask seamlessly and access photos, audio and video stored on networked computers, hard drives and smart phones

            VIZIO and Google today jointly announced the introduction of the VIZIO VAP430 Stream Player, an innovative stream player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV that incorporates the latest Google TV. The Stream Player allows consumers to access countless entertainment content and online services with web access through a fully capable Chrome browser, and to also enjoy photos, music and video stored on any computer, hard drive or smart phoneconnected to a local network and/or the cloud.*

            image

            With the VAP430 connected to an HDTV over an HDMI cable, users can quickly and seamlessly access content and services from their favorite apps and websites using the included Bluetooth premium universal remote control with integrated touchpad. In addition to movies, TV shows and music on demand, the VAP430 lets users search the web for even more entertainment options using the Flash-capable Chrome browser.

            “We’re excited about what Google TV brings to our new VAP430 Stream Player,” says Matthew McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer. “This isn’t just an ordinary streaming box that accesses a few predetermined video services. It’s a true entertainment portal that opens up everything the Web has to offer, as well as all the content consumers already have stored on computers and hard drives. And the incorporation of Google TV and our V.I.A. Plus interfacemakes it all incredibly easy to setup and a joy to use.”

            Using the included premium remote with QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpad, viewers can easily search for any program or content they want from their favorite apps or the Internet. Users can also check out new apps from an ever-expanding Android Market, or access personal medialike videos, photos and music that are stored on devices connected to the same home network as the stream player. Images are displayed right on a connected TV set, and sound plays through the TV or a connected audio system.

            “We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of their Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”

            Painless Setup, Powerful Capabilities

            Part of the V.I.A. Plus ecosystem, the slick yet discreet VAP430 can easily compliment any HDTV using an HDMI cable. Installing the VAP430 and connecting it to the Internet is blazingly fast and simple to do with the built-in setup experience and 802.11n WiFi connection.

            The VAP430 also has an HDMI pass-through that lets the user connect a cable or satellite box to the stream player and pass the signal over to the TV for a truly integrated TV watching experience. The smart TV interfaceoverlays the live TV signal so multitaskers can search for the next thing to watch without completely stepping away from what they’re currently watching.

            Bluetooth capability also makes it simple to enjoy content from smart phones through the connected TV wirelessly. And with the USB input, connecting any USB drive directly to the VAP430 takes only seconds.

            VAP430 is the first V.I.A. Plus device to launch this year, followed by the VBR430 3D Blu-ray player, which combines the features of the VAP430 with Blu-ray’s state-of-the-art high-definition video and audio playback capabilities.

            Preorders for the VAP430 will begin this spring 2012. Find out more and sign up to be the first at www.vizio.com/ces

            * The VIZIO Internet Apps® (V.I.A.) platform requires Internet access, equipment and subscription services that are not provided.

            See also (especially because VAP430 is likely based on Marvell’s platform): Google’s revitalization of its Android-based TV effort via Marvell SoC and reference design[Jan 5, 2012]

            VIZIO Expands the Next-Generation VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) Ecosystem, Announcing New HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Stream Player and Tablet Products That Share a Unified User Experience Across All Screens [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]

            – V.I.A. Plus provides access to a world of apps on each device with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each and every screen
            – V.I.A. Plus offers today’s most advanced and functional smart TV user experience, with an intuitive, app-centric interface optimized for the 10-foot viewing experience
            – New V.I.A. partners to include iHeartRadio®, The Wall Street Journal® and M-GO®
            VIZIO’s expanded line-up incorporating the Google TV platform include the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch HDTVs with Theater 3D, the VBR430 Blu-ray player, and the VAP430 Stream Player

            image

            VIZIO, America’s #1 HDTV Company*, announces the continued expansion of its next generation of the award-winning VIZIO Internet Apps® platform: VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus). V.I.A. Plus brings a unified user experience to a wide range of devices that include HDTVs, Tablets, Blu-ray players, Media Players and more. From the big screen to mobile devices, V.I.A. Plus bridges the worlds of entertainment, content and services with one sophisticated and intuitive interface. V.I.A. Plus accesses a world of apps on each device, with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each screen.

            Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010.

            “The way users consume content has changed drastically over recent years. Technology has enabled nearly every device with a screen to connect to some form of delivery platform, each with its own mechanism for searching, browsing and viewing content.” said Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “V.I.A. Plus focuses entirely on what users care about – their content. By delivering a seamless, intuitive experience that is consistent across multiple screens, V.I.A. Plus products distinguish themselves from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.”

            The V.I.A. Plus experience features an intuitive, app-centric interface on every device, making it easy for consumers to understand and navigate as they move between devices. Users can also access thousands of apps from the Android Market™ for even more entertainment options.

            “We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of the Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”

            In addition, VIZIO is announcing new partners who are collaborating to bring their content and services to the V.I.A. Platform, including:

            iHeart Radio– iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio service, brings users a best-in-class customizable digital listening experience, one which combines the best of both worlds to deliver everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service: More than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration.

            The Wall Street Journal®– WSJ Live from The Wall Street Journal offers up to four total hours of live video programming each business day from across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, including the Journal, Dow Jones® Newswires, Barron’s™, MarketWatch®, SmartMoney® and AllThingsD.com. Users can access seven half-hour live shows, breaking news updates, exclusive interviews, and special events coverage. The service also offers more than 2,000 videos per month from an extensive library of on-demand content.

            M-GO™ video-on-demand– M-GO from Technicolor is a next-generation app that combines all of your media including movies, music, apps, live TV, and more. M-GO will come pre-loaded on VIZIO HDTVs and Blu-ray Players with VIZIO Internet Apps or VIZIO Internet Apps Plus. The app will help consumers find the content they’re looking for through its extensive content library and state-of-the-art discovery engine, while also providing a unique second screen functionality for searching additional content.

            “We are extremely excited to be partnering with VIZIO to bring consumers all of their media anywhere, anytime, and anyway they want it,” said John Batter, CEO of M-GO. “As consumers continue to access digital media at home and on the go, it is even more important to provide them with a consistent experience that is easy to navigate and convenient to use. VIZIO’s technology combined with our accessibility to content does just that.”

            On V.I.A. Plus enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Media Players, users can multitask between apps and traditional TV content through an interface designed for the 10-foot viewing experience, created specifically for situations where users want to sit back and enjoy the ultimate in channel and web surfing. Users can also complement their entertainment experience with VIZIO tablets for seamless access to their favorite apps and content in any room in the home or on the road.

            With a wide range of apps on each device, V.I.A. Plus enables consumers to choose from a new universe of entertainment options, redefining the TV experience with multi-screen access, gaming, full browsing and enhanced search capabilities, and the ability to view live events streamed over the Internet.

            Navigating V.I.A. Plus is simple and intuitive, using the QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpadthat’s built into the premium Bluetooth remote control included with every V.I.A. Plus product. Users need no technical know-how to get their new devices online, thanks to the advanced wireless Internet access and simplified onscreen setup.

            Smart Blu-ray

            The VBR430 Blu-ray player is the most advanced on the market today. Not only does it offer the incomparable entertainment power of V.I.A. Plus with Google TV, the player comes with a touchpad universal remote with QWERTY keypad that makes it easy to control apps, content and other functions. As part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the VBR430 also lets users access video, audio and photos stored on any DLNA-compatible computer, network-connected hard drive or cell phone connected to a home network. Built-in WiFi makes network connection easy, and Bluetooth capability provides yet another conduit for streaming media from cell phones and computers.

            Smart TV Plus 3D

            VIZIO’s V.I.A. Plus products will also include Theater 3D technology, for crystal clear, brighter and flicker-free 3D, viewable with lightweight, comfortable, battery-free 3D glasses. The TVs feature LED backlighting with smart dimming technology to achieve dynamic contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 or greater.

            The Ultimate Stream Player

            The VAP430 Stream Player with Google TV is an innovative media player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV. As sales of stream players are poised to pass Blu-ray players in unit volume sales (by 2013, according the CEA U.S. Unit Shipment Forecast of January 2011), the VAP430 is the perfect solution for media multitaskers who consume most of their media over the Internet. The VAP430 is the one of the most advanced Stream Players with built-in HDMI ports that lets users connect existing components like gaming consoles or set-top boxes for unified access to all media sources through the VI.A. Plus touchpad remote. It even supports 3D content and 3D streaming.

            Many of the new VIZIO V.I.A. Plus products will be on display at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show, January 10 – 13, 2012. For more information, please visit www.vizio.com/ces

            * Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.

            Vizio’s Google TV delayed until early fall, now edge-lit [C|net, Jan 10, 2012]
            LAS VEGAS–Google TV has a way of disappointing expectations, and one strong case in point is the Vizio’s VIA Plus platform for TVs.

            At CES 2011 we named the VIA Plus models as our favorite TV product of CES. They used Google TV to deliver what the company described as interoperability between the TV and Android-equipped phones and tablets. Among other features, Via Plus was also said to support the OnLive gaming service. Those extras, along with the same kind of full-array local-dimming backlightwe know and love, was enough to convince us that the so-equipped TVs were going to be pretty awesome.

            Unfortunately, because of what Vizio describes as Google TV-related issues beyond its control, they never came out.

            We asked about the VIA Plus sets during a pre-CES briefing with Vizio and were told they were still on the company’s product release roadmap. The new release date is “early fall.” They will have different model numbers and at least one change for the worse: that backlight is now an edge-lit affair. Vizio further specified that the new VIA Plus models would have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, and three screen sizes: 47-, 55-, and a new 65-inch option.

            On the bright side, maybe having all that extra time to perfect VIA Plus will allow Vizio to do something really special with Google TV’s Honeycomb customizations. We’ll see.

            Strong business backings from Taiwan that enable such bold strategy expansion for VIZIO 

            Vizio sees 2012 with optimism [Nov 2, 2011]

            TV brand Vizio has indicated sales of Japan-based brands such as Sony, Panasonic and Sharp have been weak. However, South Korea-based brands such as Samsung and LG have been growing becoming Vizio’s biggest competitors. Vizio estimates 2011 shipments of LCD TVs to reach over six million units.

            According to William Wang, CEO and founder of Vizio, the strategy to face the South Korea-based players is to improve products, such as by providing customers with the best 3D TV. If products can be sold with cheaper retail prices, then do it.

            Wang indicated Vizio’s biggest partner is still Taiwan-based Amtran Technology, which accounts for 70-80% of Vizio’s OEM orders. Foxconn is responsible for small-size products. Wang complimented Taiwan’s technology, innovation and product quality.

            The recent weak demand in the TV market has been causing panel makers to suffer huge losses, Vizio stated. Except for shipments in the first quarter 2011 which were comparable to those of 2010, the rest of the quarters in 2011 have all seen declining shipments.

            Wang concluded that panel makers have been suffering due to oversupply and lack of consumer confidence due to weak economic conditions in Europe and the US. However, 2011 should be the year when the industry hits rock bottom, which means firms should face 2012 with optimism.

            CES: Value Outweighs Price, AmTran Says [excerpt on the VIZIO site, Jan 6, 2010]

            Behind Vizio’s success is a partnership with Taipei-based AmTran Technology, a contract manufacturer that specializes in computer monitors and televisions. The company, which owns a 23% stake [i.e. majority] in Vizio, now makes annual revenue of about $2 billion, more than quadruple the $428 million it reported in 2004.

            To read more about this article please click here.

            [Hon Hai/Foxconn is said to be the 2nd largest shareholder ov VIZIO as well as having 10% of shares of AmTran]

            [click here >> WSJ Blogs, Jan 7, 2010]

            In a rare interview, its chief executive and chairman Alpha Wu spoke to The Wall Street Journal about his views on the fast-changing industry at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

            The Wall Street Journal: Why have your products been so successful?

            Mr. Wu: We think very simply about how we can provide the best value to customers world-wide. I have pretty good relationships with key component makers in Japan, Taiwan, China and now Korea, and I make sure we get high-quality components, so we can provide high-quality displays. We try to have attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy. Value is more important than anything. We try to provide attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy.

            We also keep very tight production schedules. We learned from our customers that we must meet schedules. As long as we have discipline over our schedule, we can compete against anybodybecause when a rival announces a new technology, we can develop similar products quickly and take the market.

            WSJ: Why do you think the traditional television makers in Japan are having such a hard time in the television market, particularly in the U.S.?

            Mr. Wu: To be a pure original equipment manufacturer is a tough business. That’s why we teamed up with Vizio. The Japanese engineers work hard and demand perfect products, but they don’t know the market very much. In the U.S., people don’t want very high-end products especially in the current economic situation. Japanese consumers, however, are more willing to invest in expensive products.

            Products that are made in Japan with Japanese components by Japanese suppliers are very important to them, but their factories aren’t as advanced as ours because they’re old. An older managementalso makes them less able to accept new technologies and innovation.

            WSJ: 3D televisions are expected to be big news at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. How soon do you expect this technology to take off?

            Mr. Wu:3D movies are absolutely coming. 3D televisions might take two or three years. One big problem that has to be overcome is glasses. No one wants to wear glasses to watch TV. Plus if you have five people in the family you need five pairs of glasses. The technology is also not mature yet.

            WSJ: What is your vision for AmTran’s future?

            Mr. Wu: We want to support the best brand with the best technology products. We are trying to do it in different regions, step by step. We’re trying in Taiwan, Japan and China. Maybe someday we’ll try in Europe.

            One of our customers, Bang & Olufsen, has a remote control that I use at home every day to control the curtains, lighting, television and audio. That’s our dream too, but to provide it to the mass market.

            WSJ: What kind of opportunity do you see in the Chinese market?

            Mr. Wu: By 2011, China’s market for televisions will be bigger than the U.S. From our point of view, we have some advantages — we know China better than people in other countries. Whoever can become No. 1 in China and in the U.S. will be No. 1 in the world.

            Amtran Technology Co Ltd (2489.TW) – Overview – Full Description [Reuters, excerpted on Jan 10, 2012]

            AMTRAN TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. is principally engaged in the manufacture and distribution of monitors and digital televisions. The Company provides liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, which are applied in personal computers (PCs), workstations, automobile instruments, point of sale (POS) equipment and automatic teller machines (ATMs), among others, as well as LCD televisions. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company obtained approximately 94.89% of its total revenue from digital televisions. The Company distributes its products primarily in Japan, Europe and the Americas.
            » Full Overview of 2489.TW

            Amtran sees increased 4Q11 revenues [Jan 10, 2012]

            Taiwan-based TV OEM firm Amtran reported December revenues of NT$6.44 billion (US$214 million). Fourth quarter revenues reached NT$19.66 billion, the highest quarterly revenues in 2011, accounting for 35% of 2011 total revenues.

            Due to sales during the year-end holiday season in the North America market, total shipments in December reached 660,000 units while total shipments in fourth quarter reached 1.94 million units, outperforming the previous three quarters in 2011. According to Amtran, total shipments in 2011 reached 5.35 million units. Shipments of products in the range of 32-37 inch accounted for 54% of the firm’s total flat TV shipments. Amtran noted that sales of large-size products (42-, 47-, 55-, and 65-inch) LCD TVs accounted for 46% of total revenues.

            Amtran expects LCD TV shipments to increase as the firm develops products such as internet TV, smart TV and 3D TV.

            Amtran faces challenge to attain 2011 LCD TV goal [Aug 17, 2011]

            Taiwan-based Amtran Technology’s LCD TV shipments reached nearly two million units in the first half of 2011, according to industry sources. But the maker may have difficulties achieving its shipment goal of five million units for the entire 2011 given that its major market, North America, has been weak.

            Amtran, the chief manufacturer for Vizio, shipped a total 4.2 million units of LCD TVs worldwide in 2010.