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Handset OEMs today have three options, according to Cheng: They can either use a newer baseband CPU architecture, with a CPU core such as ARM9, to handle some multimedia functions; add a new generation of costly but full-blown application processor; or use MediaQ's chip. Most handset vendors still use an ARM7-based baseband processor and they are not ready to transition to the newer CPU cores yet,” Cheng added.

ERJ-P08F1001V_Datasheet PDF

Handset OEMs today have three options, according to Cheng: They can either use a newer baseband CPU architecture, with a CPU core such as ARM9, to handle some multimedia functions; add a new generation of costly but full-blown application processor; or use MediaQ's chip. Most handset vendors still use an ARM7-based baseband processor and they are not ready to transition to the newer CPU cores yet,” Cheng added.

In-Focus will supply Thomson with the DLP light engine for a 50in. HDTV slated to debut the second half of this year. The deal is also aimed at helping In-Focus diversify beyond consumer projectors to offset price erosion caused by a growing wave of Taiwanese suppliers.

Yonker added that In-Focus expects to fully outsource manufacturing by mid-year as it seeks to regain profitability after losing $17.2 million in 2002.

ERJ-P08F1001V_Datasheet PDF

Planar Systems Inc., a Beaverton, Ore., supplier of LCD and electro-luminescent displays, expects to cut costs as it moves production from Hillsboro, Ore., to Espoo, Finland, later this year, according to Stewart Clark, director of investor relations. Stewart also expects Planar's growing medical business–which accounted for 40% of revenue last quarter–to offset falling revenue from the transportation and industrial markets.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Designing ICs with sufficient yields for the next stage of semiconductor technology requires the use of platform-based design and a greater emphasis on design for manufacturing, keynote speakers at the ISQED Conference here said Tuesday (March 25).

In separate keynote addresses, Bob Payne, Philips Semiconductor vice president and general manager along with Susumu Kohyama, Toshiba Semiconductor Co.'s executive vice president agreed platform-based design was the wave of the future.

ERJ-P08F1001V_Datasheet PDF

Payne addressed the emerging era of streaming data and ambient intelligence, and how Philips is combining platform SoCs using numerous streaming embedded engines controlled by a smaller embedded processor. This approached is being used instead of using one large single processor-based SoC to make products for these emerging markets.

Payne said the semiconductor industry needs new solutions to handle growing design complexity, noting that the industry has largely been locked in a cycle where faster chips create faster computers that support more advanced tools to create faster chips.

ERJ-P08F1001V_Datasheet PDF

If you start having the problem of IC design growing in complexity faster than the solution, you use up the inherent advantage of the computer,” said Payne. We really have to begin to work smarter as an industry to solve the productivity shortfall.”

Payne noted that in large processor-based SoC designs running at 1 GHz, only a small portion of the processor runs at full speed. The rest runs significantly slower. Hence the push for platform-based design.

It seems like a tough way to go for a small company,” said Chris Chinnock, an analyst at Insight Media, Norwalk, Conn. Three-Five Microdisplays has got to bring in design wins as soon as possible.”

iSuppli's Semenza added, The issue is how these players tap into the global production network.”

Both analysts expect more suppliers to consolidate while others team to leverage core competencies and share development costs.

Consolidation under wayThat's happening already. Genesis Microchip Inc., an Alviso, Calif., supplier of digital processor display ICs, announced last week it would merge with Pixelworks Inc., a Tualatin, Ore., supplier of display controller ICs. (See related story on page 8.)

In-Focus Corp., a Wilson, Ore., supplier of microdisplays based on digital light projection technology, expects its recently signed agreement with TV maker Thomson RCA to help defray bill of material costs for its display light engines, according to Michael Yonker, senior vice president of information services and chief financial officer.

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