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Publication Date: 09/1/2010
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Where the IC Market Is Going

Nevada City, CA — The semiconductor industry took a beating in early 2009, but bounced back sooner than many other industries — actually ending in better shape than had been anticipated at the beginning of the year; people do love their gadgets. Small, handheld devices which keep us connected all the time sold well even during the depths of the great recession of 2009. Items priced under $300 to $400 still sold. Netbooks and smart phones were all the rage. PCs shrank to the smaller, more portable notebooks, which shrunk even further to the netbook. E-readers and other handheld consumer items are gaining increasing market acceptance.

Going into the future, what would be good markets for a

semiconductor company to be in? Areas that offer one of more of the following:

    gh volumes of the final product.

  • High or reasonable growth potential.
  • High volumes of ICs going into each individual product. ICs that work in those categories include: MPUs; standard cell/PLD; DRAM; flash; analog/communications; analog/voltage regulators; special purpose logic chips of all types, including consumer, computer, communications, and automotive.

Package Solutions
With so many products being wireless, baseband products will continue to be in demand. They are being included in stacked package options in increasing numbers, in PoP solutions. Memory, also included in this list, are also being placed in stacked package solutions in high numbers. Even PLDs are going to be found in stacked solutions, becoming a stack solution with other PLDs. And logic devices have been included in PoP solutions from the inception of package-on-package solutions, as the introduction of a device in a stack so dissimilar to memory was going to require testing separately from the memory devices, thus the invention of the PoP solution.

TSVs are all the rage and are being reviewed by many companies as a new method of interconnection that might fit nicely within the stacked package model.

Most stacked package options fit within the FBGA outline, although QFN options are gaining acceptance.

QFN as a package solution has been gaining in popularity for some time, extremely popular for analog and simple logic chips, for which there are many. Coming onto the market is a new twist for this package solution, and that is to have inner leads on the leadframe to create a perimeter array pattern for the leads, thus allowing this package solution to reach into high I/O counts.

The same goes for WLPs, giving the package a new twist to reach into higher I/O counts by creating the overmold WLP, in which the backside is coated with overmold to create a larger surface on the face in which to place the electrical traces.

Not that there is a shortage of a need for packages in the low I/O ranges. Indeed, most analog and simple logic chips are low I/O, and they are plentiful. SO and SOT solutions are still in demand, especially for voltage regulators, which are in all electronic devices.

Both old and newer forms of packages are in demand, and new twists are giving new life to existing package solutions. Being diversified in today's market is a safe bet.

Contact: New Venture Research, 337 Clay Street, Suite 101, Nevada City, CA 95959 530-265-2004 fax: 530-265-1998 E-mail: Web:

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