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Press Releases
TrendForce: eMMC to Remain Mainstream Format from 2014~2016, UFS to Gain Momentum in 2016

2013/11/25

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, eMMC 45 has replaced eMMC 441 on a massive scale since 2H13, becoming the main storage format used in smartphones and tablet PCs Judging from the product strategies employed by eMMC vendors and AP chip manufacturers, it is predicted that eMMC 50 products will begin entering a heightened production phase in 2H14 For UFS, the format is not expected to gain much ground until 2016 The biggest difference between eMMC 45 and eMMC 441 lies in their maximum transfer speeds, which is approximately 200MB/s and 104MB/s, respectively In addition to fully utilizing NAND Flash functions such as ONFI/Toggle, eMMC 45 is also capable of supporting higher read/write speeds in smartphones and tablets The majority of the NAND Flash manufacturers of eMMC 45 products did not design-in for next-gen smartphone and tablet products until 1Q13 As such, eMMC 45 will only replace eMMC 441 as the market mainstream as smartphone/tablet OEMs begin promoting their new devices throughout the second half of 2013 In 2H13, major eMMC vendors have begun delivering samples of 1X nm class eMMC 50 products to their clients Looking at the product development plans of the smatphone and tablet AP chip manufacturers, it appears certain that eMMC 50 will be the successor to eMMC 45 Originally believed to have a shot at emerging throughout 2014-2015, TrendForce predicts that the UFS format will have to wait until at least 2016 before having a chance to compete with eMMC in the “high-end” smartphone and tablet markets The reasons for this are outlined below: 1、Product Efficiency Considerations The fastest transfer speed for eMMC 50 is approximately 400MB/s, which is twice the rate offered by eMMC 45 For the two major types of UFS interfaces, UFS 11 and UFS 20, the maximum transfer speed is 300MB/s and 1200MB/s, respectively The effectiveness of eMMC 50, as the numbers clearly demonstrate, falls between that of the UFS 11 and UFS 20 formats Nonetheless, eMMC 50 was able to get a head start in the market, given its superior speed over UFS 11 and the fact that JEDEC took longer to announce the specs format for UFS 20 than for eMMC 50 In an attempt to not let UFS 20 get too far ahead in terms of speed, JEDEC is taking notable steps to develop the specifications for the eMMC 5X format TrendForce believes that the format's speed will end up being at least 600MB/s, and that the competition between UFS 20 and eMMC 5X will be intense in the future periods 2、AP Chip Consideration     The format preferences held by AP chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm, nVidia, MTK, and Samsung all play a crucial role in determining whether smartphone and tablet manufacturers choose the eMMC or UFS interface Aside from Samsung’s 5420 and Qualcomm’s 8084 chips, both of which are likely to support the eMMC 50 and UFS 11 formats upon their release in 2014, other manufacturers are expected to stick to the eMMC 50 interface TrendForce’s current research suggests that Samsung will be the only eMMC supplier to promote UFS 11 products in 2014, and that the other suppliers will pass over UFS 11 in favor of waiting for the upgraded, more advanced UFS 20 format Considering the fact that UFS is completely different from eMMC in terms of overall structure and design, it is worth mentioning, also, that the former's development phase will inevitably take a long time for manufacturers, whether it is for the AP chips or Flash controller chips All in all, given that the vendors for UFS 11 products are limited, that the format’s effectiveness is less impressive than that of eMMC 50, and that its design can be relatively difficult to implement, eMMC 50 is likely to remain the go-to format for the majority of the AP chip manufacturers TrendForce believes 2015 will be the earliest year during which AP chip manufacturers will eventually begin supporting the UFS 20 format 3、Cost Consideration While the speed of UFS 20 is able to easily exceed 1000MB/s, its development cost (especially for the controller IC part) is noticeably high when compared to the eMMC 5X interface With the innovation in the high-end smartphone space slowing down and the low cost and mid-ranged market sectors expanding at a rapid pace, UFS 20 is likely to only be competitive against eMMC 5X in the high-end markets In the short run, the former is not likely to become mainstream within the industry Taking into account all of the three aforementioned factors --product efficiency, AP chip manufacturer preferences, and cost-- TrendForce projects that the UFS format may only be able to compete against eMMC following the release of UFS 20, and that the competition will be mostly concentrated in the high-end smartphone and tablet markets For now, eMMC will remain the market mainstream in the mid-to-low end market sectors The proportion of shipments that is expected be accounted for by UFS products in 2016 is approximately 10% The major suppliers of eMMC products —for example, Samsung, SK Hynix, Sandisk, Toshiba, Micron, and KSI— represent roughly 95% of the market, and are known to employ different types of product strategies With regard to the eMMC 50 products, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sandisk are all known for producing their controller chips in-house, while companies such as Micron and SK Hynix generally choose to outsource their production to third party manufacturers (despite their supposed interest in eventually creating in-house controller chips) SMI and Phison are currently the two more well known manufacturers in the eMMC controller IC design and outsourcing business In addition to these two companies, Alcor, Marvell, Solid State System, Skymedi, and StorArt also provide similar services, and are hoping to eventually grab a larger chunk of the market With competitive pressure arising from Samsung’s TLC eMMC, TrendForce believes that the aforementioned controller IC chip manufacturers will attempt to provide TLC eMMC controller chip solutions in 2014 as a means to seize further opportunities in the eMMC vendor supply chain

Press Releases
TrendForce: Japan to Revise PV Subsidy Downward, Investment in PV System Installation may Increase in the Short Run

2013/11/25

Energy

Rumors have it that the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan (METI) is considering revising PV subsidy downward to JPN¥34/kWh in 2014 and JPN¥30/kWh in 2015 According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, whether Japan’s subsidy cut will come true or not, it’s projected that Japan’s market demand in both 2014 and 2015 will remain strong However, if the rumor turns out to be true, the amount of PV system installation is likely to increase substantially in Japan and in turn benefit Taiwanese manufacturers As indicated by EnergyTrend’s investigation, Japan may revise PV subsidy downward by around 10% in 2014 and 2015, which is within the range estimated by the industry Thus, it will still bring a certain level of profit and Return-on-Investment (ROI) to the manufacturers EnergyTrend projects that Japan’s ROI will be around 17% if calculating based on the subsidy rate in 2015 while taking relevant cost changes into consideration In contrast to other countries, Japan remains a region with a lot of profit in the global PV market With the Heisei 25 fiscal year entering into the second half and the weather being increasingly less suitable for construction, EnergyTrend believes that the amount of PV system installation in Japan will increase significantly by the end of March 31st, 2014 Furthermore, although 19GW demand awaits Japan in 2014, the growth of grid can’t seem to catch up with that of PV system installation Hence, PV demand is likely to grow steadily starting from 2015 In terms of the industrial side, EnergyTrend believes that Taiwanese manufacturers will be in good shape due to the OEM demand from Japan Because Japan puts most of their focus on systems, they normally choose to outsource modules and cells, which benefits Taiwanese and Chinese manufacturers The Taiwanese manufacturers, in particular, tend to work closely with Japanese manufacturers on systems and outsourcing opportunities, as the partnership between Inventec and Toshiba shows Meanwhile, the business model of using cells from Taiwan and modules from China is continuing to be implemented By coming up with better value, they are hoping to create more demand In 4Q13, Taiwanese manufacturers will be more aggressive towards module capacity expansion Apart from obtaining outsourcing opportunities from Japanese manufacturers, they are also considering the options of producing cells and modules in Taiwan, and establishing a possible brand in China Judging from the spot market’s overall performance, Chinese polysilicon price remained high Since there’s not much room for price negotiation, last week’s price remained steady For wafers, recent shipments of major Chinese manufacturers were concentrated in the local market, which allowed non-Chinese manufacturers to raise the price Moreover, clients have shifted their needs toward high-efficiency products, thus last week’s price continued to go upward with average price reaching US$0901/piece, a 022% rise For mono-si wafers, last week’s average price continued to fluctuate, reaching US$1184/piece, a 075% drop For cells, certain Chinese manufacturers successfully revised the price of high-efficiency products upward Yet, the price of normal-grade products remained steady Last week’s average price came to US$0389/watt, a 026% rise For modules, Japan is likely to revise the subsidy downward It’s estimated that the amount of PV system installation will increase substantially in the short run Certain module manufacturers have started to stock up in case the demand will be too large Last week’s module price remained stable

Press Releases
TrendForce: 1H'Nov Prices Stay Flat, Weak Market Demand Increases Pressures for Price Adjustments

2013/11/21

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the upcoming off peak quarter and underwhelming worldwide demand have made manufacturers relatively unwilling to agree on the 1H'Nov contract prices Due to the persistence of such a situation, along with SK Hynix's strategic decision to lock its Q4 prices, the contract prices have remained mostly flat The 4GB average prices stayed relatively unchanged at US $32, whereas the 2GB prices remained at US$1775 Looking at the market, even though SK Hynix is still in the process of recovering, its wafer production levels have reached 30K during October In November, that number is expected to rise up to 40K-60K The full recovery of the Wuxi plant is currently projected to take place in 1Q14, despite the apparent shipment delays for various necessary equipments In an effort to ease the market shortages resulting from the fire accident, SK Hynix has immediately activated the DRAM productions at the M10 and M12 plants in Korea, which enabled output to gradually increase in November The gradual easing of the supply is already becoming evident in the spot market: the 2Gb prices have dropped from a high of US$ 218 in early November down to approximately US$ 198, a 92% decrease The 4Gb prices, on the other hand, officially decreased by 34% to below US$ 4 Judging from the disruptions to the price uptrend that followed SK Hynix's fire accident and the underwhelming demand in the market, the Q4 contract prices are likely to either remain steady or experience a slight decline Strategy of Three Largest DRAM Manufacturers Becomes Clear under Oligopoly Market Structure, 2014 Market Momentum Likely to Receive Boost Following the DRAM market's transformation into an oligopoly, the three major DRAM manufacturers' 2014 strategies have become increasingly more transparent This is not only expected to influence the future development of the DRAM market in 2014, but also affect the growth of the market's largest DRAM manufacturing companies Samsung, as an example, has decided to increase production at the Line 12 and 16 plants as a means to compensate for the potential wafer losses resulting from the 25nm manufacturing process rather than to simply expand capacity While the Korean company's DRAM wafer output is expected to be the same in 2014 as it was during 2013, the main focuses of its product mix will likely shift towards Mobile DRAM and Server DRAM With regard to SK Hynix, given that its Wuxi plant has been gradually making a recovery following the fire accident, as many as 30K wafers have been produced by the company during October With its Korean plants also increasing total DRAM production, it should not be a problem for the company’s wafer production output to reach pre-fire accident levels by the end of the year As the Wuxi plant undergoes a possible full recovery in 1Q14, the production at SK Hynix's Korean plants is expected to gradually decrease, and SK Hynix will begin to focus on advancing the manufacturing processes for its Mobile DRAM and PC DRAM product lines Following Micron's and Elpida's official announcement of their merger in 8/1, the two companies --now collectively known as the new Micron group-- will begin to develop and migrate towards the 20nm manufacturing process The actual trial productions involving the said technology will likely be delayed to 1Q14, given the potential difficulties involved in the migration process Nevertheless, the new Micron group’s major product development plans will remain largely unchanged, and, like Samsung, the major products of its future product mix are set to be Mobile DRAM and Server DRAM Looking towards 2014, it appears the focuses of the main DRAM manufacturers will mostly be on adjusting product type and manufacturing technologies In the event that the manufacturers' capacities are not expanded any further, the 2014 growth rate is likely to be only 28%, which is far lower than the 50% and above growth observed in the past (DRAM growth has been below 30% in the past three years) As the three biggest DRAM manufacturers begin to focus on profits more than market share, the market has a legitimate chance of returning to a steady state

Press Releases
TrendForce: LED For TV Backlight Applications Price Plunge Eases in 4Q13

2013/11/20

LED

Although, mid and large sized LED backlight market was affected by the economic downturn, LED prices for backlight applications overall declined stably at 3-6% in 4Q13, according to LEDinside’s 4Q13 LED price trend report LED prices for lighting applications also maintained a slow downward slide The extent of price falls varied among different product specs TV backlight market eases, but price quotes remain relatively stable Annual TV shipment volume was lowered to 203 million sets in 2013 with Year-On-Year (YOY) -16%, said LEDinside This is the first time in recent years that TV shipment volumes have experienced negative growth However, LED for backlight applications 4Q13 price quotes remained stable, with a range of decline between 3-6% Worth noting, LED for TV backlight has begun integrating specs including 7030 LED for edge- type LED TV; 7020 LED for ultra-slim bezel type LED TV; for direct-type LED TV applications the 3528 LED plus 3030 and 3535 LEDs that have recently sold well in China LEDinside pointed out, while LED packager manufacturers cannot avoid the continual LED price slides, manufacturers production can reach economies of scale and optimize cost control and luminous efficacy as LED specs are simplified and integrated LED package manufacturers no longer need to launch brand new specs annually Weak smartphone Christmas orders cause LEDs for smartphones to fall 6-8% in 4Q13 Mid and large sized backlight market is not the only anemic market Smartphone shipments have been lower than expected in 3Q13, and 4Q13 Christmas order pull also appeared rather weak In 4Q13, global smartphone shipment volume reached 7% Quarter-on- Quarter (QOQ) to about 260 million LED prices for smartphone applications dropped 6-8% in 4Q13 In the field of current smartphone, tablet, and laptop specs, the major package has been 06t LED with brightness between 6-8 lumens (lm) This is due to smartphones aggressive replacement of feature phones and continual growth in Chinese white-box smartphone shipment volumes Tablets and laptops have started to replace 3014 package specs with 06t LED On the other hand, ultrabook brands have also begun introducing low voltage and high brightness 06t LED LED lighting prices fall at different rates In the lighting segment, many package manufacturers were able to keep price levels or experienced only slight price declines for mid and high power products in 4Q13 Price fluctuations were considerably limited this quarter for high-power LEDs The rate of price falls has slowed since top brands including Philips Lumileds, Osram and others still rely on loyal customers to maintain market share and order visibility , Fewer manufacturers have lowered prices for new products On the other hand, the market is increasing its emphasis on 1W 3030 spec products As a result, LED manufacturers have released similar products specs, and price drops have exceeded 10% As for mid-power 5630 LED product prices, impact from manufacturers release of second generation products has led to slowly declined

Press Releases
TrendForce: Mobile DRAM to Become Mainstream in 2014, Global Revenue Increases by 14 % in 3Q13

2013/11/19

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the mobile DRAM price reductions have eased due to the increased number of Q3 smartphone shipments and SK Hynix's Wuxi plant fire accident Looking at the market, the Q3 mobile DRAM revenues have jumped by an estimated 14% QoQ to US$ 33 billion, representing more than 30% of the entire market's DRAM revenue The revenue number has a chance of increasing further should future shipments continue to rise Observing the mobile DRAM companies' rankings, TrendForce's assistant vice president Avril Wu notes that the two main Korean manufacturers' market shares are continuing to grow and currently add up to a total of 763% Given that Samsung's market share alone is already more than 50%, both its pricing and product strategies are expected to affect the future productions of mobile DRAM considerably In the periods ahead, further impacts on the mobile DRAM industry are likely to arise from the changes experienced by Micron's supply chain following its official merger with Elpida With the potential changes affecting the structure of market demand, the shipment of mobile DRAM is likely to officially surpass that of PC DRAM in 2014 Samsung to Use Third Party Components for Smartphones, SK Hynix to be the Greatest Beneficiary Samsung's mobile DRAM market share has improved from 503 % in 2Q13 to 513% in the following quarter Given that the Korean company's Galaxy devices are expected to use mobile DRAM components from both SK Hynix and Micron, TrendForce projects that Samsung's future market share will end up being around 40%~50% With its emphasis shifting from market share to profits, Samsung will likely place an increased amount of focus on improving the time-to-market (TTM) for its next generation LPDDR3 and 6Gb mono products SK Hynix's mobile DRAM market share appears to be largely unchanged from the previous quarter, decreasing slightly from 257% to 25% Its mobile DRAM revenue, on the other hand, showed an increase of approximately 108% QoQ In China, the growth of SK Hynix's smartphone market share appears to be persisting thanks to the reservations various branded manufacturers hold towards Samsung’s components Looking at the future, both SK Hynix and Samsung have equally impressive plans for their mobile DRAM products: both are in the process of migrating towards the 25nm manufacturing process, and both have already delivered samples of LPDDR3 6 Gb to their clients The distance between the two companies will likely grow smaller as Samsung begins to look elsewhere for its mobile components New Micron Group Shows Potential despite Shrinking Market Share The new Micron group's mobile DRAM market share – combined for the first time for the purpose of assessing the Q3 revenue rankings — has reached 221% in 3Q13, while its Q3 revenues grew by 107% QoQ The increase in its revenues is mainly due to the growing demand for Apple products during the peak quarter, which prompted Rexchip, Elpida’s subsidiary branch in Taiwan, to take steps to raise its entire mobile DRAM production Other than smartphones and tablets, products such as Apple's MacBook Air (which uses LPDDR3) and higher DRAM capacity per unit are also likely to strengthen Micron's future development In the periods ahead, it is believed that the merger between Micron and Elpida will help enable the two companies’ mobile DRAM product line to be more complete The MCP and eMCP products, in particular, are likely to provide a noticeable boost to the new Micron group’s 2014 revenues Taiwanese DRAM Manufacturers to Direct Attention towards Large Density Mobile DRAM and China Market, Partner with Module Manufacturers on eMCP Winbond's mobile DRAM revenue has decreased by approximately 20% compared to the previous quarter, giving it a global market share of 07% and a mobile DRAM revenue share of 13% Due to the changes taking place in the entire global smartphone market and the lowered shipments of feature phones, the shipment performances of small density DRAM have become increasingly weaker Other than developing various mid to low density mobile DRAM for 4G/LTE Basebands, Winbond has begun to shift much of its attention towards the larger density LPDDR1 and LPDDR2 products, and is currently getting ready for the mass production phase In the future, the Taiwanese company is likely to begin taking advantage of the foundry services provided by Powerchip, which uses a more advanced manufacturing process This will help the company lower its overall manufacturing cost Looking at Nanya, given that its mobile DRAM has officially entered mass production, its Q3 revenues were able to jump by nearly 200% QoQ Its market share, meanwhile, rose from 03% in 2Q13 to 09% in the following quarter At the moment, LPDDR2 4Gb is among the notable products that are ready to be mass produced (the mass production of the other major product line, LPDDR3 4Gb, is likely to follow soon after) With Nanya's mainstream manufacturing process involving 30nm technology, the company has a legitimate shot of competing effectively against a number of first tier manufacturers Nanya's current plans are to focus on promoting its mobile DRAM products in China and to work with first tier module manufacturing plants on making eMCP products

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