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Press Releases
TrendForce: Penetration Rate of SD 3.0 Memory Cards May Reach 20% in 2014

2013/10/23

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the penetration rate of SD 30 memory cards may only be around 10% in 2013 The main reason for this is that the SD 30 format has yet to be widely adopted in system products (for instance, smartphones, tablets, and cameras), and that the majority of the demand comes only from the channel market, which has fewer shipments proportionally compared to system OEM market In the event that the above situations gradually improve, the penetration rate of SD 30 memory cards has a legitimate shot of approaching 20% in 2014 The maximum bandwidth SD 30, also known as UHS-I, offers a transfer speed of 104 MB/s (much quicker than SD 20’s 25 MB/s), and a write speed that easily surpasses 10 MB/s (equivalent to Class 10 level) In order to take full advantage of SD 30’s rapid read and write speeds, memory card vendors will often attempt to stack two or more NAND Flash dies into a single package Because of this, the density of SD 30 memory cards generally begins at 8GB Judging by the kinds of density and performances offered by SD 30 memory cards, it is clear that such a product will be most suitable in the high-end markets, particularly for products such as smartphones, tablets, video recorders, and single lens reflex cameras   According to TrendForce’s senior manager, Alan Chen, smartphones and tablets account for more than 80% of the demand in memory card markets The rapid growth experienced by such devices, however, has not stimulated demand for SD 30, in part because of the inability of their application processors (AP) to support the SD 30 interface (only a few smartphones and tablets are currently known to support such a format) Even if SD 30 supports backward compatibility (SD 20), this alone would not be enough to impress nor entice potential clients SD 30 memory card demand, all in all, remains most heavily concentrated in the high-end camera and camcorder markets   Another important reason for the lack of strong SD 30 demand, in addition to the one mentioned above, is that many smartphones and tablets are already equipped with 4/8GB and above eMMCs, which are generally sufficient to support the read and write speeds required of the said devices This has effectively encouraged the market’s largest memory card buyers –ie the smartphone and tablet OEMs— to direct the majority of their attention towards the relatively cheaper SD 20 memory cards Tablet and smartphone OEMs using 16GB and above eMMCs for high-end products will generally opt to not provide any free memory cards in order to lower their cost     The abovementioned purchasing strategies of the system clients can be said to have caused the demand of SD 30 memory cards to be shifted towards the channel markets With photos, videos, applications, and other operating systems requiring more and more storage capacity, the 4/8 GB eMMC-based smartphones and tablets are becoming less and less able to satisfy consumer requirements, and an increasing number of consumers are beginning to purchase high-speed and high-density SD 20 Class 10 or SD 30 memory cards in order to make the most use of their mobile devices Most of the business opportunities for SD 30 memory cards essentially come from the high-end memory card demands that originated from the channel markets In order to facilitate the sales of the SD 30 memory cards, vendors have marked their memory card products with both the “Class 10” and “UHS-I” labels   Given the factors mentioned above, the SD 30 memory cards’ penetration rate is likely to only be around 10% in 2013 (see figure 1) In 2014, there is a slight chance that that figure will rise to 15-20% following the gradual increase in the number of AP chips supporting the SD 30 format What’s more, with the prices of smartphones and tablets gradually becoming lower, various manufacturers will continue to use low density eMMCs as a means to decrease cost The demand for high-end memory cards in the channel market, as such, will have a chance to continue growing Looking at the market-side, given that the proportion of smartphones are consistently rising in the mobile phone industry, the system OEM markets with the greatest shipment levels are becoming smaller This has led to an increase in the proportion of memory cards accounted for by the channel market, and could in turn help raise the market penetration rate of SD 30 memory cards In order to profit and come up with an ideal product mix, the leading memory card manufacturers are likely to also begin raising the proportion of SD 30 memory cards, and do so at a faster pace This will help boost the SD 30 memory card’s market penetration rate as well        As of this moment, only a few SD 30 vendors are known to adopt the in-house production approach The majority is known to use either Silicon Motion’s or Phison Electronics Corp’s SD 30 controller chips Aside from these two manufacturers, Skymedi, Alcor Micro, and Solid State System also produce relevant controller chips in the market As the SD 30 memory card shipment gradually increases in the future, and as the SD 30 controller chip’s profit rate exceeds that of SD 20, the competition within the SD 30 controller chip market will undoubtedly become a lot more intense The SD 30 controller chip has already begun to experience higher usage in the market for SD 20 Class 10 memory cards given its ability to significantly enhance the NAND Flash component’s read/write performance Pricing competition in the market will also inevitably increase as the SD 30 business opportunities grow and as competitors emerge TrendForce believes that the shrinking price gap between SD 30 and SD 20 controller chips will eventually help to speed the rate at which the latter is replaced All considered, it is not unreasonable to expect further business opportunities to arise for SD 30 controller chips in the future

Press Releases
TrendForce: Taiwanese PV Manufacturers Seize Opportunities in Monocrystalline Market as PV Self-Consumption Increases

2013/10/22

Energy

According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, demand for PV self-consumption continues to increase in Europe due to the decreased FiT and the increased electricity price and surcharge fees for grid-connection Besides, the installation area for roof-top systems is somewhat limited, thus relevant users mostly pay more attention on the amount of electricity generated This, along with concerns toward visual and aesthetic quality, has caused demand for mono-si cells to increase significantly As indicated by EnergyTrend’s investigation, mono-si cell orders substantially rose among Taiwan’s cell manufacturers recently The proportion of mono-si cell shipment has also been raised for relevant manufacturers The investigation result showed that that the proportion of mono-si cell shipment for Taiwan’s first-tier manufacturers has increased from 5% in the beginning of the year to more than 20% Starting from the second quarter, mono-si cell demand has started to increase Orders in the second half year are likely to continuously increase because of the growth in the Japanese market In addition, demand in the fourth quarter may further increase As for mono-si cell efficiency, it has  remained above 192% The advanced technology will likely bring the product efficiency to 194% from 4Q13 to 1Q14 On the other hand, with the concept of self-consumption gradually maturing, roof-top systems have become the mainstream in the region that has a matured PV market Based on the data, 53% of the roof-top systems have been used on residential and commercial areas in the European market in 2012 EnergyTrend estimates that the proportion will increase to around 55% in 2013 and close to 60% by 2014 Aside from residential and commercial areas, roof-top systems can also be used on industrial areas as the proportion of self-consumption within the industrial areas begins to increase, which also helps raise the ratio of roof-top systems within the global PV market According to EnergyTrend’s data, roof-top market currently represents 60% of the global PV market The percentage is the highest, about 80%, in the European regions As for Northern America and Asia and Pacific, it’s around 50% EnergyTrend indicates that the market share of roof-top systems will continuously increase in Europe Moreover, under the influence of other PV policies, mono-si products will become the major products promoted by Taiwan’s manufacturers Judging from spot market’s overall performance, Chinese polysilicon price remained between RMB130/kg-RMB140/kg Although last week’s average price remained steady, certain manufacturers have planned to expand the production capacity due to the increased market demand and high utilization rate for major manufacturers For wafers, last week’s average price of multi-si wafers was US$0886/piece, a 011% drop It’s because some buyers used better payment terms in exchange for better price For mono-si wafers, last week’s average price remained flat For cells, last week’s average price also remained steady with the lowest price reaching US$031/watt, which was caused by the loosened price on the normal-grade products for certain second/third-tier manufacturers For modules, last week’s average price was unchanged The price gap has reduced between first-tier and second-tier manufacturers as second-tier’s utilization rate has significantly increased It is worth observing how the future pricing trend will develop from this point forward  

Press Releases
TrendForce: 1H’October Contract Prices Continue to Rise due to Effects of SK Hynix’s Fire Accident, 4GB Module Prices Approach $US 35

2013/10/21

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the highest price for the mainstream 4GB modules has reached $US 34 due to the supply shortages resulting from SK Hynix’s fire accident and the continuous contract price uptrend The price represents an estimated 625% increase compared to the amount observed in September Calculating on the basis of the aforementioned figure, the 4Gb chip price translates to approximately $US 394, which is close to the $US 4 mark, and only 8% lower than the highest 4Gb chip price in the spot market ($US 425) By the time the contract prices are announced in 2H’October, it is expected that the difference between the contract price and spot price will grow smaller The overall impact that SK Hynix’s Wuxi plant fire has on first tier PC-OEMs do not appear to be overly significant In part, this is because the Korean company generally prioritizes providing the majority of its supplies to these OEMs The second and third tier PC OEMs, on the other hand, are gradually feeling the impacts of the supply shortages With such a trend continuing, the spot prices are unlikely to drop anytime soon Even though SK Hynix is currently intensifying its efforts to recover lost production and is looking to resume wafer start in November, the main production supplies intended for the market will not be ready until either December or the beginning of 2014 The Q4 pricing movements, for the most part, are still expected to be influenced by the supply shortages in October and November Samsung Seeking to Reclaim PC DRAM Market following SK Hynix’s Fire Accident The fire incident at SK Hynix’s Wuxi plant has caused the production of nearly 130K wafers to be halted on a monthly basis, which in turn led to a 40% increase in spot prices and the monthly growth in the contract pricing market The contract prices have already managed reach close to the $US 35 mark as of 1H’October Under the aforementioned developments, two Korean manufacturers are taking action to protect their status within the PC DRAM market Samsung has begun to make necessary adjustments to enhance its PC DRAM market share by increasing the PC DRAM production in its Line 12 and Line 16 plants In attempting to compensate for lost production following the fire accident, SK Hynix increased the utilization rate in both its M10 and M12 plants, and has made an effort to allocate parts of its NAND Flash capacity to DRAM According to TrendForce’s estimates, the combined total of the two aforementioned companies’ added production is between 100K-120K per month, which is about equivalent to the original capacity at the Wuxi plant By the end of Q4, both Samsung’s and SK Hynix’s added wafer output levels are likely to reach a maximum, with the main production set to begin in 1Q14 and expected to make up for the losses from the fire With regard to the new Micron group, given that its production is relatively unaffected by the fire accident, its Singapore Tech plant will continue to allocate DRAM capacity to NAND Flash, whereas its Hiroshima plant will ramp up the production of mobile DRAM in order to satisfy the demands of its major clients While the level of DRAM production has increased in Micron’s Taiwan group (Rexchip), this strategy has reportedly been implemented before the fire accident, and no changes have apparently been made TrendForce believes that even if the relevant DRAM production is increased, the impact will only be noticeable during the end of Q4 and the beginning of 2014 In the near term, neither the production shortage situation nor the price uptrend is expected to change anytime soon

Press Releases
TrendForce: Market Transactions Sluggish due to Weak Chinese Holiday Sales, 1H'October NAND Flash Contract Prices Remain Flat

2013/10/17

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the market transactions were sluggish in 1H'October due to the underwhelming Chinese holiday sales and the conservative attitude displayed towards the market situation for Thanksgiving and Christmas While SK Hynix's Wuxi plant fire accident prompted some manufacturers to allocate portions of their NAND Flash capacity to DRAM, the mainstream NAND Flash contract prices have stayed mostly flat throughout1H'October Looking at the supply side, in the periods following the fire accident at the Wuxi plant, SK Hynix will take steps to make up for its lost production by shifting parts of the M12 plant's NAND Flash capacity to DRAM Approximately 40K/m wafers are expected to be allocated on a monthly basis Samsung, meanwhile, is planning to use up to 5% of its NAND Flash capacity for DRAM production Because of the short term decreases in wafer volumes resulting from the aforementioned developments, the Q4 NAND Flash industry bit growth is projected to slide down to approximately 78% QoQ With the NAND Flash-to-DRAM allocation processes expected to last until 1H14, the 1Q14 bit growth will likely only be 59% QoQ Looking at the demand side, due to the sluggish sales in the memory card and UFD markets, the not-as-expected results of the major vendors' aggressive pricing strategies in Asia and other special regions, and the growing saturation in the high-end smartphone and tablet markets, various vendors are beginning to display an increasingly more cautious attitude towards the Q4 sales performances While the supply of NAND Flash is expected to decrease in the short term following SK Hynix's and Samsung's capacity adjustments, TrendForce believes the NAND Flash contract prices could still drop due to the yet-to-improve end demand situation, the tendency for inventories to remain high, and the lack of willingness on the suppliers’ part to replenish or purchase inventory as the traditional off-peak quarter arrives in 2014

Press Releases
TrendForce: September 4K TV Panel Shipment Continued to Peak

2013/10/16

Display

According to the shipment survey by WitsView, the display research division of the global market intelligence provider TrendForce, the large-sized panel shipment in September 2013 reached 6918 million units, declining 13% MoM  The restocking demand for Oct 1st holidays in China lifted the TV panel shipment and the September LCD TV panel shipment rose 13% MoM to 1957 million units, and among these, the 4K panel shipment reached a new high with 39% growth The IT panel market was constrained due to the limited end demand and the downstream brands’ conservative purchase strategies, and the shipment growth trimmed from the previous month The monitor panel shipment declined 41% MoM to 1352 million units, while the shipment for the 101”-and-above NB panels came to 1507 million units, dropping 9% MoM The new tablets, including iPad5 and Kindle Fire HDX series that are about to hit the market, boost the panel demand, and the overall tablet panel shipment attained 2101 million units, growing 44% MoM Source:WitsView As the promotional period of Mid-Autumn and Oct 1st ended, the overall LCD TV sales result declined from the same period last year, meeting the market’s expectation, due to the withdrawal of subsidy policy The promotional core has shifted from last year’s 3D and high-efficient TVs to smart internet connection and 50”-and-above large cheap TVs In addition, the 4K TV has performed an ideal sales result with brands’ strong promotional campaign   WitsView research manager Jeffy Chen indicates that with Chinese brands’ heating up demand for 4K TVs, the 4K TV panel shipment grew largely 39% from the previous month in September, seeing a single-month shipment of 053 million units Innolux stayed ahead of all panel makers with its 4K TV panel shipment largely rising 52% from the previous month, and its 4K TV panel shipment accumulated from Jan to Sep officially topped the one-million-unit mark, leading its rivals Chen further indicates that for the 4K TVs’ shipments by sizes, the 50” and the 55” secured the No1 and No2 places with 25% and 22%, respectively The 4K TV panels under 50”, including the 39” and the 42”, accounted for 40% of the market, clearly indicating Chinese brands’ ambition to include the high, mid, and low ends to the 4K series of products they are building Based on WitsView’s estimate, the overall large-sized panel shipment in October is likely to rise 1-2% from September Except for the tablet panel shipment that continues to grow 15-20%, the TV panel shipment may see an adjustment in October after the restocking peak in August and September, expected to drop 4-5% The IT panel market continues to weaken with the monitor panel shipment and the NB panel shipment decreasing 4% and 9% respectively

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