Issue #2003 - 28
IBM Expands Chip Building For Wireless
Source: Michael Singr in Silicon Valley Internet.com
IBM recently said that it is expanding its chip manufacturing services to focus more on chips used for wireless devices such as cell phones, wireless networks, automotive sensors and storage devices.
The company said its plant in Burlington, Vt. is being modified to accommodate processors that chips used in these "radio frequency (RF)" and "mixed signal" applications - where radio waves are converted to digital electronic signals. IBM said the first round of chips produced with the new technologies won't debut until next year.
The demand for faster, cheaper wireless chips is growing at a breakneck pace. The marketplace for these integrated circuits is estimated to be over $30 billion in 2003, and is becoming an even larger share of the overall semiconductor market, increasing from 17.5 percent in 2003 to 18.8 percent in 2007, according to semiconductor industry analyst group iSuppli. And while IBM is no stranger to wireless technology -- the company boasts a wide RF and mixed signal foundry portfolio -- Big Blue is not alone in the space either. The legacy in this space belongs to wireless giants like Motorola (Quote, Chart), Texas Instruments (Quote, Chart) and QUALCOMM (Quote, Chart), even Intel (Quote, Chart) has thrown its weight around and begun to capture markeshare.
IBM says its edge is that its fabrication plants use specialized manufacturing techniques that lead to better performance and lower power consumption.
"We've built a portfolio of the most advanced foundry technologies for wireless applications," said James Doyle, vice president, foundry services, IBM Microelectronics Division. "With this announcement, we are demonstrating yet again IBM's intent to bring our most advanced technologies to bear for our customers."
The new offerings, named CMOS 7RF , BiCMOS 7WL and BiCMOS 7HP, span traditional complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and silicon germanium (SiGe)-based bipolar technologies, extending down to circuit sizes as small as 180-nanometers (or billionths of a meter).
For more information: http://www.internet.com
MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Wireless
chip industry is doing well. So, IBM wants a piece of the action. It
does have the engineering and manufacturing capabilities. It will
introduce additional competition - that is good for the industry.
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