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Analog business overtakes digital

Posted: 03 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog? digital? ic? application? driver?

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Bell: Analog business is growing faster than the digital business and new applications are driving high performance development and requirement of analog products.

With the surge of growth in the analog IC market, the Semiconductor Industry Association predicts that analog will surpass the global microprocessor market this year. According to the latest SIA forecast, the worldwide analog IC market is expected to reach $42.7 billion by 2007, representing a large 24 percent increase over the projected $34.4 billion analog market in 2004.

Analog business is growing faster than digital, and new applications such as automotive electronics, digital devices, computing and consumer electronics drive the high-performance development and requirements of analog products. Many consumer products have evolved into digital devices, yet the need for analog is growing at an equal rate with digital.

In the semiconductor market, all things are growing. The faster ones are certainly the high-end consumer products such as cellphones, digital still cameras, MP3 players, GPS units, PDAs and panel televisions. The second key application area is automotive electronics. China is rapidly becoming a large automobile market.

A few years ago, commodity and price were the key factors for choosing a product. Today, however, the important features of high-performance products include size, efficiency, battery life and low noise.

Analog process technology has lagged behind digital technology for several generations since engineers don't need to fit the feature size as digital technology does. In some instances, people don't get the full benefit of small analog devices because some big devices require to stand voltage. This is why LTC mainly focuses on the technology process. Now, 95 percent of our IC products are produced in our own fab with over 100 different processes.

China and other Asian countries should focus on high-performance products. China needs to provide greater value to their consumers. Low cost should not be the only advantage China has over other countries.

- David Bell
Linear Technology Corp.

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