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Dell CTO urges IC makers to face integration challenges

Posted: 13 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:pc? semiconductor? consumer electronics?

The growing importance of consumer electronics to the future growth of the semiconductor industry was underscored when equipment suppliers tapped PC maker Dell Inc.'s chief technology officer to open their annual conference.

Kevin Kettler told the Semicon West conference on Monday (July 11) that chip makers need to sharpen their focus on the consumer market through higher levels of silicon integration, innovative packaging for emerging mobile devices and shortening design cycles through design reuse.

There are a "whole series of individual components that need to be integrated" into emerging mobile consumer devices and chip makers need to "take that functionality and put it on a single die," Kettler said.

Besides coping with power, density and thermal issues, he warned that multiple standards are slowing silicon and technology adoption as are regional standards that vary from one country to the next. "Power density continues to get worse. Something has to change," he warned.

From a systems standpoint, the Dell CTO added, "Design cycles are increasing due to ground-up development versus design reuse in dedicated applications."

Kettler said Dell is bullish on the covergence of PCs and consumer electronics as well as the networked home that will allow the transfer of different audio and video media among consumer devices. Some network interoperability is starting to emerge, he said, hastening the arrival of digital home networks, including 802.11 wireless connections on TVs.

But these advances have been offset by nagging issues like digital rights management that are slowing the management of "content flow throughout the home."

Kettler also warned that hardware makers ignore software development at their peril. "Software is now the critical path for [consumer electronics] product development," he said. "Software is limiting the transition to new silicon technologies and products."

- George Leopold

EE Times





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