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Consumer multimedia apps to intensify

Posted: 01 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer electronics? semiconductor industry? communications? computing? electronics market?

Zinn: We forecast the worldwide semiconductor industry growth of 6 percent to 12 percent this year.

We see consumer electronics, communications and computing driving the global electronics markets in 2006. In particular, we see growth driven mainly by consumer applications in the multimedia arena, including VoIP, wireless and video. We see these technologies merging together. Broadband growth will also stimulate demand for more A/V downloads into portable electronic devices that can be used in the home or on the go. In addition, we see wireless connectivity within the home. As a result, storage drive capacities will continue to grow, as more digital content is downloaded from the Internet. In communications, key applications include passive optical networks for fiber-to-the-premises and fiber-to-the-home, VoIP, and wireless infrastructure. In the computing sector, PCs, servers and storage will continue to be a driving force in China and other developing countries for connecting to the Internet.

For ethernet, some of the disparate applications will begin to converge into a single device such as a cellphone. One of the reasons for this trend is the consumers' demand for convenience; users now see the multiple advantages of having all their devices rolled into one. To achieve this higher level of functionality, applications will need to become "smarter." While the technologies needed to achieve this convergence are all in place today, not all of the kinks have been ironed out yet. At Micrel, we continue to add features to our products to make them more "intelligent."

Technologies with the most potential for applications and specific to China include IP developed in-house, such as low-jitter, high-speed laser driver and post amp for HBW; quick radio and Zigbee from RF and 10/100BT PHY; and switches for SoC from Ethernet. For analog, we see low-noise LDOs, high-performance switchers and PoE solutions showing the most potential.

In analog, technology requirements range from high voltage, high current, high speed, ultralow voltage to deep-submicron integration. Flexibility in process adaptation and a vast range of process technology capabilities are going to be an essential ingredient for success, in addition to readily available design IP.

We forecast the worldwide semiconductor industry growth of 6 percent to 12 percent this year. This is based on the assumption that the worldwide economies remain relatively healthy and the geo-political environment remains stable, especially China and India.

- Ray Zinn
Micrel Inc.

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