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Scale down the consumer device size

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

Keywords:semiconductor business? worldwide semiconductor business? ic? cellphone? mp3 player?

Bell: I see a gap growing between the skills of analog designers and the complexity of the solutions they must make.

The global semiconductor business will go through moderate growth this year. Nonetheless, there will still be driving forces in the market.

For several years, the trend has been worldwide electronic businesses supporting consumer productsthis will continue to grow.

Last year, over 50 percent of electronic manufacturers worldwide were into consumer applications. I think this percentage will continue to increase in 2006.

The consumer market is driven by digital still cameras (DSCs), MP3 players and GPS cellphones. This trend will help boost China's role in designing products, as these devices are mostly manufactured there. During the next few years or the coming decade, many tech-products will not just be manufactured and distributed in China, but designed as well.

The cellphone is still the dominant consumer electronics product today. Cellphones will drive a lot of design creativity in the industry. I think the ability to access the cellphone by broadband will happen in the near future.

The MP3 player market is expected to be dominated by iPod in a lot of ways. There are, however, other players that will be making good money this year. Meanwhile, DSCs and digital radios are two other products that are set to thrive in the worldwide market this year.

Another significant trend in the past decade has been the decrease in electronics size. We are doing two things in relation to this trend. The first is to integrate more functions in one device. Another is improving packing technology to make the IC package smaller.

I also see a gap growing between the skills of analog designers and the complexity of the solutions they must make. To fill that gap, we have introduced module-based solutions like uModule, instead of just an IC solution. Module-based solutions are another way of integrating ICs and discrete components. Designers can do layout on the PCB very easily without much analog experience.

Dave Bell
Linear Technology Corp.

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