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Device controls mobile displays

Posted: 25 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:high-volt technology? mobile display? display driver IC? mobile TV?

With an eye on the consumer electronics market, particularly higher-resolution displays for smartphones, silicon foundry provider Silterra Malaysia is promoting its 0.13?m high-voltage technology.

Company executives said Aug. 20 they are targeting the display driver IC market where higher-resolution TFT LCDs are turning up on a range of handheld devices like smart phones, mobile TV phones and PDAs. They also hope to capitalize on the slew of new, multimedia phones that have emerged in response to the introduction of Apple's iPhone 3G.

High-voltage chips are "not a new market [for Silterra], but this market is rapidly changing," said Yit Loong Lai, Silterra's VP for sales and marketing. Lai said 65 percent of Silterra's overall business is in Asia, where new smartphones have been popping up almost daily in response to the introduction of the iPhone 3G.

Silterra's fourth-generation, high-voltage technology includes a 2.13?m? SRAM bit cell designed for higher-density memories needed for high-resolution displays like high-end WQVGA displays.

Lai said Silterra's 0.13?m high-voltage one-transistor SRAM is scheduled to enter volume production during 1H 09, replacing a six-transistor SRAM bit cell version.

Silterra is in the midst of the three-phase foundry expansion plan. Last October, it announced a $100 million investment aimed at expanding capacity at its existing 200mm fab. Capacity should be increased soon to as many as 40,000 wafers a month, Lai said.

Meanwhile, it is negotiating unspecified deals with Japanese partners, with agreements expected to be completed by year-end.

Finally, Lai said Silterra said negotiating with an unnamed Chinese municipal government to construct a 12-inch wafer fab. The China fab would come online with 65nm process technology. Talks are expected to be completed by year-end.

The Malaysian foundry provider has been working with Belgium's IMEC since 2004 on its 90nm process technology. Lai said he expects Silterra to begin limited production capacity of as many as 2,000 wafers a month by mid-year.

Overall, executives said Silterra's strategy will be to attract more Asian consumer electronics and wireless display customers than in the past as a way to increase market share in segments like display driver ICs.

- George Leopold
EE Times

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