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An EDA company's take on 2010 growth sectors

Posted: 13 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EDA? home entertainment? Android? DTV? netbook?

P.V. Srinivas

Srinivas: India and China should see strong growth in 2010 due to large domestic markets.

The semiconductor and electronics industry has just started recovering from a sharp and painful downturn. Most economists and industry analysts are forecasting continued recovery through 2010, although there are some uncertainties due to prospect of double-dip recession in the United States. Asia and, more specifically, India and China should see strong growth in 2010 due to large domestic markets and continued strong demand for high end electronic gadgets.

Growth sectors
Home entertainment sector is expected to have strong growth in 2010, especially in Asia. Home entertainment market includes digital TV (DTV), set-top boxes, DVD recorders and video consoles. LCD TV penetration is still very low in India and China compared to the United States, Europe and Japan. A large middle class with growing disposable incomes and various finance schemes will help strong growth in LCD Television market. In addition as more countries switch to digital transmission, the LCD panel demand is bound to increase. Japan and Canada are set to switch to digital transmission in 2011, the UK by 2012 and China by 2015.

DVD recorders and STBs are also expected to record double-digit growth in India and China. DVD recorder prices have now reached DVD player prices leaving customers little incentive to buy a different product. SoC ICs for DTV, STBs and DVD recorders and players will see growth in 2010.

Netbooks, primarily used for web-browsing and email, will see continued strong growth in 2010 and beyond. The introduction of Intel Atom processor in 2008 spurred the growth of netbooks. This category is still in a formative stage with size, features and relative performance levels in a state of flux. The expected introduction of Chrome operating system by Google should further increase the demand for netbooks. Chrome OS promises netbook users to have an instant TV like experience for bootup and make web-browsing and emailing much simpler. Processors and low-power SoCs for netbooks and other mobile Internet devices (MIDs) will be in high demand in 2010.

Smart phones grew this year and are expected to grow even further in 2010 as manufacturers and operators seek to drive open platforms into mass market. The strongest demand is expected to be for iPhone, Blackberry and the new Android based phones such as one from Motorola. The smart phone market has entered a period that presents enormous growth opportunities for many key players including semiconductor vendors, platform providers, operators and device manufacturers. Ninety percent of these smart phones contain chips based on ARM processors and they will see accelerated growth in 2010. The demand for smart phone apps will also grow in years to come.

Automotive market will be another bright spot for semiconductor and electronics in 2010. The value of modern automobiles has become heavily influenced by their electronic contents. Selecting the right electronic components and choosing the optimal design methodology is vital in developing a successful product. Design methodologies for automotive applications must consider mechatronic system complexities. This implies unambiguous and verifiable modeling of various electro-mechanical parts such as feedback control systems, sensors and actuators, digital and analog circuitry.

The embedded design market is set for continued strong growth in 2010. The improvement in enabling technologies, such as commercial middleware, multi-core processors, and embedded virtualization is driving a shift from proprietary captive systems made internally at OEMs to modular, standardized and open platforms from embedded suppliers. The demand for embedded software services, to accelerate the migration to open platforms, is expected to grow significantly in next few years.

Indian software and design services players are expected to play a significant role in expanding embedded market. Companies in India have moved up the value chain from mere project execution to end-to-end product development. IP development will see increased emphasis as third party design services companies look to move up the value chain.

Process technologies
The 45nm semiconductor technologies will become main-stream in 2010 and most new SoCs and ASICs will be implemented in 45-/40nm node. Increasing process, design and manufacturing variations will make variation aware design implementation tools a must for achieving first-pass silicon success. Design-for-Manufacturing aware physical implementation will become extremely important to achieve high design yields. Low power methodologies employing selective power and ground gating will continue to evolve in order to tackle increasing power density and low-power needs of portable devices. Such methodologies also necessitate comprehensive power and functional verification strategy. Some high end applications such as CPUs, GPUs and video game processors etc will see new design activities in 32/28nm technologies.

- By P.V. Srinivas
Sr. Director of Engineering, P&R
Mentor Graphics

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