Monthly Archives: August 2016

Investment: Fabless Company Acconeer Secures $7.2M

Acconeer AB, a leading innovation company in the area of mobile sensors, announces that ithas closed a SEK 60 million ($7.2M) investment round. The new capital will be used to fund the completion of Acconeer’s 3D sensor A1 for commercial launch and mass production, which is planned for early 2017.


Lars Lindell, CEO of Acconeer AB commented: “We are naturally very pleased with closing the investment round. Existing shareholders contributed with approximately 40% of the round leaving 60% for new investors. We have been able to add some industry veterans such as Jörgen Lantto, former CEO of Fingerprint Cards and Bert Nordberg, former CEO and Chairman of Sony Mobile, and many leading positions within Ericsson, as investors in this very ambitious project. We now have enough funds to start the process of commercializing our ultra-low power and millimeter precision sensor. We have a very solid interest from customers and will also start shipping evaluation boards to customers for their evaluation.”


Jörgen Lantto comments: “Acconeer is about to complete the development of a 3D sensor with great potential. I am very impressed with the technology and the team and I am looking forward to follow them developing a world-leading technology company.”



IP-Maker Showcase OLTP SQL Acceleration

IP-Maker, the NVMe expert startup, showcased its new SQL acceleration demo at Flash Memory Summit, reaching 200k+ transactions per minutes (TPM) on a low cost server, leading in a very efficient performance/cost/power consumption configuration.


“We used to highlight the low latency IOPS of our NVMe technology in the past years, today we demonstrate the performance benefits of our NVMe technology in a data center application, providing more value for our customers” said Mickael Guyard, Marketing Director at IP-Maker. “This example reaches more than 200k TPM, which is a great performance on such low cost server. The use of very fast NVMe drive for the logs eliminates the need of high cost server”.


Data base is one of the most IO intensive applications. IP-Maker has deployed an OLTP example based on a low cost server running SQL Server 2016 and HammerDB using a TPC-C profile. The database file is located on a SATA SSD while the logs are located on the NVMe RAM reference design therefore removing the performance bottleneck on the logs IOs. The NVMe RAM drive is designed with the full hardware NVMe from IP-Maker integrated in a Xilinx Virtex 7 FPGA. This architecture does not require any embedded CPU nor software to manage the NVMe protocol, leading in NVMe compliant 10µs latency range drive.


About IP-Maker

IP-Maker is a leader in Intellectual Properties (IP) for high performance storage applications. IP- Maker’s NVM Express (NVMe) technology provides a unique hardware accelerated solution that leverages the PCIe SSD performances, including ultra-low latency and high throughput. IP-Maker is a contributor to the NVMe specification. The ASIC and FPGA IP portfolio includes NVMe, Universal NandFlash Controller and ECC IP cores. The combination of the IP-Maker technology and its associate services dramatically cuts time-to-market.


See IP-Maker profile page on AnySilicon:


Fan-Out packaging: Will it be sustainable long-term?

2016 is a turning point for the Fan-Out market since both leaders, Apple and TSMC changed the game and may create a trend of acceptance of Fan-Out packages. Yole Développement (Yole) is analyzing the current market and technologies trends and offers you to discover these results within a new report entitled Fan-Out: Technologies & Market Trends 2016.


TSMC investment in FO WLP[1] and development of InFO[2] changed the WLP[3] landscape. Following high volume adoption of InFO and further development of eWLB technology, a wave of new players and FO WLP technologies may enter the market. TSMC’s FO WLP solution called InFO will be used to package the Apple A10 application processor, implemented in the new iPhone 7 series… The success of FO packaging platforms is so undeniable today. What will be the status of the market tomorrow? What are the next steps of the leading FO players? Which technology will be the winning solutions? Yole’s analysts tell you today the story…



“Production starts in 2016 and represents a big change in the Fan-Out industry for several reasons”, confirms Jérôme Azémar, Market & Technology Analyst, Advanced Packaging & Manufacturing at Yole. And he explains:


  • First of all, in terms of volume, capturing the Apple processor market is a big asset for Fan-Out technology. iPhone 7 phones are expected to be sold in more than 200 million units.
  • In terms of technology capability it is also a major turn: processors require thousands of connections while the FO market was essentially focused on limited IO count applications so far.
  • Eventually, the potential for market spread is very high: the Apple brand brings more interest to the FO platform.


According to Yole’s advanced packaging & semiconductor manufacturing team, the market will actually be split in two types:


  • The “core” market of FO, including single die applications such as Baseband, Power management, RF transceivers, etc. This is the main pool for FO WLP solutions and will keep growing
  • The “high-density” FO market, started by Apple APE[4] that will include larger IO count applications such as processors, memories, etc. This market is more uncertain and will require new integration solutions and high performing FO packages but has a very high potential.


Apart from TSMC, STATS ChipPAC is willing to make further investments powered by JCET, ASE extends its partnership with Deca Technologies while Amkor, SPIL and Powertech are in development phase eyeing future production. Samsung is seemingly lagging behind and is considering its options to raise competitiveness.



“With such a high potential for the high-density FO and solid growth of the core FO, the supply chain is also expected to evolve with a considerable amount of investment in Fan-Out packaging capabilities”, asserts Jérôme Azemar from Yole. Several players are already offering FO WLP while many others are developing their competitive Fan-Out platforms to enter the Fan-Out landscape and enlarge their portfolio.


What are the next steps of the leading Fan-Out players? Yole’s FO report analyzes in detail the strategies and offers of main players involved. It describes potential success scenarios for all of them. It also helps to define what FO Packaging is and what are the different products and platforms, player per player… Discover on, advanced packaging reports section to discover a full description of this technology & market analysis.


[1] FO WLP : Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging

[2] InFO : Integrated Fan-Out – Technology developed by TSMC

[3] WLP : Wafer Level Package

[4] APE : Application Processor Engine



AnySilicon Introduces “AnySilicon Masters” — Engineers Helping Fellow Engineers

AnySilicon operates a Q&A forum that is focused on ASIC design and production topics. If you are a semiconductor professional that enjoys spreading knowledge and experience with others — then AnySilicon Masters is the place for you.


Apply for AnySilicon Masters


AnySilicon Masters is a groups of selected engineers across all semiconductor domains that is receiving alerts on questions appearing on AnySilicon forum.


Apply for AnySilicon Masters here.


If you were accepted as an AnySilicon Masters feel free to update your Linkedin profile:


linkedin anysilicon master

Dolphin Integration unveils a Smart Modulator IP Core for lowest power digital microphones

The trend for intuitive and simple user interfaces is driving the growing demand for voice control, either for complementing or for replacing keyboards, touchscreens and other traditional controls.


This need for a new generation of green microphones leads to embedding the capability for waking up the rest of the system as soon as a voice activity is detected, possibly once a keyword has been spotted, while enhancing the recording quality with high sensitivity in far field and near field environments.


The combination of a complete analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with a voice processing DSP has reached its limits for lowering power consumption. Voice detection by a DSP in always-listening mode is proving to be unsatisfactory for IoT applications powered by small batteries or even on a smartphone. Green microphones fill the low-power gap by dividing by a ratio of at least 5 the power consumption in always-listening mode.


To increase battery life far beyond any current solution, and to improve the sound recording quality, such green microphones require a new generation of ultra-low power voice triggers and fast response ADC modulators. The DSP then be embedded in the same SoC as the sound signal buffer and perform the ADC decimation and filtering functions.


Dolphin Integration, the mainstream provider of delta-sigma converters for audio applications, unveils the first silicon IP – mMOD67.5-ROOSTER-VD.01 – targeting green microphones which combines an ultra-low power voice activity detector (WhisperTrigger-a) with an ultra-low power ADC modulator. Thanks to its self-adaptive design, the WhisperTrigger-a performs highly accurate voice detection, with a negligible detection latency, thus permitting efficient Key-word spotting or speech-to-text recognitions by the DSP, whatever the user environment.


Performances of the mMOD67.5-ROOSTER-VD.01:

  • Ultra-low power consumption:
    • 25 μA in Voice Detection mode
    • 360 μA in full performance Record mode from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, at Fmclk = 1.536 MHz
  • SNR: 67.5 dB at -26 dBFs in the [20 – 20k] bandwidth (A-weighted), at Fmclk = 1.536 MHz
  • Fast wake-up time of the ADC modulator: lower than 1 ms


Efficient detection performances in far-field context (per the MIWOK-C r1.0 benchmark):

  • 27 ms of average detection latency
  • 97.7% of Voice Detected as a Voice (VDV) within the first phoneme
  • 3.6% of Noise Detected as a Voice (NDV)

The mMOD67.5-ROOSTER is straightforward to integrate in the microphone with no need for end-user training.
For further information for greening a microphone, please visit our website, or contact us at

Top 20 Semiconductor Companies 1H 2016

IC Insights will release its August Update to the 2016 McClean Report later this month.  This Update includes an update of the semiconductor industry capital spending forecast, an analysis of the IC foundry industry, and a look at the top-25 semiconductor suppliers for 1H16, including a forecast for the full year ranking (the top 20 1H16 semiconductor suppliers are covered in this research bulletin).


The top-20 worldwide semiconductor (IC and O-S-D—optoelectronic, sensor, and discrete) sales ranking for 1H16is shown in Figure 1.  It includes eight suppliers headquartered in the U.S., three in Japan, three in Taiwan, three in Europe, two in South Korea, and one in Singapore, a relatively broad representation of geographic regions.


The top-20 ranking includes three pure-play foundries (TSMC, GlobalFoundries, and UMC) and six fabless companies.  If the three pure-play foundries were excluded from the top-20 ranking, China-based fabless supplier HiSilicon ($1,710 million), U.S.-based IDM ON Semiconductor ($1,695 million), and U.S.-based IDM Analog Devices ($1,583 million) would have been ranked in the 18th, 19th, and 20th positions, respectively.
IC Insights includes foundries in the top-20 semiconductor supplier ranking since it has always viewed the ranking as a top supplier list, not a marketshare ranking, and realizes that in some cases the semiconductor sales are double counted.  With many of our clients being vendors to the semiconductor industry (supplying equipment, chemicals, gases, etc.), excluding large IC manufacturers like the foundries would leave significant “holes” in the list of top semiconductor suppliers.  As shown in the listing, the foundries and fabless companies are identified.  In the April Update to The McClean Report, marketshare rankings of IC suppliers by product type were presented and foundries were excluded from these listings.



Overall, the top-20 list shown in Figure 1 is provided as a guideline to identify which companies are the leading semiconductor suppliers, whether they are IDMs, fabless companies, or foundries.



Figure 1
Thirteen of the top-20 companies had sales of at least $3.0 billion in 1H16.  As shown, it took $1.86 billion in sales just to make it into the 1H16 top-20 semiconductor supplier list.  There was one new entrant into the top-20 ranking in 1H16 as compared to the 2015 ranking—AMD, which replaced Japan-based Sharp.  In 2Q16, AMD registered a strong 23% increase in sales while Sharp was moving in the opposite direction logging a 13% decline in its 2Q16/1Q16 revenue.


Intel remained firmly in control of the number one spot in the top-20 ranking in 1H16.  In fact, it increased its lead over Samsung’s semiconductor sales from only 20% in 2015 to 33% in 1H16.  The biggest upward move in the ranking was made by Apple, which jumped up three positions in the 1H16 ranking as compared to 2015. Other companies that made noticeable moves up the ranking include MediaTek and the new Broadcom Ltd. (the merger of Avago and Broadcom), with each company moving up two positions.




Apple is an anomaly in the top-20 ranking with regards to major semiconductor suppliers. The company designs and uses its processors only in its own products—there are no sales of the company’s MPUs to other system makers.  IC Insights estimates that Apple’s custom ARM-based SoC processors had a “sales value” of $2.9 billion in 1H16, which placed them in the 14th position in the top-20 ranking.


In total, the top-20 semiconductor companies’ sales increased by 7% in 2Q16/1Q16.  Although, in total, the top-20 2Q16 semiconductor companies registered a 7% increase, there were seven companies that displayed a double-digit 2Q16/1Q16 jump in sales and only two that registered a decline (Intel and Renesas).


The fastest growing top-20 company in 2Q16 was Taiwan-based MediaTek, which posted a huge 32% increase in sales over 1Q16.  Although worldwide smartphone unit volume sales are forecast to increase by only 5% this year, MediaTek’s application processor shipments to the fast-growing China-based smartphone suppliers (e.g., Oppo and Vivo), helped drive its stellar 2Q16/1Q16 increase.  Overall, IC Insights expects MediaTek to register about $8.8 billion in sales in 2016, which would represent a 31% surge over the $6.7 billion in sales the company had last year.


As expected, given the possible acquisitions and mergers that could/will occur over the next few years, the top-20 ranking is likely to undergo a significant amount of upheaval as the semiconductor industry continues along its path to maturity.




This is a guest post by IC Insights that provides market research reports