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Electronics news digest

31 March 2021 News

South Africa

South Africa’s photonics industry is set to benefit from the state-of-the-art Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) that was unveiled at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on 5 March. The facility will enhance the development of photonics-based products, specifically the prototype-development phase, to test the market for acceptance of the planned product in the country. It offers Class 1000 clean rooms, technical and optical equipment, ranging from electronic, mechanical and diagnostic equipment, for a variety of wavelengths.

Overseas

Business

Sierra Wireless reported results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended 31 December 2020, having divested its automotive product line in November and ending the year with a strong balance sheet with $171,4 million in cash and no debt. Total revenue decreased 18,0% to $448,6 million compared to 2019, while adjusted net loss from continuing operations was $51,0 million (a loss of $1,40 per share) compared to a $6,0 million loss ($0,17 per share) in 2019.

For the final quarter of its 2020 financial year, Silicon Labs’ revenue exceeded the top end of the guidance range at $242,9 million, up from $221,3 million in the third quarter. Revenue for the full year was $886,7 million, up from $837,6 million in 2019. Fourth quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) were $0,20, and full-year diluted EPS was $0,28.

Companies

Renesas Electronics has secured an all-cash acquisition agreement to buy Dialog Semiconductor for a total equity value of approximately 4,9 billion Euros. Dialog brings to the table its low-power and mixed-signal expertise in offering battery and power management, power conversion, configurable mixed-signal (CMIC), LED drivers, custom mixed-signal ICs (ASICs), and automotive power management ICs (PMICs), wireless charging technology, and more.

Silicon Labs announced a new high-reliability (HiRel) isolation partnership with Teledyne e2v HiRel, a leading provider of high-performance, high-reliability semiconductors to the aerospace and defence market. Under the new agreement, Teledyne will offer a new specialised line of high-reliability products based on Silicon Labs’ isolated gate driver technology optimised for space, aerospace, military, and oil and gas markets.

Industry

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), global semiconductor industry sales were $40,0 billion for the month of January 2021, an increase of 13,2% over the January 2020 total of $35,3 billion and 1,0% more than the December 2020 total of $39,6 billion. Regionally, year-to-year sales increased across all markets: Asia Pacific/All Other (16,0%), the Americas (15,4%), China (12,4%), Japan (9,6%), and Europe (6,4%).


Despite the important investments in 5G networks, the uptake of 5G across smart city segments will remain very low over the next five years. Global tech market advisory firm ABI Research finds that of all cellular smart city connections, 75% will ride on LPWA LTE networks (Cat 1, Cat M, NB-IoT) in 2026, with only around 1,6% powered by 5G, accounting for less than 10 million connections globally. However, in the longer term, new 5G use cases will emerge across a wide range of smart city segments, mostly centred around low-latency, mission-critical services.

Technology

Researchers have developed a data transfer system that can transmit information 10 times faster than USB. The new link pairs high-frequency silicon chips with a polymer cable as thin a strand of hair. The system, which is being developed by MIT researcher Jack Holloway and his team, may one day boost energy efficiency in data centres and lighten the loads of electronics-rich spacecraft. The US military has taken an interest in the technology, with development being funded by the Naval Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, defence contractor Raytheon, as well as Intel.




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