• The deputy minister of Trade and Industry, Fikile Majola, has told community members in Evaton in Gauteng’s Vaal region that government is taking major steps towards the designation of the Vaal Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Majola said the SEZ would create economic and employment opportunities, and further urged local government officials to identify one industrial park for revitalisation. He said the revitalisation of industrial parks was part of government’s strategy to revive the economy.
• The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has pledged to publish the information memorandum on the licensing process for the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum, or what is also referred to as high-demand spectrum, by the end of 2019. The publication will be an important step in the licensing process for the ultimate release of the high-demand spectrum in order to give effect to government’s policy objectives of ensuring broadband access for all, transformation of the ICT sector, lower data costs, promote competition and ensure inclusive economic growth.
• The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) announced that South Africa and Switzerland are set to deepen their collaboration in science, technology and innovation (STI) following the renewal of a fruitful STI cooperation agreement between the two countries. Signed in Bern at the end of September, the agreement will, among others, see exchange visits of scientists, researchers and scholars, the sharing of scientific and technical knowledge, and the hosting of bilateral STI seminars and courses.
• Dialog Semiconductor has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Creative Chips, a prominent supplier of ICs to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market, for $80 million in cash. The new acquisition is strategic for Dialog to establish itself as a proven supplier, well positioned to capture the significant growth potential of the IIoT market. It also provides Dialog with a rich portfolio of core IC products and a broad library of relevant analog, digital and RF technologies.
• Despite achieving an acceptance level of 51,6 percent, AMS’ $4,9 billion takeover offer for Osram Licht AG failed to meet the minimum acceptance threshold of 62,5 percent. As a result of purchases prior to the expiry of the offer, AMS is currently the largest shareholder in Osram with a direct shareholding of 19,99 percent.
• Qorvo has acquired Cavendish Kinetics, the world’s leading provider of high-performance RF MEMS technology for antenna tuning applications. RF MEMS devices are used to tune both main and diversity smartphone antennas across low, mid and high bands, resulting in stronger signals and faster data rates. RF MEMS maximise performance through outstanding Q-factor, improved linearity and extremely low insertion losses, offering great potential for improving 4G and 5G system performance.
• The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced worldwide sales of semiconductors were $34,2 billion in August 2019, a decrease of 15,9 percent from the August 2018 total of $40,7 billion but 2,5 percent more than the July 2019 total of $33,4 billion. On a year-to-year basis, sales were down across all regional markets: Europe (-8,6 percent), Asia Pacific/All Other (-9,2 percent), Japan (-11,5 percent), China (-15,7 percent), and the Americas (-28,8 percent).
• Akira Yoshino, John B Goodenough and M Stanley Whittingham have been jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of lithium-ion batteries. Underlining the importance of their contributions to the mobility and convenience of our modern daily lives, the Nobel Committee said in a statement that “Lithium-ion batteries are used globally to power the portable electronics that we use to communicate, work, study, listen to music and search for knowledge.” Yoshino created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985, based on a metal oxide cathode design by Goodenough. Sony released the first commercial lithium-ion batteries in 1991, based on Yoshino’s configuration. The trio will share the prize money of nine million kronor (£738 000).
• NXP Semiconductors unveiled the first microcontroller (MCU) to break the gigahertz (GHz) barrier. Built using advanced 28 nm FD-SOI technology for lower active and static power requirements, the i.MX RT1170 family of ‘crossover’ MCUs integrates a Arm Cortex-M7 and power-efficient Cortex-M4, advanced 2D vector graphics, together with NXP’s signature EdgeLock security solution. NXP claims the i.MX RT1170 delivers a CoreMark score of 6468 and DMIPS of 2974.