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Electronics news digest

20 July 2011 News

South Africa

Following meetings of key heat pump industry stakeholders hosted by the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban during June, SESSA has been given the mandate to establish a national heat pump division. Membership of SESSA’s heat pump division will be open to any entity selling, installing or maintaining heat pump technologies, regardless of size or geographical representation, as well as those involved in providing services such as finance to the heat pump industry.

Overseas

Business

EXFO reported financial results for its third financial quarter ended 31 May. Sales increased 20,9% to $67,6 million from $55,9 million in the third quarter of 2010, but decreased 6,1% from $72,0 million in the second quarter of 2011. After nine months into fiscal 2011, sales increased 42,4% year-over-year to $205,3 million. GAAP net earnings in the third quarter of fiscal 2011 totalled $1,7 million, or $0,03 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $0,6 million, or $0,01 per share, in the same period last year and net earnings of $1,7 million, or $0,03 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2011.

Micron Technology announced results of operations for its third quarter of fiscal 2011, which ended 2 June. The company had net income attributable to Micron shareholders of $75 million, or $0,07 per diluted share, on net sales of $2,1 billion. The company’s consolidated gross margin improved to 22% for the third quarter of fiscal 2011 from 19% for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 due primarily to decreases in manufacturing costs.

ST-Ericsson announced that due to recent changes in the business environment and reduced demand for legacy products at certain customers, it will launch a cost savings plan to achieve about $120 million of annualised savings by the end of 2012. The company’s path to profitability is also expected to take longer, with its break-even target now planned later than the previously anticipated second quarter of 2012. The cost savings plan includes a global workforce review that may affect up to 500 of the company’s 6700 employees worldwide.

Companies

CML Microsystems has acquired the exclusive rights to the RALCWI low bit-rate vocoder products from Spirit Corp, a Moscow-based software company. CML originally licensed RALCWI from Spirit a few years ago to run on its proprietary system-on-chip (SoC) DSP technology after playing a key role in its specification, and has continued to enhance the performance and feature-set of the product. RALCWI is a low bit-rate vocoder technology that facilitates the transmission and reception of highly compressed voice over inherently noisy narrowband radio channels. Mass voice storage is also an interesting area for highly compressed digital voice, reducing overall memory and backup requirements.

Altium announced that a comprehensive set of passive components from Würth Elektronik is available for Altium Designer 10 through the recently launched AltiumLive portal. Electronic designers will have access to eight new libraries comprising over 1500 passive components from the EMC solution provider.

Industry

Nordic Semiconductor has been appointed a Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) board of directors company and, along with simultaneously appointed Apple, now joins Ericsson AB, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba on the Bluetooth SIG board.

LED driver IC sales will reach nearly $3,5 billion in 2015 from nearly $2 billion in 2010, a compound annual growth rate of 12%. These are among the findings in a new report from Strategies Unlimited. Sales for LCD backlights will dominate through the period, with growth from edge-lit TVs and monitors. LED lighting applications will be the next big thing for LED drivers and driver ICs, beginning with replacement bulbs, as a response to improvements in technology and phasing in of bans on incandescent bulbs. LED driver IC revenues are threatened, however, by continued integration into fewer ICs, and competition from OLEDs, compact fluorescent lamps and other technologies.

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig), the organisation advancing the worldwide adoption and use of 60 GHz wireless technology and its applications, announced the publication of its certification-ready multigigabit wireless specification. The WiGig Bus Extension and WiGig Serial Extension enable multigigabit wireless connectivity among multiple devices, from storage devices to other high-speed peripherals and applications such as wireless docking. The organisation also announced eight new contributors in Aeroflex, Future Technology Devices International, the Institute for Infocomm Research, MET Labs, SRTC, Hittite, Rohde & Schwarz and UL CCS.

After an historic 44% increase in 2010, the power transistor market is expected to climb another 9% in 2011 and set a new record high annual sales volume of $13,1 billion, according to IC Insights research. The research also shows power transistor shipments rising 11% in 2011 to a record high 58,8 billion units worldwide due to above-average sales growth in automotive electronics, new renewable energy systems (such as solar panels and wind turbines), battery-operated portable products, and more efficient power supplies in a range of equipment applications.

Technology

IBM scientists have made a breakthrough in the field of phase-change memory (PCM) that resulted in a 100 times performance increase in write latency compared to Flash memory. It is believed that, with its combination of speed, endurance, non-volatility and density, PCM could enable a paradigm shift for storage systems within the next five years. To achieve this breakthrough demonstration, IBM scientists in Zurich used advanced modulation coding techniques to mitigate the problem of short-term drift in multibit PCM, which causes the stored resistance levels to shift over time, which in turn creates read errors.





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