Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

President Biden signed the expansive $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law yesterday. The legislation includes $52.7 billion in subsidies and tax credits to help strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development. In addition to revitalizing domestic manufacturing efforts, the package intends to “create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” explains the White House. The measure is also part of larger effort by the federal government to combat the growing influence of China, especially involving tech sectors and the potential impact to security and privacy. Continue reading Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan tech and science funding bill in a 64-33 vote. The CHIPS and Science Act commits $280 billion to be spent over five years in what is being called the largest manufacturing, research and development initiative of its kind. The largest single area of investment is $76 billion to fund domestic semiconductor production, which includes $24 billion in new tax incentives. Yesterday, the bill passed in a 243-187 House vote and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation aims to bolster national security by making the U.S. chip independent and boosting competition against China. Continue reading Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

Senate Advances $52B Bill to Combat Global Chip Shortage

The Senate moved to advance legislation that supports U.S. semiconductor manufacturing by stripping other aspects from a larger China competitiveness bill. Dubbed “CHIPS-plus,” the narrowed proposal still allocates $52 billion in subsidies for chipmakers but had a “hold-this-space” marker for the remainder of the language. The procedural motion required 51 votes to determine if this stripped-down version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) could proceed to a final vote even though adjustments would continue to be made before the Senate votes on the finished result. It cleared that hurdle, 64-34. Continue reading Senate Advances $52B Bill to Combat Global Chip Shortage

Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

The business-oriented Magic Leap 2 AR headsets will debut in three models on September 30 in global territories including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Magic Leap 2 Base starts at $3,299. There is a midrange Magic Leap 2 Developer Pro, working up to the Magic Leap 2 Enterprise, which sells for $4,999. Smaller and lighter than its 2018 predecessor, Magic Leap 2 comes with a hip-worn AMD processor, offers a wide field of view, and has a dimmer that can be applied to background visuals to make virtual objects pop. In the U.S., Magic Leap 2 will be available through IT solutions reseller Insight.  Continue reading Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

The global semiconductor shortage that has plagued the supply chain for the past two years is threatening to affect advanced chips for next-generation smartphones as well as impacting the data centers critical to powering their apps. High-performance chips with tiny transistors had to a large extent sidestepped the scarcities that impacted the auto industry, appliances and basic consumer electronics. Now everything from production volume to manufacturing equipment has analysts worried about whether the world’s top smart chip manufacturers — TSMC and Samsung Electronics — will be able to keep up with customer demand. Continue reading Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

During Apple’s Q2 conference call a few weeks ago, CEO Tim Cook admitted China’s new COVID-19 lockdowns would result in supply chain disruptions causing as much as $8 billion in lost sales this year. Although Cook tried to emphasize Apple’s supply chain as “truly global,” with manufacturing in the U.S. and elsewhere, the company’s reliance on China could be problematic, and reports are surfacing that sources at the company are saying Apple is now on the hunt for production locations outside China, with India and Vietnam, where Apple already has small manufacturing operations, mentioned as candidates. Continue reading Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

President Biden kicked-off his three-day visit to South Korea with a trip to a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, emphasizing an interest in strengthening supply chains and boosting competition with China in the technology sector. Biden remarked that the U.S. wants to shore-up business ties with allies including South Korea to offset the influence of  “countries that don’t share our values.” Located in Pyeongtaek, the plant churns out some of Samsung’s most advanced memory chips and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was present, marking the pair’s first in-person visit. Continue reading Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

Apple’s fiscal Q2 was one of the best quarters in its 46 years of business. The company reported record revenue of $97.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year, far outperforming analyst expectations of $94 billion. More than $28 billion in operating cash flow and a return of nearly $27 billion to Apple shareholders resulted in the January through March period. But Apple warned that the outlook could dim in the current quarter, with China’s COVID-19 resurgence threatening to slow manufacturing, stymying sales by anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in fiscal Q3. Continue reading Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is reporting first quarter 2022 revenue between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion, a 35.5 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to Q4 2021, the first quarter results represent a 12.1 percent revenue uptick and 22 percent growth in net income. This, despite ongoing fallout from supply chain shortages that company CEO C.C. Wei says he expects will continue triggering production constraints. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the company has a plant, were cited as the most significant stressors to the company’s semiconductor output. Continue reading TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

Intel unveiled plans to invest an initial $19 billion to construct new leading-edge semiconductor fab mega-sites in Magdeburg, Germany; an R&D and design hub in France; and R&D, manufacturing and foundry facilities in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. The plan could see as much as $88 billion invested “along the entire semiconductor value chain” in the EU over the decade, according to the Santa Clara-based chipmaker, which says it wants to introduce a next-generation chip ecosystem while offsetting reliance on Asia for a more “resilient supply chain.” Continue reading Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

COVID Surge Triggers Factory Closures in China’s Tech Hubs

A recent COVID-19 surge in China has resulted in the temporary closure of electronics and automobile factories in the manufacturing hubs of Shenzhen and Changchun. In Shenzhen, iPhone supplier Foxconn announced it is halting operations in compliance with local government policy. The city has been placed on lockdown for at least a week, with all inhabitants to undergo three rounds of testing following the discovery of 86 new COVID-19 cases. Recent outbreaks in 28 of China’s 31 provinces have infected more than 15,000 people, primarily with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to China’s National Health Commission. Continue reading COVID Surge Triggers Factory Closures in China’s Tech Hubs

Magic Leap 2 Lighter with Better Field of View Than Original

Announced in 2019, the Magic Leap 2 augmented reality headsets are now being demoed for reviewers, with a commercial launch set for later this year. In 2020 the company shelved consumer plans to focus on enterprise clients in areas like healthcare, manufacturing and defense, where it will compete against Microsoft’s HoloLens. Offering a significantly improved field of view compared to the original 2018 Magic Leap, the new Magic Leap 2 is also lighter and more powerful than its predecessor. The new goggles are wired to a disc-shaped processor that must be carried or clipped on for mobility. Continue reading Magic Leap 2 Lighter with Better Field of View Than Original

Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Intel announced it will purchase Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Tower — which specializes in analog semiconductor solutions for high-growth markets including mobile, automotive, medical devices and power management — will make Intel instantly more competitive in sectors dominated by Taiwan’s TSMC. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger cited “Tower’s specialty technology portfolio, geographic reach [and] deep customer relationships” among the assets that will help scale Intel to “a globally diverse end-to-end foundry” to help meet growing chip demands across the nearly $100 billion addressable foundry market. Continue reading Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Intel Announces Plans for New $20 Billion Chip Plant in Ohio

Intel is building a new $20 billion chip foundry in Ohio, where CEO Patrick Gelsinger says the company envisions investing more than $100 billion over the next decade to create a complex of up to eight plants. The move is part of a U.S. effort to increase domestic production of computer chips, alleviating supply chain shortages and reducing reliance on foreign suppliers. The new build, located near Columbus, is an economic boon for Ohio, creating 7,000 construction jobs and eventually employment for about 3,000 people in two flagship factories, and potentially many more jobs through the satellite suppliers nearby. Continue reading Intel Announces Plans for New $20 Billion Chip Plant in Ohio

Unity Game Engine Makes ‘Digital Twins’ for Industrial Tests

Game giant Unity is using its game engine technology to help businesses make “digital twins” of real-world objects, environments and even people. These virtual entities take the brunt of testing products, machines and environments. Currently there are dozens of companies reportedly using Unity’s game engine to model digital doubles that can sub-in for robots, manufacturing lines and buildings, among other things, virtually operating and monitoring them even as they are optimized and trained. These twins rust when exposed to water and respond to things like temperature. They learn to avoid a ditch or call attention to a broken part. Continue reading Unity Game Engine Makes ‘Digital Twins’ for Industrial Tests