TSMC’s Advanced Chipmaking Plans Leak Before Biden Visit

TSMC has revised plans for its Arizona chip plant, reportedly the result of pressure from customers including Apple, Nvidia and AMD, who urged the Taiwanese company to reconsider its plan to output 5-nanometer processors that will be old news by the time the $12 billion plant opens in 2024. TSMC is expected to announce during a scheduled Tuesday visit by President Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that it will output advanced 4-nanometer chips when production commences and will add a second nearby plant to manufacture even more sophisticated 3-nanometer chips. Continue reading TSMC’s Advanced Chipmaking Plans Leak Before Biden Visit

U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

The Biden administration is acting to limit China’s rapid military progress by banning shipments of advanced chips and the production tools needed to make them. This is in response to signs that China is using AI and supercomputing to develop hypersonic weapons and systems that may be able to crack highly encrypted messaging. The new rules, which extend to foreign companies using relevant U.S. technology, have already begun taking effect. But companies including Intel, Samsung, TSMC and SK Hynix have reportedly received limited exemptions allowing them to continue shipping to some factories there. Continue reading U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Samsung wants to dominate the global market for advanced semiconductors, unveiling plans to begin producing chips with a 2-nanometer spec in 2025 and launching into the even more advanced 1.4-nanometer market in 2027. The timeline takes the South Korean company beyond the 3-nanometer chip production it began in June. Samsung says it will more than triple production capacity in five years, positioning it to challenge Taiwan’s TSMC in terms of volume, and potentially surpass it in the high-end market for “smart chips.” TSMC said it will mass produce 3nm chips this year and start 2nm production by 2025. Continue reading Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

China’s troubled Tsinghua Unigroup chip conglomerate is about to get an $800 million infusion from Taiwan’s Foxconn in the consumer electronics giant’s bid to expand its electric vehicle activity. Battery-powered cars generally require more semiconductors than those that run on gas, and analysts say Tsinghua Unigroup is attractive to Foxconn — which makes everything from iPhones to Xboxes — for its mobile chipset and memory expertise. In 2021, Foxconn secured a deal with U.S. automotive startup Fisker to jointly manufacture electric cars with automotive chips Foxconn plans to develop with Stellantis. Continue reading Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

Taiwanese semiconductor giant GlobalWafers wants to invest $5 billion to construct a state-of-the-art 300-millimeter silicon wafer factory in Sherman, Texas, but only if Congress can fund the CHIPS for America Act, which passed in January 2021 and has been promised $52 billion but sits with an empty purse. The new GlobalWafers factory would be the first of its kind in the U.S. in 20 years and is expected to create 1,500 jobs. GlobalWafers president Mark England says if government incentives are not unleashed soon the company will “pivot to South Korea.” Continue reading GlobalWafers Ties Proposal for Texas Foundry to CHIPS Act

HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

HTC is launching its Desire 22 Pro smartphone, which emphasizes VR and AR integration centering around HTC’s own Vive ecosystem and the open-source metaverse platform it calls the Viverse. The Desire 22 Pro’s preloaded Viverse app lets users access and manage NFTs and cryptocurrencies and other metaverse content. In February HTC announced the Viverse, where people can attend meetings or concerts, build avatars and play games. Optimized for HTC’s 5G products and Vive VR devices, users can join the Viverse from any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset. Continue reading HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

The U.S. Is Now Home to the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

In a big win for the United States, the Department of Energy’s Frontier supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee was ranked No. 1 in the Top500 worldwide performance contest and the first to top the quintillion operations-per-second (exascale) benchmark in a LINPACK test. The Department of Energy has said it will spend a total of $1.8 billion to build three machines with exascale performance. The Frontier, or OLCF-5, supercomputer (which features a theoretical peak performance of 2 exaflops) was built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and is powered by AMD chips. Continue reading The U.S. Is Now Home to the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

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

Streaming Battle in Asia as Locals Compete for Market Share

A strong showing by Netflix in Asia amidst an otherwise lackluster Q1 report has focused attention on the region, where streaming is just coming into its own in territories that house roughly half the global population. There are still potentially hundreds of millions of untapped subscribers in the Far East. But the area has its own challenges, namely local streaming services that offer a wide variety of regional content. Not to mention deep-pocketed domestic rivals, including Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are also competing for market share. Continue reading Streaming Battle in Asia as Locals Compete for Market Share

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 Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

The competition for global computer chip dominance depends largely on who can create the smallest components with the most advanced capabilities. So far, Taiwan-based TSMC leads, and the nation accounts for more than 90 percent of global production of advanced chips. By comparison, the U.S. claims about a 12 percent share, prompting the government to cite reliance on foreign-made processors as a cause of inflation and a national security threat. California-based Intel is heeding the challenge, spending billions on initiatives for AI computing, a high-end microprocessor plant expansion in Arizona and new plant in Ohio. Continue reading Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

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

Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Two years of global chip shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have left the semiconductor industry better prepared for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has created turmoil in two countries that supply neon gas and palladium, essential ingredients to create processors. One estimate puts the countries’ combined output of semiconductor-grade neon at anywhere from one-quarter to half, while positing Russia has in the past originated as much as a third of the metal palladium. Potential shortages of both materials has raised concern in an industry already struggling to meet demand. Continue reading Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

South Korea a Case Study in 5G Deployment for Businesses

Businesses curious as to how 5G may impact operations would do well to look to South Korea, where as of November, 5G subscriptions reached 28 percent or about 20.19 million of total mobile subscriptions, according to RCR Wireless. The country not only has a substantial 5G base, but some of the fastest. Autonomous vehicles are already relying on 5G there, as are smart factories, and the proclivity consumers have shown for new technologies prompts experts to conclude the nation may lead the way in areas such as augmented reality, virtual reality and the metaverse. Continue reading South Korea a Case Study in 5G Deployment for Businesses

HTC Adds Vive Guardian to Protect Kids in Volatile Metaverse

Taiwanese electronics company HTC has introduced a new Vive Guardian feature for its popular VR headset, the HTC Vive. The safeguard is designed to limit access to apps while children are cavorting in the metaverse, and experts say it’s a much needed step in an environment that thus far lacks kid profiles and parental safety settings. HTC, Meta Platforms and others suggest VR be used only by those over the age of 13, but at this point, it’s only a recommendation, and calls are already amplifying to put child safety measures in place. Continue reading HTC Adds Vive Guardian to Protect Kids in Volatile Metaverse