Low-resistance Alumina Ceramic Package for Mobile ICs by Kyocera


Kyocera Corp. has announced development of a low-resistance alumina-based technology from multi-layer chip packages that combines the advantages of low-temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) and alumina ceramics for next-generation mobile systems applications.  According to Kyocera, its new package has the advantage of a copper-type conductor, which provides low resistance and supports high-frequency ICs. The new chip package also provides the traditional advantages of alumina ceramic package, including a high level of mechanical strength and heat dissipation.  The product is the first low-resistance alumina ceramic multi-layer package to provide higher levels of support for multi-function; high frequency chips in communications systems.

FCC Delays One 700-MHz Auction, OKs Another


The Federal Communications Commission is delaying auctions of upper-band 700-MHz broadcast spectrum until next January. However, the agency also decided to proceed with a lower 700-MHz band auction of channels 52-59 scheduled to begin on June 19.  Both bands are occupied by analog TV broadcasters who have until 2006 to vacate the channels as part of the digital TV transition.  The delay of some spectrum auctions until Jan. 14, 2003 — a move sought by the wireless industry — gives Congress more time to work out the timing of the auctions, and gives wireless companies more time to raise funds for them, FCC officials said. The auction has already been delayed several times.

Agere Debuts USB 2.0 Chip


Agere Systems Inc. has introduced a USB 2.0 chip that allows high-speed data connections between PCs and several PC peripheral devices, including hard disk drives, digital video cameras and scanners.  The USS2X1 chip also gives peripheral manufacturers the flexibility to design and develop digital-only ASICs for their peripherals without needing to spend the time and incurring the risks of integrating a complex analog function on the same chip, the company said.  The chip allows for up to 480Mbits/sec. of data transmission through USB connections, the company said.  This is up to 40 times faster than 12Mbits/sec USB 1.1 devices.  The USS2X1 also adheres to the USB 2.0 Transceiver Macrocell Interface (UTMI) specification, which provides a standardized interface for USB transceivers to customer-designed ASICs.

Samsung Debuts 90 nm Process Technology


Samsung Semiconductor Inc, a U.S. subsidiary of Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., has introduced its 90nm logic process technology for SOC designs.  According to the International Technology Roadmap of Semiconductors (ITRS), 90nm process technology is expected to be commercialized in 2004.  Samsung said it would initially use the 90nm technology for mobile phone CPUs and SOC devices.  It also plans to establish its 90nm process portfolio with high-speed, low-voltage, memory-embedded and mixed signal RF features by 2003.  Mass production for 90nm process technology is scheduled for 2004.


Using the 90nm technology, SOC speed is enhanced 30 percent compared to current 0.13-micron technology, Samsung said.  The integration of a 1.25-square micron SRAM cell improves memory density and reduces the chip area by 50 percent, Samsung said. The smaller chip size also reduces manufacturing costs.

Agere Rolls Soft Modem Chipsets


Agere Systems Inc. has announced two next-generation soft modem chipsets, offering a 50 percent reduction in circuit board size and components.  The company explained that a soft modem reduces silicon cost by running the signal processing algorithms on the host central processing unit rather than on a separate DSP chip.  The chipsets were made possible with silicon data access arrangement (silicon DAA) technology from Silicon Laboratories Inc.  The technology integrates codec functionality and a safe barrier between a modem and a phone line, without the use of bulky components, such as a transformer.


The new chipsets reduce component count and cost, for both the PCI interface for desktop PCs, and the mobile daughter card (MDC) interface for notebook PCs, the company said.  The chips are small enough to allow single-sided MDC modem cards by fitting all components on one side of the circuit board.  This reduces size and manufacturing costs.  The chipsets boast V.92/V.44 56 kilobits per second modem data rates.  The company said modem functionality could be squeezed into less than a square inch, smaller than half the area of an MDC card.  This would leave room to add other functions, such as 802.11 wireless LAN, Bluetooth, wired LAN or GPRS.

Via Releases P4 Chipset with 533 MHz Bus Support


Via Technologies Inc. today introduced the Apollo P4X266E chipset, which supports the latest Intel Pentium 4 processors and has a 533MHz front side bus.  The chipset improves on the company’s Apollo P4X266A chipset, and offers what the company argues is the world’s fastest DDR memory controller from Performance Driven Design.  With a choice of 400MHz and 533MHz front side bus settings, the latest chipset supports several P4 processors, Via said, including up to and beyond 2.53GHz, as well as the new 478-pin Intel Celeron processor.

Jabil Acquires Lucent’s Shanghai Facility


Contract manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc. has agreed to acquire most of the assets and business of Lucent Technologies of Shanghai Ltd. (LTOS).  The deal includes LTOS’ 325,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Shanghai, which houses high-mix manufacturing, specializing in design of electrical, mechanical, CAD and software, circuit board assembly and integration and testing of complete systems.  Financial details were not disclosed.  LTOS is a joint venture among Lucent Technologies (China) Co., Ltd., Shanghai Optical Communications Development Co., Ltd., Shanghai Posts & Telecommunications Equipment Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Jiu Shi Corp.  The acquisition is still subject to several customary conditions, including government approvals and approval from shareholders of Shanghai Posts.  Jabil said it would continue to manufacture optical switching and other communications infrastructure products for Lucent Technologies Inc. under a three-year supply agreement.

Graphics Card Makers to Support AMD MPUs


Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) said that several graphics card makers including 3DLabs Inc., ATI Technologies Inc., Matrox Graphics Inc. and Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. are planning to develop cards that support the chipmaker’s upcoming Opteron and eighth-generation Athlon processors.  Announced in April, AMD’s Hammer line of processors will compete against Intel Corp.’s Xeon and Itanium processors.  With AGP-8X, HyperTransport and x86-64 technologies, AMD plans to use open, industry standards to advance graphics technology in both 32-bit and 64-bit environments.

IBM Claims Carbon Nanotubes Outperform Silicon Transistors


IBM researchers claim to have produced the highest performing nanotube transistors, outperforming the leading silicon transistor prototypes available.  IBM Corp. said that it has created the world’s highest performing nanotubes transistors.  The company claims this breakthrough has proven that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can outperform the leading silicon transistor prototypes currently available.  CNTs are tube-shaped molecules made of carbon atoms and are 50,000 times thinner than a human hair.  The researchers' findings appeared today in the May 20 issue of Applied Physics Letters.  By experimenting with different device structures, the researchers said they were able to achieve the highest transconductance (measure of the current carrying capability) of any carbon nanotube transistor to date.  An increased transconductance implies that transistors can run faster, which would lead to more powerful ICs.  The IBM scientists were able to build single-wall carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNFETs) in a structure resembling a conventional MOSFET structure, with gate electrodes above the conduction channel separated from the channel by a thin dielectric.  This allowed them to compare CNTs with silicon transistors.  The researchers said the nanotube devices outperformed the prototype silicon transistor despite not being optimized.

CompactFlash Card Links PDAs To Cell Phones


Socket Communications has introduced an enhanced Bluetooth 1.1 compliant Connection Kit for Pocket PCs that has been designed to create a cable-free link between a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and a Pocket PC or any other device running Windows CE.  The resulting CompactFlash Bluetooth card, claims the company, will enable PDA users to exchange email, browse the Internet, send a fax, or access a corporate network by transforming their mobile phones into wireless modems.  Featuring a fully integrated antenna, Socket's Bluetooth Connection Kit is designed to support connections to mobile phones from Ericsson, Motorola, NTT DoComo, and Sony, and it works on GSM/GPRS, CDMA, PHS and cdmaONE networks.  According to the company, the serial printing application provides desktop printing functionality while enabling users to print from a Bluetooth-enabled printer.  The Kit can also enable network access through a LAN Access point.  In addition, the offering features the ability to ActiveSync with a Bluetooth-enabled desktop or notebook.

Multilink Technology Introduces New SONET Technology


Multilink Technology Corp. has introduced technology designed to provide intelligent data transport over synchronous optical network/synchronous digital hierarchy (SONET/SDH) systems.  The company described the technology, dubbed Intelligent Edge, as combining the flexibility of datacom with the resiliency of SONET/SDH.  Multilink said it expects to announce its first products using the new technology within the next few weeks.  The products will be designed to increase efficiency in metro networks.  Multilink said it sees the metro-networking space evolving with SONET/SDH equipment having more datacom capabilities, including layer 2 and layer 3 intelligence and data-oriented client over subscription, and datacom equipment finding ways to better utilize the existing SONET/SDH rings.

Equator Technology Pushes MPEG-4 to Security, Surveillance Markets 


Equator Technologies has announced new partnership agreements with Reality Commerce and DynaPel Systems under which the MPEG-4 encoding capabilities of the two firms will be integrated with Equator's MAP-CA and BSP-15 processors.  The first agreement governs Reality Commerce's 4CIF real-time MPEG-4 encoding technology for the security and surveillance markets, while Equator's agreement with DynaPel Systems has resulted in the production of a new MPEG-4 codec for advanced security CCTV applications.

Fujitsu Develops Eight-Stacked MCP


Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe said that it is the first to create an ultra-high density multi-chip package (MCP) that can support up to eight chips.  The company said advances in its thin chip processing and multi-stacked package technology permit chips to be polished down to a thickness of 0.025mm.  The company’s MCP technology allows for the stacking of boards mounted with chips using lead-free solder balls.  The packages will be used in mobile phones, digital audio/video equipment, IC cards and compact hard disk drives.

Lattice Offers 340 MHz CPLDs at 1.8, 2.5 and 3.3 V


Lattice Semiconductor Corp. has just introduced a 3.3V version of its ispMACH 4000V complex programmable logic device (CPLD) family.  The first ispMACH 4000 devices were introduced last year supporting speeds up to 380MHz and 2.5ns pin-to-pin logic delay.  To reach such speeds, Lattice said it has jumped a process step, moving directly from 0.35 to 0.18 micron.  In addition to releasing all densities of the ispMACH 4000V family, the company also released the final members of its 2.5V and 1.8V ispMACH 4000B and ispMACH 4000C families.  It is now in volume production with 32-, 64-, 128-, 256-, 384- and 512-macrocell versions of all three families.

Chinese Handset Manufacturers Select Conexant's CDMA Power Amplifier Modules


Conexant Systems has announced multiple design-wins in China for its code division multiple access (CDMA) power amplifier modules (PAMs).  These design-wins represent 70% of the manufacturers approved by the Chinese government.  They will be operating on the China United Communications Corp.'s (China Unicom) recently launched nationwide CDMA cellular network.  The network is expected to support about 15 million subscribers by the end of 2002, growing to 50 million subscribers by 2005.