Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 343, April 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


SEMICONDUCTORS

Shipments of flash memories have started from FUJITSU-AMD SEMICONDUCTOR LTD.'s second wafer fabrication facility in Aizu- Wakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture. At full capacity, the factory will be able to produce approximately 6,500 8-inch wafers a week. Currently, it is turning out 16-megabit flash devices using 0.35-micron processing. By the end of 1998, FASL plans to ship the first sub-0.25-micron flash devices. Since launching the joint venture in April 1993, equal partners ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. have invested more than $2 billion in plant and equipment.

In what may become a trend, CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. purchased for an undisclosed price an IC design shop — EXCELLENT DESIGN, INC. — from its sales and support channel, INNOTECH CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, pp. 18-19). About 50 chip designers from EXD will reinforce the existing services operations of the San Jose, California firm's worldwide Cadence Design Factory Network, focusing on system-on-a-chip projects and ASICs. EXD had revenues of $12 million in 1997. Japan represents one-fourth of Cadence's total revenues. It is the world's top supplier of electronic design automation software.

With Japan sales generating roughly one-fourth of its revenues, SYNOPSYS, INC. has decided that the time has come to open a local design center. To be located in Okinawa prefecture, the center will open in October 1999 with a staff of 15. They will work on chips for multimedia-related and information/communications systems. The Mountain View, California company's main business is EDA software (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 25).

The latest Japanese licensees of RAMBUS INC.'s high-bandwidth semiconductor interface technology are MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. and its MATSUSHITA ELECTRONICS CORP. subsidiary. Their licenses cover both logic and DRAM products. The Mountain View, California firm's interface technology now is used mainly for speeding data transmission between chips in computers, telecommunications equipment and video game consoles. The Matsushita Group companies plan to apply it to semiconductors for consumer products as well as other applications. Initially, they will manufacture image signal processing chipsets for use in consumer electronics. By March 2000, however, Direct Rambus DRAMs are expected to be available.

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s subsidiary is shipping a bridge link controller IC that supports the IEEE 1394 standard for high-speed digital transmission. The part, which is at the core of a chipset linking memory devices and PCs, transmits a world-record 400 megabits of data per second. That performance was achieved by combining a controller IC, a transceiver and a flash memory-embedded digital signal processor chip.

In a worldwide release, INTEL CORP. announced the i960 JT processor, a higher-performance version of the popular i960 Jx series of 32-bit RISC chips for embedded applications. Priced at about $43 in quantity, the i960 JT processor offers up to a 100-MHz performance in addition to increased on-chip cache. It is available in a new miniplastic ball grid array package.

The newest and densest member of ALTERA CORP.'s FLEX 6000 family of programmable logic devices is the EPF6024A. It offers 1,960 logic elements, 24,000 programmable gates and 0.35-micron, triple-layer metal static RAM process technology for 3.3-volt operation. In quantities of 1,000, the part is priced at $29.45. The San Jose, California company says that the price per logic element of the EPF6024A makes it the most cost- effective gate array replacement.

Beginning this summer, the subsidiary of LSI LOGIC CORP. will start taking orders for chips incorporating the company's new G12 system-on-a-chip technology. By offering a total of 26 million usable logic gates, or 65,000 per square millimeter, the G12 technology is expected to lead to new classes of communications and consumer products. Initial production of G12 parts will start in the second quarter of 1999.

More of the 400 or so people who work for LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC.'s subsidiary will be assigned to market chips for mobile phones. A recently developed voice compression/decompression chip for CDMA cellular phones is the initial focus of this effort. The device integrates voice compression/decompression with digital signal processing and 72 kilobytes of read-only memory — double what has been available up to now. It also performs 100 million instructions per second, a record speed for mobile phone applications. The part is sample-priced at $50.

Samples of what developer TERALOGIC, INC. describes as the first low- cost, high-performance graphics and video processing IC for digital television set-top boxes and receivers are available through MARUBUN CORP. Priced at $10 per part in volume, the TL750 should facilitate the development of affordable, international standards-compliant DTV products capable of displaying graphics-rich data services and attractive user interfaces on analog or digital TV monitors. To lower development costs and shorten time to market for manufacturers, Mountain View, California-based TeraLogic came up with a complete software development platform called Puma that incorporates the TL750 with widely available components.

A development tie-up between PC-TEL INC. and YAMAHA CORP. has yielded an IC that combines the Milpitas, California company's Host Signal Processing Modem technology and its 56-kilobit-per-second data/fax modem functionality with the Japanese firm's digital audio expertise. The part, the partners say, will enable OEMs to build affordable PCs with rich sound quality and an advanced telecommunications capability. The chip utilizes the PCI bus for fast, efficient transmission of audio and modem data. Yamaha will start sampling its new digital audio chip in 1998's third quarter, with volume production scheduled for the end of the year.

A low-cost, low-power, complete two-axis accelerator with a digital output on a single monolithic IC chip is available from ANALOG DEVICES, INC.'s subsidiary for $9.95 in quantities of 10,000 units. The ADXL202, the first 3-volt integrated accelerometer, is designed for a variety of applications that need to measure gravity (tilt), vibration, shock and motion.

As part of a worldwide release, KLA-TENCOR CORP. introduced the ILM- 2230 laser-imaging, patterned wafer inspection system for production line monitoring. It is the first system to combine oblique angle dark-field illumination with the San Jose, California company's small-pixel, high data-rate image processing. This combination enables the ILM-2230 to capture a wide range of yield-critical defect types on 0.25-micron and smaller-geometry devices, including high-density DRAMs. It also is optimized for advanced interconnect process inspection applications, including chemical mechanical planarization. KLA-Tencor's subsidiary has priced the system at $3.1 million. It is projecting first-year sales of 10 units.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has priced the latest addition to the HP 94000 family of mixed-signal testers, the Model 160XL, at $372,100. That marks a new level in cost-effectiveness for testing devices that constantly are becoming faster and more complex. For this and other reasons, the company expects to sell 30 systems.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.
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