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

No. 348, September 1998

Issue Index

Japanese Companies in the US


SEMICONDUCTORS

A Pentium II processor with a clock speed of 450 MHz is now shipping from INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary. Priced at $675 each in quantities of 1,000, it is the fastest engine available for high-end corporate desktop machines, PC servers and PC workstations. Several computer makers, both Japanese and American, simultaneously announced new products incorporating the 450-MHz Pentium II chip. .....INTEL CORP. also released locally 300-MHz and 333-MHz versions of its low-cost Celeron processor. They list at $150 and $190, respectively, again in lots of 1,000 units. Both parts include a performance-enhancing secondary cache memory.

For a fee of $2.5 million, GATEFIELD CORP. licensed ROHM CO., LTD. to design, manufacture and market on a nonexclusive worldwide basis a broader range of the Fremont, California company's field programmable gate arrays. GateField's ProASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) family of nonvolatile reprogrammable products increasingly is used in embedded applications. Kyoto-based Rohm currently makes the ProASIC line using its own flash memory, but it is limited to parts with densities of less than 10,000 gates. In exchange for greater design and production flexibility, Rohm gave GateField reseller rights to standard ProASIC products that it develops.

The largest programmable logic device commercially available today has been released in Japan. ALTERA CORP.'s EPF10K250A device has 250,000 gates. Like other members of the Altera FLEX 10K family, the San Jose, California manufacturer claims that the new part offers more density and performance in smaller die sizes and at lower prices than high-density FPGAs.

TELECRUZ TECHNOLOGY, INC., a San Jose, California start-up that designs and manufactures customizable ICs for the interactive television market, formed a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo. The new company, which plans to open a technology development center, is working on forging alliances with local consumer electronics suppliers. For now at least, TeleCruz has outsourced production of its TC701 single-chip controller for interactive TVs to TOSHIBA CORP. This summer, the venture capital arm of FUJI BANK, LTD. and two big U.S. venture capital funds provided $8.7 million to TeleCruz in a second round of financing.

Chipsets optimized for Japan's next generation of CDMA (code-division multiple access) digital cellular handsets will result from a two-year extension of an agreement between QUALCOMM INC. and ASAHI KASEI MICROSYSTEMS CO., LTD. The prospective part combines three new chips from the San Diego, California CDMA developer with an AKM device that includes a phase-locked loop plus audio interface and voice coder/decoder. The chipset will enable the design of very small handsets. AKM is a wholly owned ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. company.

Consumer electronics manufacturer ORION ELECTRONIC CO., LTD. designed into its new line of home DVD players the OTI-226 DVD decoder chip from OAK TECHNOLOGY, INC. The capabilities of the Sunnyvale, California supplier's part help the Orion DVD player deliver a theater-like experience at home, including Dolby digital sound, for both movie viewing and karaoke applications.

The flurry of product releases continues from NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR CORP.'s subsidiary. It has added to its line the LM2678, a high-current, high-performance step-down voltage regulator for desktop computers. The device converts power supplies ranging anywhere from 6.5 volts to 40 volts into 3.3, 5 or 12 volts with a conversion efficiency of more than 90 percent. The new LM385M3 device extends National Semiconductor's voltage reference portfolio down to the very low current range of 10 microamps to 20 microamps at 1.2 volts or 2.5 volts, respectively. These abilities plus a small package size make the device suitable for such portable applications as cell phones, personal digital assistants, laptops and portable instrumentation.

NANOMETRICS, INC., a supplier of automated IC metrology equipment, signed INNOTECH CORP. to distribute its products. The Yokohama company has exclusive rights to sell, maintain and provide applications support for the Sunnyvale, California maker's Metra overlay registration and critical dimension measurement system. For the NanoSpec 8000 Series film analyzer, Innotech will share distribution responsibility with Nanometrics' subsidiary. The NanoSpec 8000 monitors and measures the thickness and the compositional quality of the films applied or grown on wafer substrates. The Metra monitors and measures the dimensions of the features generated on these films and determines their position relative to underlying features. In the period through March 1999, Innotech expect sales of Nanometrics' products to total $6.9 million.

An exchange rate of ¥145=$1.00 was used in this report.
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