Category Archives: Components

assemblies, flash, rom, eprom, dimm, sram, dram, removable media, hard drives, other components

Renesas, Sharp, Powerchip Form Joint Venture

Renesas Technology Corp., Sharp Corporation, and Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. have established a joint venture that specializes in drivers and controllers for small- and mid-size LCDs. Consolidating the business operations of Renesas Technology and Sharp in this field, the new company will engage in the design, development, sales, and marketing of LCD drivers and controllers. Business operations related to these products will be transferred to the new company starting April 2008 for Renesas Technology, and by the end of fiscal 2008 for Sharp. The new company started full operations on April 1, 2008.

In recent years, the market for LCD panels has grown exponentially, due to the growing popularity of LCD TVs, mobile phones with higher quality displays, and the use of LCDs in products such as car navigation systems and game consoles. A market study predicts near two-digit growth for the worldwide market. The market growth for small- and mid-size LCDs is expected to be especially strong because of the emergence of mobile phones. More mobile phones are required to support sophisticated multimedia capabilities such as built-in digital cameras and reception of TV programs to enable the mobile phones’ advanced functionality and higher picture quality standard. In addition, the demand for mobile phones is also accelerating in emerging markets such as the BRICs economies, notably China and India. As these conditions generate heavy demand for integration of driver and controller functions for small- and mid-size LCDs, market competition is expected to become increasingly fierce due to intensifying price competition and the emergence of fabless manufacturers overseas.

To respond to such growing competition, the three companies have agreed to establish a joint venture in order to realize improved cost competitiveness, increased design capabilities, more attractive products, and expanded sales. The new company is a fabless semiconductor manufacturer focusing on design, development, sales, and marketing. Powerchip Semiconductor, one of the investors in the new company, will handle most of the actual production, using its ultrafine process technology and production cost competitiveness. By maximizing its strengths as a fabless semiconductor manufacturer, the new company will strive to achieve stable growth in the field of drivers and controllers for small- and mid-size LCDs.

More info: Renesas Technology | Sharp | Powerchip Semiconductor

STMicroelectronics STLC2690 Bluetooth and FM Radio Transceiver SoC

STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) recently introduced its 4th-generation Bluetooth®/FM Radio combo solution, which meets the demanding integration and cost requirements of the cellular phone market. By combining Bluetooth wireless personal-area-network functionality with an FM radio transceiver in a single 65nm chip, the STLC2690 offers leading-edge integration and performance. The new chip from is manufactured in ST’s low-leakage ultra-low-power 65nm RFCMOS technology. STLC2690 samples are already being evaluated by several leading handset manufacturers and volume mass production is scheduled for the second half of 2008.

STMicroelectronics STLC2690 Bluetooth and FM-Radio Transceiver Block Diagram

The combo solution saves space and costs for manufacturers of portable products, while delivering to consumers stereo FM R(B)DS reception (RX) direct to their Bluetooth headsets. The fully integrated short range FM R(B)DS transmitter (TX) allows users to enjoy stored music content on any in-car or home FM radio tuner and delivers increased versatility to the mobile device.

The STLC2690 is compliant with BT v2.1+EDR and further increases the field-proven class-1.5 Bluetooth output power, requiring only one supply voltage and without any calibration in production. The Bluetooth link stability is dramatically increased by also further improving the Bluetooth receiver sensitivity, while reducing the best-in-class current consumption by up to 35% compared to former generation products in 130nm technology.

The integrated FM receiver sets a new world standard for receiver sensitivity and with real-time programmable filters for optimum search and sensitivity stability, the STLC2690 can also be used with integrated FM antennas. The device supports all deployed R(B)DS services and all worldwide FM bands (65 to 108MHz).

The short-range FM transmitter is specifically designed for use in mobile phones that also take advantage of the presence of a FM receiver. Proprietary SureTune(tm) technology automatically selects the optimal FM transmit frequency, while the programmable high output power allows stable operation even when using integrated antennas with poor efficiency. The STLC2690 delivers a stable and user-friendly FM transmission implementation with real enhancement of the user experience in mobile applications.

The new STLC2690 comes in a Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WLCSP) with a 0.4mm pitch. Its ultra-low external BOM count allows a PCB footprint as small as 36mm2. The pin-out arrangement of the STLC2690 is also suitable for use on low-cost PCB assemblies.

More info: STMicroelectronics Bluetooth ICs and Modules

MagnaChip MC515ER High Definition CMOS Image Sensor

The MC515ER, from MagnaChip Semiconductor Ltd., is high-definition (HD) ready raw bayer output CMOS image sensor. The MC515ER is a 1.3 megapixel SXGA (1280×1024) resolution raw Bayer output image sensor leveraging an advanced low noise pixel process implemented in MagnaChip’s 0.13um CIS process technology. The high quantum efficiency and low read noise enable a Signal to Noise ratio (SNR) that is over 15 dB better than the performance available for typical sensors in the market today. Packaged samples are available. The MC515ER will be in mass production in the first half of 2008. MagnaChip has a complete suite of demonstration systems and reference designs to support end product development.

The MC515ER supports an ITU-R BT.656 parallel video interface with MagnaChip’s specialized low EMI technology. The device also supports a SMIA compatible CCP2 video interface. The device is programmable through a two-wire camera control interface (CCI) and supports on-chip frequency synthesizer, on-chip horizontal and vertical digital binning and automatic black level calibration. The MC515ER goes beyond standard Bayer RGB devices by offering on chip pixel correction and advanced de-noising. These sophisticated signal processing blocks enhance image sensor performance and ease system integration. The MC515ER requires minimal external components and is optimized for low power consumption. The device can operate from a single 2.8V power supply or a dual 2.8 and 1.8V. A wide range of voltages are supported for digital I/O.

The 30 frames per second (fps) operation combined with very high SNR performance is well-suited for PC cameras, HD video capture devices, and performance oriented surveillance applications. As the image quality requirements for the handset camera phone market continue to increase, OEMs can use this product to reduce motion artifacts, increase operating scene range, and improve overall perceived picture quality.

More info: MagnaChip Semiconductor

Newark Offers 10% Discount on Electronics Parts

Newark, an electronics distributor, is offering an introductory 10% web discount on many of its newly introduced products through March 31, 2008. The promo is part of Newark’s launch of their dedicated new products portal. The portal, which will be updated weekly, will feature newly added products, new suppliers, and new-to-market innovations. A detailed description plus quick links for a datasheet, pricing and availability are provided for each product.

Promotion includes:

  • Lambda’s PFE Series AC-DC power modules
  • TI’s XIO2000A PCI Express to PCI translation bridge
  • Analog Devices’ ADUC7128BCPZ126 microcontroller
  • Omron’s D6F-W MEMS-based sensors
  • Linear Technology’s LTM4600 DC/DC step-down power supply
  • Freescale’s 1321XDSK-BDM Zigbee development tool
  • Linear Technology’s LTC6102 current sense amplifier
  • TI’s TPS62260DDCT/TPS62290DRVT step-down DC/DC converters
  • Bourns’ PWR analog power resistors
  • Elesta’s SIF series 4 to 6-pole relays

More info: Newark

Ambarella A390 HD System on a Chip

The A390, from Ambarella Inc., is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) that simultaneously captures 8 Mpixels still pictures while generating and compressing high-definition (HD) video in either 1080p60 or 1080i60 formats. The device stores still images in either RAW or compressed formats, implementing the JPEG standard at a rate of one picture per second without interrupting full HD-video recording. Working at a data capture rate as fast as 480 Mpixels-per-second, the A390′s speed exceeds 60 frames-per-second at 8 Mpixels. The A390 SoC is the third member in the A3 SoC platform series targeted at hybrid cameras and supports the emerging H.264 AVC video standard. The Ambarella A390 SOC is designed for hybrid cameras. The A3 platform is available in multiple configurations for various requirements. Evaluation kits for both products are available now.

Full Sensor Resolution Video Capture
The A390 captures data as fast as 480 Mpixels/s, which is a rate in excess of 60 frames per second at 8 Mpixels. As is common in digital still cameras (DSC) and in most HD camcorders, a single color filter array sensor (Bayer RGB) generates red, green and blue (RGB) primary colors. The A390 converts data from Bayer pattern to RGB (called de-mosaicing) at a very high rate, resulting in a virtually artifact-free and full-resolution video signal. This kind of processing is more accurate in terms of clean edges with no Bayer artifacts than the simple binning combination of adjacent pixels commonly used in many camcorders. The A390 yields a higher-resolution output than the extrapolative techniques used with three sensors (3 CCD).

HD Hybrid Camera SoC and Progressive Video
The A390 HD chip enables the development of full high-resolution cameras at the highest-image quality with smooth 60 frames/second video and simultaneous recording of high resolution stills. Ambarella’s A390 integrates an H.264 codec capable of encoding full 1080p60 at 1920 pixels per line resolution – 124,416,000 pixels per second. The programmability of the Ambarella platform enables implementation of multiple formats for HD video, such as the AVCHD specification for 1080i HD camcorders, as well as many formats commonly used on personal computing platforms.

JPEG and Loss-less RAW compression
The A390 integrates an advanced high-performance image-processing pipeline, still image compression using both loss-less (RAW) and loss-y (JPEG) formats, audio compression and all key system functions.

Motion Compensated 3D Noise Reduction
Depending on the amount of light available, imaging sensors can have a substantial amount of noise, and filtering this noise is critical for producing high-quality images. The challenge of a full-resolution HD camcorder is to reduce the noise without causing a loss of resolution or a loss of detail, so advanced spatio-temporal (3D) filters must be used. Most available solutions are motion adaptive and switch from a predominantly temporal to a predominantly spatial filter based on detecting the presence of motion. Because Ambarella’s A390 SoC is motion compensated instead of just motion adaptive, it truly tracks the motion and uses motion compensation in the filter.

3D Image Registration
The high capture rate of the A390 – as high as 480 Mpixels/sec – allows a new approach to low-light photography. Instead of capturing a single image in low light with a long exposure that results in a blurry picture, the A390 captures image sequences with short exposures. This approach combines, or registers, multiple images within the sequence to create a sharp, low-noise picture. This is the still-image equivalent of motion compensated 3D noise reduction.

More info: Ambarella

World’s Fastest Embedded DRAM

Toshiba Corporation has createded the world’s fastest circuit technology for embedded DRAM for System LSI, achieving a speed of 833MHz at 32Mb density. The technology will be applied to graphic processing LSI. Toshiba plans to apply this technology to its leading edge 65nm system LSI process, and to meet market demand for advanced graphic applications through the early launch of SoC integrating the new embedded DRAM.

To realize high speed operation, Toshiba applied a “pseudo two port system,” a technology that virtually divides the overall memory into two and then reads and writes data in parallel and alternately. By replacing conventional serial read and write system with the new parallel technology, and optimizing such circuits as the command structure, Toshiba achieved the world’s highest level of embedded DRAM performance ad 32Mb, a density actually applicable to products.

Embedded DRAM are applied to systems on chips for graphic application, as they can read larger data amounts at higher speeds than external memory. As video images achieve higher levels of definition, higher processing speeds of larger densities are required. System LSI with embedded DRAM memory will find application in next generation high-end digital consumer products, game applications, mobile phones, projectors and other image-related applications that require high speed transfer of large volumes of data.

More information: Toshiba

High Speed NAND Flash Memory

Intel Corporation and Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE:MU) developed high speed NAND flash memory technology that can greatly enhance the access and transfer of data in devices that use silicon for storage. The new technology – developed jointly by Intel and Micron and manufactured by the companies’ NAND flash joint venture, IM Flash Technologies (IMFT) – is five times faster than conventional NAND, allowing data to be transferred in a fraction of the time for computing, video, photography and other consumer applications.

The new high speed NAND can reach speeds up to 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) for reading data and 100 MB/s for writing data, achieved by leveraging the new ONFI 2.0 specification and a four-plane architecture with higher clock speeds. In comparison, conventional single level cell NAND is limited to 40 MB/s for reading data and less than 20 MB/s for writing data.

Micron is currently working with key enablers and partners to build and optimize corresponding system technologies that can take advantage of the new high speed NAND’s improved performance capabilities. At up to five times the performance over conventional NAND, the high speed NAND from Intel and Micron will enable new embedded solutions and removable solutions that can take advantage of high-performance system interfaces, including PCIe and upcoming standards such as USB 3.0.

Intel | Micron High Speed NAND Flash Memory

Smart Mobile Luminance Control Algorithm

MagnaChip Semiconductor Ltd. has developed technology for Smart Mobile Luminance Control (SMLC), which is a low power consuming backlight control algorithm for LCD driver chips. The SMLC algorithm can reduce the luminance of LCD backlights by up to 50% through the analysis of the image data in LCD driver chips and the related adjustment of power consumption rates in the LED drivers. At the same time, the SMLC algorithm optimizes the luminance of the display by minimizing image distortion through an adaptive image signal processor in LCD driver chips.

Continue reading

Power Over eSATA Initiative

Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) recently announced the Power Over eSATA initiative. SATA-IO has begun work on a new specification that will provide power to external SATA (eSATA) devices without the need for a separate power connection. Enhancing eSATA with power delivery will provide a new level of convenience to the designer and the end user. Led by the organization’s Cable and Connector group, the specification is targeted for completion in the second half of 2008.

Continue reading

OKI’s Wafer Level Chip Sized Package Service

Oki Electric Industry recently started a contract assembly service for W-CSP (Wafer level Chip Sized Package) semiconductors using through-hole technology. With this new service, sensor and camera module manufacturers can now obtain camera modules that are half the size of conventional modules. Oki plans to increase the production level to 10,000 wafers per month within the fiscal year ending March 2009 and are considering increasing up to 20,000 wafers per month by the fiscal year ending March 2010.

In order to miniaturize a camera module, it is necessary to miniaturize the image sensor in the camera module. OKI’s new W-CSP technology includes creating a through-hole in the silicon substrate such as an image sensor, and putting an electrode through the hole. By using this technology on the image sensor, users can eliminate wire bonding for camera modules and thus, reduce the size. OKI also adopts a low-profile cover glass on the image sensor, enabling manufacturers to make a module thinner than conventional ones.

More info: Oki Electric Industry