By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk
The start of the slowdown in the semiconductor market was of course the main interest for September. Analyst Malcolm Penn of Future Horizons was very clear in his forecasts for a sharp decline in 2022 and a fall in the market in 2023. This will be as significant as the fall in the market after the Internet boom in 2000, but will of course be patchy.
The softening in the consumer market is already happening, as the latest foundry data from Trendforce shows, and the key Chinese market contracts. Other areas such as automotive and industrial automation are set to continue to grow, albeit more slowly. And of course this is a good time for semiconductor startups and chip designers to take advantage of the recovery when it comes. Others though, such as Graphcore, are already having to cut back.Graphcore set to cut jobs
All of this does not particularly impact on the long term predictions of the semiconductor market, which will is still forecast to reach $1tn, but perhaps by 2032 rather than 2030.
The falling out of two long term partners was also of particular interest. ARM and Qualcomm have had a mutually beneficial partnership for a decade, with the later taking several architectural licenses to the ARM technology. That fell apart when Qualcomm bought high performance ARM chip designer Nuvia and took over Nivia’s license. ARM objected to this, and discussions could not resolve the dispute, which is now heading to court.
ARM has also been working on new types of AI technology. With IBM, it has developed an analog in memory computing architecture.
RISC-V continues to capture the imagination of the industry, with designs from an AI chip with 1400 cores to an eight space processor where the designers can select legacy LEON SPARC or new RISC-V cores. We have also seen the first RISC-V chip optimised for motor control, and plans for a RISC-V chip optimised for the latest version of the Robot Operating System (ROS2).
We also highlighted the European technology in Intel’s RISC-V Pathfinder development kit, and flagged SiFive’s RISC-V roadmap for automotive chips.
We also look forward to the announcement of Intel’s European chiplet plant to be built in the Verona region of Italy, with support from the Italian government and the EU Chips Act.
And developers have been enjoying the formal launch of the Arduino’s latest integrated development environment, IDE2.0.
We are also saying goodbye to two well established chip brand names in the industry. Pentium, introduced in 1993 to provide trademark protection that the 80486 could not, is to be phased out next year alongside the Celeron brand, cruelly nicknamed Deceleron.