Day 2 of the SEMI Technology Week focused on materials. Rolf Aschenbrenner, Fraunhofer IZM, presented on heterogenous integration as the key enabler for electronic systems.
There has been a diversification of semiconductor products. There is no single leading driver. Instead, we have had a fragmented growing market. Diversification has been in terms of IoT infrastructure with connectivity and data processing as the backbone, IoT, AR/VR, AI, automotive, 5G connectivity, and servers/data centers. There is growth of high-performance computing, edge computing, and embedded IoT computing, using smart sensors, localized networks, etc. There is the heterogenous integration platform for doing all of this.
Heterogenous integration refers to the assembly and packaging of multiple separately manufactured components into a higher-level assembly that, in the aggregate, provide enhanced functions and improved operating characteristics. Higher-level assembly includes homogenously integrated SoCs, SiPs, or MCMs. This involves system design, algorithms, and software.
The packaging toolbox provides the characteristics for the different use cases. The toolbox has functions for interconnecting, materials, architecture, etc. For the SiP packaging toolbox, there are the new embedded technology that interconnect via electroplating. Thin active chips are embedded into the di-electric layers. Passive components are also embedded with the chips, as are SMD components.
Challenges include the remaining di-electric thickness has been decreasing, as are the multi-material challenges. Multiple additional functions also emerge for SiP packaging toolbox. Cost is an important issue, as are customer requirements, testing, assembly, co-design, and standardization. It is important to remember that all package materials will continue to change over the next 10 years.
Compact SiP requires material knowhow, along with understanding failure. There are also plating challenges, thermal and mechanical issues, corrosion, electrical, and new semiconductor materials, such as SiC, GaN, and new Ga2O3.
Heterogenous integration drives the interconnect density. We have developed a consortium to understand the challenges of panel-level packaging. These include Amkor, Dupont, AT&S, Hitachi Chemical, Ajinomoto, Evatec, ASM, RENA, etc. Warpage and die-shift control provide process understanding that enables high-precision RDL layers (or, dielectric layers).
Friends, I stumbled upon this post recently! Actually, it was an interview that I had done sometime back in 2011, with the Famous Bloggers’ Club.
Some of my old friends from the past may remember this. Nearly everyone had predicted some big things for me. And, most of them have actually come true. Well, here is it again, in case anyone is interested! 😉
Famous Blogger Club: Tell the world something about yourself and what you do in life? (Add Twitter and Facebook profile link, if available).
PC: I have over 20 years experience in the international technology media. I specialize in semiconductors, electronics and telecom, research., etc. I am associated closely with the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) as well.
My blog was selected by Electronics Weekly, UK as the world’s best blog in the Electronic Hardware Category, Dec. 2008 The blog also received an Honorable Mention in the category: Best Technology Blog at:the BlogNet Awards, Feb. 2009.
I was also a good cricketer at school/college, and dabble a bit in astrology, numerology and palmistry. I have also tried my hands at writing plays.
FBC: What was the story behind your blog? How did you start blogging – since when – how did you name your blog).
PC: When I returned to India from overseas in early 2007, I knew there was no good source for me to read up on electronics, semiconductors, etc. So, I decided to start writing or blogging on topics I would require to read. And, hopefully, it would be useful to others too. Since I am extremely bad with names, I just named it after myself.
Here’s a post I wrote some time back on my reasons for blogging:
a) I am really tired of searching Google and Yahoo, and other search engines for information, and hence, decided to write on key information on semiconductors.
b) My blog is also my archive — I am really frustrated at NOT being able to FIND my old articles on the Web. The few, I found on other sites, actually wanted me, as a user, to sign up! To read my own articles… really! So, Pradeep Chakraborty’s Blog now archives all of my articles written over the past two years.
c) India DOES NOT have any magazine on semiconductors yet, and, till I also spun of a semiconductor site off the blog for CIOL, there wasn’t even a semicon portal in India! I hope I have managed to give India a small and decent site on semiconductors!
d) I wanted to be THE resource for the semiconductor industry… again, I have miles to go. It is not easy being a lone ranger 🙂
e) The sheer thrill of doing something difficult — sitting in India — which does not have such detailed blogs on semiconductors, especially. It has really been difficult :), but very thrilling! My colleague, Ms. Usha Prasad, pokes fun at me — saying, go, light your bulb (a la the Sharukh Khan movie, Swades!) Ok, I’ve done nothing of that sort, as this movie showed!
f) My blog posts are all exclusive pieces, as I’m a believer in: great content = great traffic! Again, it is really difficult writing exclusive posts, especially on semiconductors.
g) I wanted to see where I stand, as against my former employers 🙂 — EDN, US (Reed) and EE Times (Global Sources). Yes, I can never match them! 😉 These are the places where I developed myself as a writer and an editor, and I will forever remain indebted to Global Sources and Reed!
h) I also attempted to create a brand out of my name, using semiconductors, essentially, as a platform. I have yet to see how successful it has been 🙂
FBC: Have you earned any money from been a blogger? How did you it – add links to useful websites for making money online. If not. then tell us why you blog?
PC: Yes, some of my blog posts have been and are bought by international magazines such as Nikkei, etc. I have also blogged about companies and their products for payment, and continue to do so. I have also started a separate blog for Photonics, USA.
FBC: Would you tell us about one of your famous posts? Why do you think it’s famous. Is it because of “content – traffic – comments – search engines?
PC: Oh, it has got to be on the Top 10 embedded companies in India, simply because of the great interest in this subject all over the world. A close second would be the Top 20 Solar/PV companies.
May I add that my focus has only been on great content that will be useful to the industries I serve/work in.
FBC: If I asked you to suggest one blogger friend to send him/her a Famous Blogger Club invitation, who you will suggest?
PC: That would have to be either of Ms. Laura Peter, David Lammers or Aaron Hand — from Semiconductor International.
Franz Vollmann, Global Head of Printed Electronics, Heraeus, presented a session on new EMI shielding solution for semiconductor components at the Global Semiconductor and Electronics Forum (GSEF) 2020.
Customer needs in the semiconductor and electronics industry include reduced complexity, system solution, enhanced design freedom, higher level of customization, space and weight reduction, rapid design changes, easy scalability, and cost.
5G is a mega trend and a game changer in consumer and industrial apps. 5G networks offer faster consumer and smarter enterprise. But, the electromagnetic shielding of the electronic packages is a challenge. An increasing number of electronics packages require shielding against electromagnetic interferences.
Potential use cases of 5G in the future include smart traffic and autonomous driving, smart transportation, entertainment and gaming, human/IoT interaction, broadband, etc. EMI leads to higher packaging density, and that needs EMI shielding at the packaging level, and at board level, if possible.
There are competing technologies for EMI shielding. Existing technologies include PVD spluttering and metal gaskets on PCB level. The next-gen technologies include Ag Nano ink spray and Ag MOD inkjet. Each technology has advantages and drawbacks.
Heraeus approach in printed electronics for EMI shielding integrates Ag ink with inkjet printing and adds curing. Advantages of Heraeus solution compared to sputter include -80dB shielding performance, selective coating with no masking and full design flexibility, zero waste, over 25 percent lower TCO, less capex and smaller footprint factor of 3, etc.
Heraeus uses metal inks. Let us look at nano particle inks vs. metal organic decomposition inks. Metal inks are of two types — nano particle suspension links and precursor type/metal organic decomposition links. MOD ink has lower metal content. Heraeus EMI shielding solution uses the inkjet solution that revolutionizes printing. There is a pre-treatment printer, Ag and protective resist printing, and Ag and protective resist curing.
Selective shielding sputtering is required. Partial coating can be done without additional masking and etching. You can avoild significant material losses. There is shielding effectiveness with Ag inkjet. Superior shielding results happen from 800MHz to 9GHz. Inkjet printing results in very homogenous silver layer.
New solution is required for conformal and compartmental EMI shielding for the semiconductor industry. We have a complete technology platform solution, including material, equipment, and process. There is significant lower initial investment and smaller footprint compared to PVD sputtering. Tailored selective coating is possible by digital print layout. You can get excellent shielding performance and high throughput.
The Global Semiconductor and Electronics Forum (GSEF) was held recently. It brings together the end-to-end value chain in the semiconductor and electronics industry.
Lars Reger, Executive VP and CTO, NXP Semiconductors, opened the conference with a talk on convergence in the world of smart connected devices. He said that the world is rapidly and drastically changing. We are now meeting in digital environments. There is quite some disruption in our daily lives. Societal expectations are now high.
We have been trained to expect more and more from devices. They are removing barriers, anticipating the opening of a door, delivering medication, administering tests or delivering groceries. Smart connected devices have come a long way, but there is more to go. There will be 50 billion smart connected devices around us by 2025.
In the semiconductor market, mass apps are now driving growth. Secure edge processing, autonomous and electric cars, 5G, etc., will be driving growth in 2020 and beyond. In smart connected devices, there is a very broad range. The new era of electronic devices will see growth of secure edge processors. Data collection, processing and decisions are taken at the edge. Edge devices are securely connected to the cloud.
Major technology vectors for any smart device include sense, think, connect, and act. You can get all of your information and start acting. You also have to trust the devices and that, they never fail. Maximum quality of components is mandatory for high-value system. You have to look at functional safety, component reliability and robustness, and security.
The domain-based architecture is on lines of Industry 4.0 smart factory. There is connectivity, autonomy, energy management, environment and safety, and information management and HMI. MCUs can firewall the different domains.
NXP has broadened the system solutions and functional cluster. There is need for repartition, integration and optimization. The levels of system solutions include product ready, such as integration, system configuration, porting, field test and validation of hardware and software stack in customer module or form factor, feature complete, such as enhancement of the reference control stack and advanced features. There is the reference design, such as industrial/automotive customer-grade control stack, and middleware stack, enablement, such as firmware and drivers, and test apps, and hardware, such as customer package, reference boards, and customer app support. Customization increases as we go upward from the bottom.
NXP products are using watts to save kW in customer apps. These can be in power adapter, 5G/6G networks, electric/hybrid vehicles, etc. We also have full end-to-end secure smart access system. AI@work is used for detection systems. There will be better detection systems in future. These are spread across vision, voice and sound, etc.
Challenges for the society bring opportunities. Convergence brings benefits in development. Modularity and system solutions are reducing design complexity and cost. They are personalized and customizable. These allow faster time-to-market.
TrendForce has provided its forecast of 10 key trends in the tech industry for 2021.
As the DRAM industry officially enters the EUV era, NAND Flash stacking technology advances past 150L
The three major DRAM suppliers, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron, will not only continue their transition towards the 1Znm and 1alpha nm process technologies, but also formally introduce the EUV era, with Samsung leading the charge, in 2021. DRAM suppliers will gradually replace their existing double patterning technologies in order to optimize their cost structure and manufacturing efficiency.
After NAND Flash suppliers managed to push memory stacking technology past 100 layers in 2020, they will be aiming for 150 layers and above in 2021 and improving single-die capacity from 256/512Gb to 512Gb/1Tb. Consumers will be able to adopt higher-density NAND Flash products through the suppliers’ efforts to optimize chip costs.
While PCIe Gen 3 is currently the dominant bus interface for SSDs, PCIe Gen 4 will start gaining increased market share in 2021 owing to its integration in PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and motherboards featuring Intel’s new microarchitecture. The new interface is indispensable for fulfilling the massive data transfer demand from high-end PCs, servers, and HPC data centers.
Mobile network operators will step up their 5G base station build-out while Japan/Korea look ahead to 6G
The 5G Implementation Guidelines: SA Option 2, released by the GSMA in June 2020, delves into great technical details regarding 5G deployment, both for mobile network operators and from a global perspective. Operators are expected to implement 5G standalone architectures (SA) on a large scale in 2021.
In addition to delivering connections with high speed and high bandwidth, 5G SA architectures will allow operators to customize their networks according to user applications and adapt to workloads that require ultra-low latency. However, even as 5G rollout is underway, Japan-based NTT DoCoMo and Korea-based SK Telecom are already focusing on 6G deployment, since 6G allows for various emerging applications in XR (including VR, AR, MR, and 8K and above resolutions), lifelike holographic communications, WFH, remote access, telemedicine, and distance education.
Internet of Things evolves into Intelligence of Things as AI-enabled devices move closer to autonomy
In 2021, deep AI integration will be the primary value added to IoT, whose definition will evolve from Internet of Things to Intelligence of Things. Innovations in tools such as deep learning and computer vision will bring about a total upgrade for IoT software and hardware applications. Taking into account industry dynamics, economic stimulus, and remote access demand, IoT is expected to see large-scale adoption across certain major verticals, namely, smart manufacturing and smart healthcare.
With regards to smart manufacturing, the introduction of contactless technology is expected to speed up the arrival of industry 4.0. As smart factories pursue resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, AI integration will equip edge devices, such as cobots and drones, with even more precision and inspection capabilities, thereby transforming automation into autonomy. On the smart healthcare front, AI adoption can transform existing medical datasets into enablers of process optimization and service area extension.
For instance, AI integration delivers faster thermal image recognition that can support the clinical decision-making process, telemedicine, and surgical assistance applications. These aforementioned applications are expected to serve as crucial functions fulfilled by AI-enabled medical IoT in diverse settings ranging from smart clinics to telemedicine centers.
Integration between AR glasses and smartphones will kick-start a wave of cross-platform applications
AR glasses will move towards a smartphone-connected design in 2021 in which the smartphone serves as the computing platform for the glasses. This design allows for significant reduction in cost and weight for AR glasses. In particular, as the 5G network environment becomes more mature in 2021, the integration of 5G smartphones and AR glasses will enable the latter to not only run AR apps more smoothly, but also fulfill advanced personal audio-visual entertainment functionalities through leveraging the added computing power of smartphones. As a result, smartphone brands and mobile network operators are expected to venture into the AR glasses market on a large scale in 2021.
A crucial part of autonomous driving, driver monitoring systems (DMS) will skyrocket in popularity
Automotive safety technology has evolved from an application for car exteriors to one for car interiors, while sensing technology is moving towards a future where it integrates driver status monitoring with external environmental readings. Similarly, automotive AI integration is evolving past its existing entertainment and user assistance functions, into an indispensable enabler of automotive safety.
In light of the string of traffic accidents in which the drivers ignored road conditions due to their overreliance on ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), which have recently skyrocketed in adoption rate, the market is once again paying close attention to driver monitoring functions.
In the future, the main thrust of driver monitoring functions will be focused on the development of more active, reliable, and accurate camera systems. By detecting the driver’s drowsiness and attention through iris tracking and behavioral monitoring, these systems are able to identify in real time whether the driver is tired, distracted, or driving improperly.
As such, DMS (driver monitoring systems) have become an absolute necessity in the development of ADS (autonomous driving systems), since DMS must serve multiple functions simultaneously, including real-time detection/notification, driver capability assessment, and takeover of driving controls whenever necessary. Vehicles with DMS integration are expected to enter mass production in the near future.
Foldable displays will see adoption in more devices as a means of upping screen real estate
As foldable phones progressed from concept to product in 2019, certain smartphone brands successively released their own foldable phones to test the waters. Although these phones’ sell-through performances have so far been mediocre owing to their relatively high costs – and, by extension, retail prices – they are still able to generate much buzz in the mature and saturated smartphone market. In the next few years, as panel makers gradually expand their flexible AMOLED production capacities, smartphone brands will continue to focus on their development of foldable phones.
Furthermore, foldable functionality has been seeing increasing penetration in other devices as well, specifically notebook computers. With Intel and Microsoft leading the charge, various manufacturers have each released their own dual-display notebook offerings. In the same vein, foldable products with single flexible AMOLED displays are set to become the next hot topic.
Notebooks with foldable displays will likely enter the market in 2021. As an innovative flexible display application and as a product category that features flexible displays much larger than previous applications, the integration of foldable displays in notebooks is expected to expend manufacturers’ flexible AMOLED production capacity to some degree.
Mini LED and QD-OLED will become viable alternatives to white OLED
Competition between the display technologies is expected to heat up in the high-end TV market in 2021. In particular, Mini LED backlighting enables LCD TVs to have finer control over their backlight zones and therefore deeper display contrast compared with current mainstream TVs. Spearheaded by market leader Samsung, LCD TVs with Mini LED backlighting are competitive with their white OLED counterparts while offering similar specs and performances.
Furthermore, given their superior cost-effectiveness, Mini LED is expected to emerge as a strong alternative to white OLED as a display technology. On the other hand, Samsung Display (SDC) is betting on its new QD OLED technology as a point of technological differentiation from its competitors, as SDC is ending its LCD manufacturing operations. SDC will look to set the new gold standard in TV specs with its QD OLED technology, which is superior to white OLED in terms of color saturation. TrendForce expects the high-end TV market to exhibit a cutthroat new competitive landscape in 2H21.
Advanced packaging will go full steam ahead in HPC and AiP
The development of advanced packaging technology has not slowed down this year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the various manufacturers release HPC chips and AiP (antenna in package) modules, semiconductor companies such as TSMC, Intel, ASE, and Amkor are eager to participate in the burgeoning advanced packaging industry as well. With regards to HPC chip packaging, due to these chips’ increased demand on I/O lead density, the demand on interposers, which are used in chip packaging, has increased correspondingly as well.
TSMC and Intel have each released their new chip packaging architectures, branded 3D fabric and Hybrid Bonding, respectively, while gradually evolving their third-generation packaging technologies (CoWoS for TSMC and EMIB for Intel), to fourth-generation CoWoS and Co-EMIB technologies.
In 2021, the two foundries will be looking to benefit from high-end 2.5D and 3D chip packaging demand. With regards to AiP module packaging, after Qualcomm released its first QTM products in 2018, MediaTek and Apple subsequently collaborated with related OSAT companies, including ASE and Amkor. Through these collaborations, MediaTek and Apple hoped to make headways in the R&D of mainstream flip chip packaging, which is a relatively low-cost technology.
AiP is expected to see gradual integration in 5G mmWave devices starting in 2021. Driven by 5G communications and network connectivity demand, AiP modules are expected to first reach the smartphone market and subsequently the automotive and tablet markets.
Chipmakers will pursue shares in the AIoT market through an accelerated expansionary strategy
With the rapid development of IoT, 5G, AI, and cloud/edge computing, chipmakers’ strategies have evolved from singular products, to product lineups, and finally to product solutions, thereby creating a comprehensive and granular chip ecosystem. Looking at the development of major chipmakers in recent years from a broad perspective, the continuous vertical integration of these companies have resulted in an oligopolistic industry, in which localized competition is more intense than ever.
Furthermore, as 5G commercialization generates diverse application demands for various use cases, chipmakers are now offering full service vertical solutions, ranging from chip design to software/hardware platform integration, in response to the vast commercial opportunities brought about by the rapid development of the AIoT industry. On the other hand, chipmakers who were unable to position themselves in time according to market needs will likely find themselves exposed to the risk of overreliance on a single market.
Active matrix Micro LED TVs will make their highly anticipated debut in the consumer electronics market
The release of large-sized micro LED displays by Samsung, LG, Sony, and Lumens in recent years marked the start of micro LED integration in large-sized display development. As micro LED application in large-sized displays gradually matures, Samsung is expected to be the first in the industry to release its active matrix micro LED TVs, therefore cementing year 2021 as the first year of micro LED integration in TVs.
Active matrix addresses pixels by making use of the display’s TFT glass backplane, and since the IC design of active matrix is relatively simple, this addressing scheme therefore requires a relative low amount of routing. In particular, active matrix driver ICs require PWM functionality and MOSFET switches in order to stabilize the electrical current driving micro LED displays, necessitating a new and extremely expensive R&D process for such ICs. Therefore, for micro LED manufacturers, their greatest challenges at the moment in pushing micro LED to the end devices market lie in technology and cost.
Please note: These are all the predictions from TrendForce, Taiwan for 2021.
Qualcomm Inc. opened the IFA Berlin 2020 with a talk around “A Time to Innovate.” Christiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Inc., said: “Connectivity is essential! None of this would be possible without years of innovation from companies at IFA and across the world. The smartphone has enriched our daily lives and transformed the global economies. We have so much more ahead. Connectivity has enabled 1.7 billion students to get education remotely and allowed 1.8 billion telehealth visits in the USA during 2020.
“We all must ride this challenge. We don’t have to talk about a digital future any more. It is right before us! Everyone has recognized the benefits of technologies that would have, otherwise, taken 5-10 years. Technologies like 5G, Wi-Fi 6, cloud and AI are providing us growth opportunities. The mobile industry has built a foundation for all. Innovation is all around us.”
Digital and physical converging
It is about billions of devices working together. There will be a future of intelligent devices that would be always on and always connected. The devices will provide us with new capabilities. The value of digital transformation is here to stay. The next big innovation will be the converging of digital and physical worlds. The network will evolve to become more flexible and intelligent. The wireless edge will also expand into the home.
Amon added that with 5G accelerating globally, wireless has become the superior connectivity technology. Commercialization is moving fast! Today, there are over 80+ telecom operators across ~40 countries with 5G commercially deployed. And, 300+ operators are investing more in the technology. There are 100s of 5G products available, and in development.
Qualcomm projects that 750 million 5G smartphones should ship by 2022. 5G connections are forecast to be 2 years faster than 4G adoption by 2023, and surpass 1+ billion. By 2025, 5G connections are expected to be 2.8 billion. It will also include 45 percent of all mobile data calls.
There will be more innovation-driven economics driven by supply chains. In manufacturing, their is the promise of Industry 4.0, as well. The ICT sector will see 15 percent increase in market value by 2025. The economic impact of 5G will be fast. It will enable up to $13.2 trillion in 5G-enabled sales activity by 2035.
Future of entertainment
The future of entertainment will also change. Qualcomm has partnered with Live Nation, as the 5G Core Technology Partner, at Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium.
Ms. Jackie Wilgar, SVP Marketing International, Live Nation said that a live concert will push the boundaries of 5G. The Qualcomm 5G Snapdragon platform will absolutely transform the live experience. There is AR, mixing sound from the stage, in real-time. It is a whole new way!
Amon said full 5G requires millimeterwave. 5G mmWave allows video streaming, cloud gaming, virtual presence and immersive entertainment. 5G FWA in private networks complements fiber broadband. The mmW performance is amazing. According to Ookla, the average download speed of 5G is four times faster than 4G. Over 120 operators are now investing to commercially deploy 5G using mmW.
In the USA, all the operators have launched 5G services using mmW. 5G auctions have been successful in Finland, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. In Germany, it should be available in 2021. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G modem-RF system provides 5G at full speed and support for sub-6GHz and mmW.
Marco Arioli, Head of Engineering, FastWeb, Italy, talked about the 5G opportunities. We are entering a new era of services. It presents a unique opportunity to improve the quality of life. FastWeb has been focusing on network infrastructure to deliver high-quality broadband.
This year, FastWeb will launch 5G services to provide broadband services in Italy. It will also help them to reduce the digital divide in Italy. We have a partnership with Qualcomm. After two years of preparation, FastWeb is ready to launch 5G mmW services.
New 5G platform
Amon added that Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G mobile platform and Snapdragon 865+ 5G mobile platform are making all this possible. It currently has 165+ designs announced, or in development. Qualcomm is committed to make 5G available for everyone. Today, Qualcomm is bringing 5G Snapdragon 4 Series mobile platforms, to be launched in 2021.
Tony Chen, Founder and CEO, Oppo, said the pandemic has changed the way we work. Oppo has been involved in the evolution of 5G. Last May, it became one of the first to launch 5G smartphones in Europe. It has also collaborated with 37 carriers in Europe. The co-operation with Qualcomm has been since the early days.
Oppo has launched several 5G smartphones, such as the Oppo Find X2 powered by Snapdragon mobile platforms, as well as the 5G CPE for FWA in Europe and the other markets. Now, Qualcomm has scaled 5G to the Snapdragon 5 series. Oppo will continue to collaborate with Qualcomm to roll out 5G. It will evolve with XR and AI, and drive the new ecosystem of intelligent connectivity.
Xiaomi is another partner. Lei Jun, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Xiaomi M1, said that they have introduced several smartphones powered by Snapdragon 8 series and 7 series 5G mobile platforms.
Xiaomi will become one of the world’s first to adopt Snapdragon 4 Series 5G mobile platform. 2020 serves as a decade of Xiaomi. We have achieved every milestone along with Qualcomm’s support. Xiaomi’s products are available across over 90 countries and regions. The shipment is among the top 5 in 50 markets.
Focus on wearables and immersive sound
Amon added that wearables are continuing to grow in popularity. The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ platforms enable you to stay connected. We are also seeing the growth of XR. Qualcomm is a leader in XR with 30+ devices from global manufacturers. Oculus and Microsoft are also the partners. The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 5G mobile platform is geared for XR. Devices will be available in the coming months.
In immersive sound, Qualcomm is announcing the State of Play report 2020. It looks at: what drives buying decisions for audio consumers. About 45 percent surveyed said that audio devices help them with productivity. 73 percent of the end users are looking to go fully wireless. Noise cancellation is the fourth-most added feature. The Qualcomm aptX Adaptive gives smart, ultra, low-power audio. We are also announcing the Qualcomm Adaptive ANC designed to deliver premium noise cancellation.
Future of productivity
By the end of this year, 83 percent of all workloads are expected to be in the cloud. We are working closely working with Microsoft and the others to bring the best solutions. Today, we are announcing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8CX Gen 2 5G compute platform. It has 5G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity speeds. It provides enterprise-grade security, as well.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8CX Gen 2 5G platform has blazing fast and reliable connectivity. The Spectrum ISP supports 32MP camera. There is superior quality sound, as well. There is dual 4K display. There is AI, as well. There is also the loom.ai feature. Sophos provides the cybersecurity.
Jerry Kao, Co-COO, Acer, said that Acer has worked with Qualcomm for many years. The Acer Spin 7 is among the first notebooks with Snapdragon 5G. It is a slim device, always connected. The power consumption is very low. Acer has an incredible notebook for mobile professionals. We are looking forward to continue the partnership with Qualcomm.
Amon said Qualcomm has also collaborated with HP and Microsoft. With HP, we are seeing a new era of devices. HP has designed a new notebook for the next era of business.
Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer at Microsoft, said that Qualcomm has been a catalyst that has been pushing. We are building the future of mobile computer together. The idea that you can use a product all day, on-the-go, is really inspiring. We also have momentum with the partners and customers. Amon added that they will collaborate for new devices, solutions and experiences.
Amon also talked about WFH. The changes we are experiencing right now, will change the enterprises for decades. There will be about 25 percent of the global mobile network data traffic by 2025. About 30+ OEMSs have chosen the Snapdragon X55 modem-RF system. There are 80+ FWA products coming up. Wi-Fi 6 will provide next-generation connectivity across Europe. There are partners such as British Telecom, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telecom and Swisscom. The Qualcomm networking pro series will help.
The Wi-Fi mesh is next! There will be a combination of 5G and Wi-Fi 6. There is the multi-user MIMO as well. The Wi-Fi 6 solution from Qualcomm also supports sub-6GHz, where available. The 5G infrastructure needs to be dense, high performance, flexible, scalable and low power, for indoors and outdoors. The modern network will become more virtual and interoperable.
Qualcomm is also supporting a growing number of innovative OEMs, such as Airspan, Altiostar, Corning, T&W, Foxconn, Verizon, Keysight, etc. Qualcomm’s 5G RAN solutions will serve public and private networks and operators.
Masaki Taniguchi, SVP Mobile System Business, Fujitsu, said that the global expansion of 5G is continuing. Fujitsu and Qualcomm have a long history of providing mobile services.
Atsuo Kanawara, EVP and President, Network Services Business Unit, added that 5G will see innovative networks. There will be full potential of 5G, driven by digital transformation. We have a huge opportunity to deploy 5G for operators around the globe.
Ms. Claudia Nemat, Board Member, Technology and Innovation, Deutsche Telecom, added that 5G provides the best customer experience. About a year ago, we launched 5G. We cover nearly half of the German population. Dynamic spectrum sharing allows 5G and 4G to work together, seamlessly. We will cover two-thirds of the German population by the end of this year. 5G provides scalabiity and innovation. There is also the OpenRAN. We will all be able to take advantage of more innovation. The innovation will be from the new players and startups. This year, we also demonstrated the world’s first end-to-end network slice. We are well positioned to drive 5G.”
Industry 4.0 ahoy, and retail!
Amon said Qualcomm is also working with Siemens and Bosch. Siemens set up the Qualcomm 5G industrial test device with 5G modem. Qualcomm and Siemens established the first network in an industrial environment using the 3.7-3.8GHz band. This will also shape the future of transportation. 5G, AI and cloud will also help in re-inventing retail. The edge cloud delivers the highest quality processing.
Ms. Roanne Stone, Corporate VP, Azure Edge+ Platform, Microsoft, said that the need for digital transformation is present to help us respond, recover and re-imagine. The devices in our home need intelligence. We are seeing some momentum.
Customers are also taking advantage of device capabilities. They are asking for more intelligent capabilities. They want devices that they bring to their homes are secure. With Qualcomm, we are working for end-to-end security. We will be sharing Microsoft edge AI devices very soon.
OTI Lumionics, a leader in the development of advanced materials for OLED displays, recently announced that the latest version of ConducTorr cathode patterning material (CPM) is ready for mass production. It will start shipping to display customers in Q4 2020 for use in next-generation mobile devices with under display camera and face unlock.
With the increasing demand for mobile devices with larger screens and smaller bezels, device manufacturers are looking for innovative solutions to make the display partially transparent. They can move front-facing camera and 3D facial recognition sensors (i.e., face unlock) under the display to eliminate having to make a notch or cut-out in the display.
Elaborating on the latest version of ConducTorr, Michael Helander, CEO of OTI Lumionics said: “We received a lot of positive feedback from our customers in regards to the performance of our ConducTorr CPM materials. However, one consistent pain point that we heard across the board was that our solution required some changes to their manufacturing process, which could slow down adoption in mass production.
“Using our proprietary computational materials design platform, we were able to rapidly incorporate this customer feedback into the next-generation of ConducTorr CPM materials, that are now compatible with all the existing OLED display manufacturing, which makes it easier for our customers to adopt in mass production with minimal changes to their existing manufacturing process.”
Partially transparent displays
It would be interesting to know how the displays are made partially transparent. He said that the displays used in our mobile devices today are already partially transparent due to small gaps between all the various layers that allow a very small amount of light through. You can see this very limited transparency in optical based under display fingerprint sensors.
However, to move the camera and 3D facial recognition (e.g., Face ID) under the display, we need at least an order of magnitude higher transparency. To achieve this high level of transparency, we cut millions of tiny micrometer size holes in the display that fit between all the pixels.
These tiny holes allow more light to pass through the display, making it transparent, but still allows the display to function since the holes are positioned between the pixels. The manufacturing challenge is then making all of these tiny holes in the display without damaging the surrounding pixels, which is where the ConducTorr CPM materials come into play.
That leads to the query: how will the cathode layer work? He added that if you look at a cross-section of the OLED display used in most modern smartphones, it is made up of many different layers of material stacked on top of each other. Most of these layers are actually already transparent (or partially transparent).
However, the cathode layer is a thin layer of metal that covers the entire surface of the display blocking light. The ConducTorr CPM materials allow the cathode layer to patterned with the millions of tiny holes required to make the display transparent enough to move the camera and 3D facial recognition under the display. The holes are created through a self-assembly process, essentially atoms and molecules arranging themselves on the nanoscale using ConducTorr CPM.
Working with mobile device makers
It will be interesting to know about the mobile device makers that OTI has worked with, and in what areas. Helander said: “We work with the top mobile device brands (and their display suppliers) in Korea, China and USA that represent >90 percent of the combined market share. They are covering smartphones, smart watches, tablets, laptops, monitors and TVs. We are expecting the product announcements from our customers starting next year.”
Next, what is being done in the other areas, like transparent displays for AR, high-bright display with longer battery, etc. According to him, the large-area transparent displays are another major area of focus for us. To make a transparent display, you also need to cut millions of tiny holes in the display in between all the pixels.
“If you look at the recently announced Xiaomi transparent OLED TV, which is based on an LG transparent OLED panel, the transparency is only ~33 percent (based on the LG panel spec). The reason the transparency is this low is that the cathode layer is unpatterned, meaning that it actually covers all the millions of tiny holes in the display, absorbing a lot of light. With the ConducTorr CPM, the transparency can easily be increased by 2x or more. We actually demonstrated a transparent display at SID Display Week 2019 with >65 percent transparency in partnership with ITRI in Taiwan.”
Finally, a look at the areas where OTI will be working on next. Helander said: “We believe that rollable and foldable displays will enable exciting new form factors for mobile devices, but that current technology results in displays that have limited flexibility (i.e., large bending radius) and prohibitively high costs.
“To help address these barriers to mass adoption of rollable and foldable displays we are working on a new line of advanced materials that will help make these displays thinner, cheaper and more flexible.”