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The Tech Week that was December 16-20 2019

The Tech Week that was December 16-20 2019
by Mark Dyson on 12-22-2019 at 6:00 am

The Tech Week that was December 16th

As we approach the end of 2019 I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This will be my last update for a few weeks as I will also take a little break over the holiday season.

Despite a lot of people winding down for the year, there was still lots of interesting news from last week with lots of data points pointing to an even better 2020, so read on.

SEMI is predicting that the tide has turned and that 2020 looks positive for industry with many positive indicators. The global purchasing managers index has started to improve after a steady decline and is now back up above 50, expansion territory, in November. In addition equipment manufacturers sales showed a 2% QoQ improvement in Q3, and up 0.4% on Q3 a year ago. With many other indicators also indicating growth, things are looking good for 2020.

Micron also announced this week on their earnings call that they have reached the bottom and expect recovery in 2020, in addition they announced they had obtained all requested licenses to ship some products to Huawei. Microns fiscal Q1 total revenue was US $5.1 billion, up 6% sequentially but down 35% YoY. DRAM sales which represents 67% of their revenue was up 2% on last quarter but down 41% YoY, whilst NAND showed better performance up 18% sequentially and only down 14% YoY.

Microns assessment that they are at the bottom is in line with DRAM prices, which showed a rebound this month, with prices up more than 10% on the low in December last year. DRAM eXchange is predicting that prices will rally as early as the first quarter in 2020.

Taiwan semiconductor sector is expecting a growth of 5% in 2020 due to strong demand from AI applications and 5G infrastructure, according to Taiwans Industrial Technology Research Institute. This prediction is in line with IHS Markit’s prediction that global semiconductor revenue will rise 5.9% in 2020.

Self driving autonomous cars are still coming, but the optimism that they will be here soon has died down and exactly when we will really see them in everyday use has been pushed out at least several years by most of the major car manufacturers. This is an interesting article by CNN which reviews the current status and challenges facing autonomous cars.

TSMC’s 5nm technology is on track for release next year, was the message from TSMC at the IEDM conference last week. They promise devices 15% faster or 30% more energy efficient compared to 7nm, and SRAM cells that at 0.021 sq mm.

Taiwans assembly test subcon ASE plans to acquire France based Asteelflash, Europes 2nd largest EMS company for US$450million. The deal will allow ASE to extend it’s worldwide presence and expand it’s production of automotive devices.

As the year comes to a close it’s time to review some of the advances that have happened in 2019. Laser Focus World has published it’s top 20 photonics technology picks for 2019.

Whilst LED magazine has list of it’s top 20 news articles in 2019 from the LED and lighting industry.

Finally if you are reading this article on a smartphone or tablet, the night mode setting on your device may not be helping you to go to sleep. According to researchers from Manchester University blue light is not the main problem preventing you from sleeping and based on their study they recommend dim and blue light is more restful. The main problem is probably that you are using your device just before you go to sleep and stimulating your brain or worrying about that latest email you just read.

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