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keyword:Alan Chen29 result(s)

Press Releases
TrendForce: eMMC to Remain Mainstream Format from 2014~2016, UFS to Gain Momentum in 2016

2013/11/25

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, eMMC 45 has replaced eMMC 441 on a massive scale since 2H13, becoming the main storage format used in smartphones and tablet PCs Judging from the product strategies employed by eMMC vendors and AP chip manufacturers, it is predicted that eMMC 50 products will begin entering a heightened production phase in 2H14 For UFS, the format is not expected to gain much ground until 2016 The biggest difference between eMMC 45 and eMMC 441 lies in their maximum transfer speeds, which is approximately 200MB/s and 104MB/s, respectively In addition to fully utilizing NAND Flash functions such as ONFI/Toggle, eMMC 45 is also capable of supporting higher read/write speeds in smartphones and tablets The majority of the NAND Flash manufacturers of eMMC 45 products did not design-in for next-gen smartphone and tablet products until 1Q13 As such, eMMC 45 will only replace eMMC 441 as the market mainstream as smartphone/tablet OEMs begin promoting their new devices throughout the second half of 2013 In 2H13, major eMMC vendors have begun delivering samples of 1X nm class eMMC 50 products to their clients Looking at the product development plans of the smatphone and tablet AP chip manufacturers, it appears certain that eMMC 50 will be the successor to eMMC 45 Originally believed to have a shot at emerging throughout 2014-2015, TrendForce predicts that the UFS format will have to wait until at least 2016 before having a chance to compete with eMMC in the “high-end” smartphone and tablet markets The reasons for this are outlined below: 1、Product Efficiency Considerations The fastest transfer speed for eMMC 50 is approximately 400MB/s, which is twice the rate offered by eMMC 45 For the two major types of UFS interfaces, UFS 11 and UFS 20, the maximum transfer speed is 300MB/s and 1200MB/s, respectively The effectiveness of eMMC 50, as the numbers clearly demonstrate, falls between that of the UFS 11 and UFS 20 formats Nonetheless, eMMC 50 was able to get a head start in the market, given its superior speed over UFS 11 and the fact that JEDEC took longer to announce the specs format for UFS 20 than for eMMC 50 In an attempt to not let UFS 20 get too far ahead in terms of speed, JEDEC is taking notable steps to develop the specifications for the eMMC 5X format TrendForce believes that the format's speed will end up being at least 600MB/s, and that the competition between UFS 20 and eMMC 5X will be intense in the future periods 2、AP Chip Consideration     The format preferences held by AP chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm, nVidia, MTK, and Samsung all play a crucial role in determining whether smartphone and tablet manufacturers choose the eMMC or UFS interface Aside from Samsung’s 5420 and Qualcomm’s 8084 chips, both of which are likely to support the eMMC 50 and UFS 11 formats upon their release in 2014, other manufacturers are expected to stick to the eMMC 50 interface TrendForce’s current research suggests that Samsung will be the only eMMC supplier to promote UFS 11 products in 2014, and that the other suppliers will pass over UFS 11 in favor of waiting for the upgraded, more advanced UFS 20 format Considering the fact that UFS is completely different from eMMC in terms of overall structure and design, it is worth mentioning, also, that the former's development phase will inevitably take a long time for manufacturers, whether it is for the AP chips or Flash controller chips All in all, given that the vendors for UFS 11 products are limited, that the format’s effectiveness is less impressive than that of eMMC 50, and that its design can be relatively difficult to implement, eMMC 50 is likely to remain the go-to format for the majority of the AP chip manufacturers TrendForce believes 2015 will be the earliest year during which AP chip manufacturers will eventually begin supporting the UFS 20 format 3、Cost Consideration While the speed of UFS 20 is able to easily exceed 1000MB/s, its development cost (especially for the controller IC part) is noticeably high when compared to the eMMC 5X interface With the innovation in the high-end smartphone space slowing down and the low cost and mid-ranged market sectors expanding at a rapid pace, UFS 20 is likely to only be competitive against eMMC 5X in the high-end markets In the short run, the former is not likely to become mainstream within the industry Taking into account all of the three aforementioned factors --product efficiency, AP chip manufacturer preferences, and cost-- TrendForce projects that the UFS format may only be able to compete against eMMC following the release of UFS 20, and that the competition will be mostly concentrated in the high-end smartphone and tablet markets For now, eMMC will remain the market mainstream in the mid-to-low end market sectors The proportion of shipments that is expected be accounted for by UFS products in 2016 is approximately 10% The major suppliers of eMMC products —for example, Samsung, SK Hynix, Sandisk, Toshiba, Micron, and KSI— represent roughly 95% of the market, and are known to employ different types of product strategies With regard to the eMMC 50 products, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sandisk are all known for producing their controller chips in-house, while companies such as Micron and SK Hynix generally choose to outsource their production to third party manufacturers (despite their supposed interest in eventually creating in-house controller chips) SMI and Phison are currently the two more well known manufacturers in the eMMC controller IC design and outsourcing business In addition to these two companies, Alcor, Marvell, Solid State System, Skymedi, and StorArt also provide similar services, and are hoping to eventually grab a larger chunk of the market With competitive pressure arising from Samsung’s TLC eMMC, TrendForce believes that the aforementioned controller IC chip manufacturers will attempt to provide TLC eMMC controller chip solutions in 2014 as a means to seize further opportunities in the eMMC vendor supply chain

Press Releases
TrendForce: 2H’Oct NAND Flash Contract Prices Slide due to Weak Demand

2013/11/05

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the 2H’Oct NAND Flash contract prices have dropped by 2-8% (compared to 1H’Oct) due to weak market demand In the periods following the fire accident at SK Hynix's Wuxi plant, SK Hynix and Samsung both allocated portions of their NAND Flash capacity to DRAM as a means to compensate for lost DRAM production TrendForce’s research shows that SK Hynix has chosen to utilize 40k of its NAND Flash capacity for DRAM production, while Samsung used approximately 5% of its monthly NAND Flash capacity for the same purpose Even though the two aforementioned capacity adjustments are expected to contribute to lowered NAND Flash supplies in 4Q13, the lower than expected demands for memory card, UFD, eMMC and SSD products have made NAND Flash suppliers more willing to lower prices as a means to digest their capacity and to stimulate module client demand The less than expected demand for the above memory products appears to have resulted from the intensive pricing competition within the market, the weaker than expected PC and handset sales, and the fact that the peak quarter has yet to show any noticeable momentum Underwhelming market demand, all in all, can be said to be the major reason behind the declining NAND Flash prices Looking at the market, even though the traditional US and European peak sales periods are set to arrive, the restocking momentum has yet to show any signs of emerging Whether it is the channel clients or the system clients, the general attitude towards the upcoming peak sales performances appears to be conservative The NAND Flash contract price downtrend is likely to persist in the event that market demand continues to weaken

Press Releases
TrendForce: Penetration Rate of SD 3.0 Memory Cards May Reach 20% in 2014

2013/10/23

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the penetration rate of SD 30 memory cards may only be around 10% in 2013 The main reason for this is that the SD 30 format has yet to be widely adopted in system products (for instance, smartphones, tablets, and cameras), and that the majority of the demand comes only from the channel market, which has fewer shipments proportionally compared to system OEM market In the event that the above situations gradually improve, the penetration rate of SD 30 memory cards has a legitimate shot of approaching 20% in 2014 The maximum bandwidth SD 30, also known as UHS-I, offers a transfer speed of 104 MB/s (much quicker than SD 20’s 25 MB/s), and a write speed that easily surpasses 10 MB/s (equivalent to Class 10 level) In order to take full advantage of SD 30’s rapid read and write speeds, memory card vendors will often attempt to stack two or more NAND Flash dies into a single package Because of this, the density of SD 30 memory cards generally begins at 8GB Judging by the kinds of density and performances offered by SD 30 memory cards, it is clear that such a product will be most suitable in the high-end markets, particularly for products such as smartphones, tablets, video recorders, and single lens reflex cameras   According to TrendForce’s senior manager, Alan Chen, smartphones and tablets account for more than 80% of the demand in memory card markets The rapid growth experienced by such devices, however, has not stimulated demand for SD 30, in part because of the inability of their application processors (AP) to support the SD 30 interface (only a few smartphones and tablets are currently known to support such a format) Even if SD 30 supports backward compatibility (SD 20), this alone would not be enough to impress nor entice potential clients SD 30 memory card demand, all in all, remains most heavily concentrated in the high-end camera and camcorder markets   Another important reason for the lack of strong SD 30 demand, in addition to the one mentioned above, is that many smartphones and tablets are already equipped with 4/8GB and above eMMCs, which are generally sufficient to support the read and write speeds required of the said devices This has effectively encouraged the market’s largest memory card buyers –ie the smartphone and tablet OEMs— to direct the majority of their attention towards the relatively cheaper SD 20 memory cards Tablet and smartphone OEMs using 16GB and above eMMCs for high-end products will generally opt to not provide any free memory cards in order to lower their cost     The abovementioned purchasing strategies of the system clients can be said to have caused the demand of SD 30 memory cards to be shifted towards the channel markets With photos, videos, applications, and other operating systems requiring more and more storage capacity, the 4/8 GB eMMC-based smartphones and tablets are becoming less and less able to satisfy consumer requirements, and an increasing number of consumers are beginning to purchase high-speed and high-density SD 20 Class 10 or SD 30 memory cards in order to make the most use of their mobile devices Most of the business opportunities for SD 30 memory cards essentially come from the high-end memory card demands that originated from the channel markets In order to facilitate the sales of the SD 30 memory cards, vendors have marked their memory card products with both the “Class 10” and “UHS-I” labels   Given the factors mentioned above, the SD 30 memory cards’ penetration rate is likely to only be around 10% in 2013 (see figure 1) In 2014, there is a slight chance that that figure will rise to 15-20% following the gradual increase in the number of AP chips supporting the SD 30 format What’s more, with the prices of smartphones and tablets gradually becoming lower, various manufacturers will continue to use low density eMMCs as a means to decrease cost The demand for high-end memory cards in the channel market, as such, will have a chance to continue growing Looking at the market-side, given that the proportion of smartphones are consistently rising in the mobile phone industry, the system OEM markets with the greatest shipment levels are becoming smaller This has led to an increase in the proportion of memory cards accounted for by the channel market, and could in turn help raise the market penetration rate of SD 30 memory cards In order to profit and come up with an ideal product mix, the leading memory card manufacturers are likely to also begin raising the proportion of SD 30 memory cards, and do so at a faster pace This will help boost the SD 30 memory card’s market penetration rate as well        As of this moment, only a few SD 30 vendors are known to adopt the in-house production approach The majority is known to use either Silicon Motion’s or Phison Electronics Corp’s SD 30 controller chips Aside from these two manufacturers, Skymedi, Alcor Micro, and Solid State System also produce relevant controller chips in the market As the SD 30 memory card shipment gradually increases in the future, and as the SD 30 controller chip’s profit rate exceeds that of SD 20, the competition within the SD 30 controller chip market will undoubtedly become a lot more intense The SD 30 controller chip has already begun to experience higher usage in the market for SD 20 Class 10 memory cards given its ability to significantly enhance the NAND Flash component’s read/write performance Pricing competition in the market will also inevitably increase as the SD 30 business opportunities grow and as competitors emerge TrendForce believes that the shrinking price gap between SD 30 and SD 20 controller chips will eventually help to speed the rate at which the latter is replaced All considered, it is not unreasonable to expect further business opportunities to arise for SD 30 controller chips in the future

Press Releases
TrendForce: USB 3.0 Flash Drive Market Progressing Slowly, 2013 Market Penetration Rate May Only Approach 10%

2013/09/18

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the market penetration rate for USB 30 flash drives may only be 10% in 2013, which is weaker than expected Even though the size of the USB 30 flash drive market has yet to expand, a number of controller IC manufacturers are already starting to hasten their research developments and investments This is among the reasons why the ROI for USB 30 products fell short of expectations, and why leading manufacturers may soon emerge within the market In 2Q13, the USB 30 flash drive shipments reached 5-6 million units (the same as the previous quarter), whereas market penetration rate ended up at only 5% (see Figure-1) The unimpressive sales can mostly be attributed to the tightened NAND Flash supplies, the not-yet-refined controller IC solutions for USB 30 flash drives, poor PC sales, and the intensified price wars among the major USB 20 flash drive manufacturers Despite the possibility of an improved NAND Flash supply situation in 2H13 and the upcoming release of the cost-efficient Crystal Free USB 30 Controller IC, the persistence of the USB 20 price competition and pressures of declining NAND Flash prices are expected to put a noticeable strain on USB 30 flash drive sales In Q4, the USB 30 flash drive penetration rate is likely to only grow slightly to 10-15% TrendForce projects that the 2013 USB 30 flash drive market penetration rate will increase from 2012’s 3-4% and arrive at somewhere around 10% As more and more leading manufacturers begin releasing USB 30 products into the market, the penetration rate is likely to approach 20-25% in 2014 The UFD module manufacturers have, for a long time, longed to see the price difference between USB 30 and USB 20 products reduced In order for this to happen, controller IC manufacturers need to not only be able to offer the aforementioned Crystal Free solution, but also begin migrating to the more advanced manufacturing technologies and increase their products' compatibility with different NAND Flash components To attain these goals properly, the investment in technological and human resources will undoubtedly need to be greater now than it has ever been during the USB 20 era However, given that the size of the USB 30 flash drive market has not been expanding as expected and that it has become increasingly more difficult for the investment efficiency of USB 30 controller IC to support the cost of developing next gen products, more and more manufacturers are beginning to face increased pressure on the business end The controller IC solutions developed by Innostor, Phison, and Silicon Motion are currently the choices favored by most UFD manufacturers These three companies currently have a combined market share of 85-90%Due to the persistent draining of their financial resources, the uncertainties within the market, and the aforementioned three manufacturers’ continuous promotion of their USB 30 Crystal Free solutions, an increasing number of vendors have begun to contemplate steering away from the controller IC market, while only a few are believed to be capable of competing effectively Taking into account the aforementioned development, TrendForce believes the USB 30 controller IC market will soon end up being in a similar state as the market in the USB 20 era That is, only 5 to 6 major vendors are likely to be supplying the major controller IC products

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