Is Intel’s Crown Up for Grabs?
It’s no secret that when it comes to the semiconductor market, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is King.
The company raked in $49.6 billion in revenue this year alone, according to research from IHS iSuppli. That’s 15.9% of the total semiconductor industry revenue for 2011. It’s closest competitor, Samsung (SEO: 005930), only commands 9.3%.
And it doesn’t look like Intel’s giving up the crown anytime soon, either.
- Products running on its revolutionary 3-D Ivy Bridge chip – which takes up less space and drains less power than traditional 2-D chips – should be available as early as April.
- The company is already working on its next-generation processor that uses even less power than Ivy Bridge.
- And CEO, Paul Otellini, recently announced a partnership with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Not a bad move, considering Intel has yet to dive into the smartphone market. Plus, Android is demolishing competitors right now.
So with Intel’s solid roadmap and vice grip on the market, how can competitors hope to catch up?
California-based, SuVolta, might be able to help…
The Key to Longer Battery Life: Stop Giving Chips So Much Juice
SuVolta is a semiconductor company that’s dedicated to driving down power consumption of processor chips. According to the company, “Reducing power means we must find a way to reduce the supply voltage.”
Simply put, the amount of voltage used by transistors on a chip varies, which leads to what SuVolta calls a “voltage roadblock.” Designers usually compensate for this variability by supplying more juice in order to keep the transistors on the same page.
Of course, this translates into power drain.
But that’s where SuVolta’s PowerShrink platform comes in.
Essentially, PowerShrink provides more control over the voltage differences in a chip’s numerous transistors. This leads to 30% less power drain. And it boosts the processor’s speed.
The best part is, it’s compatible with existing manufacturing and design flows. So chipmakers don’t need to completely revamp production processes to integrate the technology.
Faster speeds, lower power consumption and no arduous factory customizations to boot?
No wonder chipmakers are already tuned in…
SuVolta is Turning Heads
PowerShrink is attracting a lot of attention from Intel’s competitors right now.
Take ARM (LON: ARM), for example. The company’s VP of Research and Development says, “The aim is to avoid excessive upgrade costs in new fabrication facilities. SuVolta’s innovative PowerShrink platform offers a promising approach… The results could significantly lower power consumption in future high-performance, low-power chips.”
According to Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM), “SuVolta’s low-power platform could have a dramatic impact on the industry…. [and] reducing power and cost of highly-integrated [chips].”
And Cypress Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CY) says, “Power and cost are the primarily limiters of scaling semiconductor [production]… And [this] negates the need for costly, complex technologies.”
To top it off, Fujitsu (TYO: 6702) has already licensed the technology and developed a chip integrating PowerShrink. Since the company has verified that the chip requires less voltage, and the technology can be implemented using “existing manufacturing tools,” we could see a consumer-ready product in the second half of 2012.
Just in time to go up against devices running on Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor!
But is SuVolta’s technology powerful enough to make Intel look over its shoulder? Let’s hope so.
After all, with endorsements like the ones above, you can bet more companies are going to follow in Fujitsu’s footsteps. The increased competition is sure to light an even bigger fire under Intel’s R&D team, too.
If that means faster and more efficient smartphones, computers and tablets for us down the road, that’s just fine by me.