Tag: Qualcomm

Qualcomm sells UK spectrum

LPSpectrumChipmaker Qualcomm has sold  its UK spectrum rights to Vodafone and CK Hutchison Holdings for $313.8 million.

This is not bad really because the company paid only £8.3 million at auction in 2008 so it certainly got more than its money back.

The deal is subject to approval by communications regulator Ofcom.

Qualcomm in June announced that it was putting a chunk of spectrum up for sale in Britain, which could appeal to mobile operators grappling with demand for Internet access.

The chipmaker said in July it might break itself up as it delivered its third profit warning this year and said it planned to slash jobs and spending in a competitive environment.

When Qualcomm bought the spectrum it was believed to be a way to roll out its MediaFLO, the mobile TV broadcast system, a rival to DVB-H. But the mobile TV standards proved to be dismal failures Qualcomm didn’t have any use for the substantial chunk of spectrum.

 

EU quizzes Qualcomm rivals about evil

movies-60-years-of-bond-gallery-7EU antitrust regulators have sent a questionnaire to Qualcomm’s rivals asking if it has been committing any atrocities over the way it licenses products.

Qualcomm has been feeling the regulatory heat in Europe, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea in recent years as watchdogs focus on its licensing model and its power over patents.

The bulk of its revenue comes from selling baseband chips, which let phones communicate with carrier networks, but a large portion of its profit comes from licensing patents for its CDMA mobile technology.

The European Commission told Qualcomm last year that it was investigating the way it sells and marketed chips and its rebates and financial incentives offered to customers.

The EU competition authority asked about the impact of various Qualcomm practices such as pass-through rights where phone makers are allowed to use patents already licensed by Qualcomm.

It also wanted to know how they feel about cross-licences and mutual non-assertion provisions in which companies agree not to enforce patent rights against each other.

Recipients of the document of more than 40 questions have until mid-May to respond.

A Commission spokeswoman declined to comment and Qualcomm had no immediate comment.

This is one of two EU inquiries into the company. The other probe, begun in 2010, was triggered by a complaint from British cell phone chipmaker Icera, a subsidiary of Nvidia, about rebates and financial incentives.

 

Qualcomm to outsource Snapdragon to Samsung

qualcomm-snapdragonUS chipmaker Qualcomm is going to outsource the production of its new Snapdragon 820, to Samsung so ti can take advantage of its 14nm node process.

Samsung has demonstrated its 14nm as a proven process as showcased by the performance and power consumption of its14nm EXynos 7420 CPU developed in house.

Digitimes Research thinks that since Samsung has also been aggressively striving for orders with competitive pricing, other players such as Nvidia, AMD and MediaTek are believed to have a high chance of shifting part of their orders to Samsung.

It warns that this could affect the global mobile AP market in 2015 and 2016.

Qualcomm was forced to accelerate the roadmap of its mobile AP following a mishap of the Snapdragon 810 and is also being pushed to fabricate its Snapdragon 820 via Samsung’s 14nm process as the development of a similar advanced 16nm process by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacture Company (TSMC) is currently lagging Samsung’s 14nm node by about one quarter.

With Samsung shifting to use in-house developed APs for its high-end models such as the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 instead of Qualcomm’s APs, Qualcomm is expected to see its high-end AP shipments halve to 100 million units in 2015. As a result, the Snapdragon 820 might be used as a bargain chip persuading Samsung to purchase more of its high-end Snapdragon chips.

Qualcomm is likely to outsource up to half of the Snapdragon 820 chips to Samsung in 2016, attracting other chip suppliers to follow suit.

Windows 10: Summer is a coming in

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseWe’ve already written how Microsoft is to give away Windows 10 to Chinese users but senior VP Terry Myers has revealed other elements that he hopes will give his company an edge on the operating systems front.

Speaking at a Windows technical conference in China, Myers said the firm will roll Windows 10 out this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages.

He showed off a feature called Windows Hello that supports biometric authentication rather than the usual typed in passwords. Hello will use facial recognition, iris recognition or fingerprints to unlock devices using the Intel RealSense F200 sensor.

He also said there will be a new version of Windows specifically aimed at the internet of things (IoT) market – and that version of Windows will be free and see applications in ATMs, ultrasound machines, and gateways.

Microsoft has signed deals with a number of organisations including the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Qualcomm, Intel and others.

Myerson also announced the Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C which is a Windows 10 developer board with integrated wi-fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and uses a smartphone style Snapdragon 410 chipset.

He claimed that Windows 10 is the only operating system that has a reach across such a broad family of hardware.

 

Freescale-NXP merger challenges the giants

renesas-chips (1)The proposed merger of Freescale and NXP will result in a semiconductor company that challenges the giants.

That’s according to chief analyst Dale Ford at IHS, who said the merged entity will be in the top 10 semiconductor companies in the world, outranking other giants such as Broadcom and ST Microelectronics.

He said the strength of uniting Freescale and NXP will be shown in automotive applications particularly.

NXP, formerly the semiconductor division of Dutch giant Philips, used to compete in the same market, said Ford.

But the new top 10 will look fundamentally different. By revenues, Intel will remain number one with 14.14 percent, followed by Samsung, Qualcomm, SK Hynix, US DRAM firm Micron, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.

The merged company will be second place in the micro controller market, and it will also have significant share in the digital signal processing (DSP) market, much used in consumer applications.

IHS noted in its report that Freescale is practically an exclusive source for power architecture processors – and although its share in this market is tiny compared to ARM and X86 semiconductors, it has big wins in the military aerospace market.

Qualcomm gives fingers for ultra-security

Churchill-first-V-signQualcomm has announced details of its Ultrasonic Finger Print Reader which is part of its  new Snapdragon processor.

The idea is that the tech can be used by smartphone ODMs and OEMs to provide ultrasecurity for their phones.

Qualcomm’s tech uses ultrasonic waves to scan all of the ridges and wrinkles of your fingers. This means that it can do a deeper analysis than the 2D image created by a fingerprint mashed up against a capacitive sensor.

It can also penetrate beneath the surface of your skin to identify unique 3D characteristics of your print.

Ultrasonic waves can go through glass, aluminum, steel and plastic housings of any phone, they don’t need a dedicated touch pad or button to work. You could conceivably touch any part of the smartphone with a finger to gain access to the phone itself.

While many might see the technology as a stab in the eye of Apple, which uses the old style of fingerprint technology. Qualcomm’s major competitor is MediaTek, whose processors and related technology are used in millions of phones, especially in China and areas where low cost smartphones are selling well.

Qualcomm’s new Ultrasound fingerprint reader means it has a weapon to counter MediaTek.

The thought is that this could win Qualcomm a lot of business.

 

 

New chips put Qualcomm on top for now

qualcomm-snapdragonQualcomm has released four Snapdragons 415, 425, 618, and 620 which tighten its grip on the mobile chip maket.

All the SoCs support 64-bit, they all connect to 4G LTE networks—the 425, 618, and 620 and can support super-fast 300 megabit per second networks. The last two chips are based around ARM’s new Cortex A72, instead of a more in-house chip design.

The Snapdragon 618 supports a “next generation Adreno GPU,” an integrated category 7 LTE-Advanced modem (300 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload) and dual image signal processors which support 21 megapixel cameras. It also supports HEVC/H.265 video encode and decode.

The Snapdragon 620 is more of the same but with four Cortex A72 cores instead of two word on the street is that it has a better GPU too.

All the chips should be in the shops in the second half of 2015 where they might rule the mid-range market.

Qualcomm has been snuggling up to ARM lately so that it can focus on the other components of the chip, particularly graphics and the various wireless radios. This has meant that it can churn out chips just as the world wants faster, next generation LTE-Advanced networks.

It is clearly in the lead for now, but that is set to change. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S6 will have its own designed and manufactured chip under the bonnet. This is because it said it did not like what Qualcomm was doing. Sony and HTC are also dissatisfied and are flirting with chips from MediaTek.
LG’s already working on its own “NUCLUN” chip and there is mutterings that even Intel might have something better.

 

South Korea snaps on Qualcomm antitrust dragon

qualcomm-snapdragonSouth Korea’s Fair Trade Commission is investigating Qualcomm, adding to more antitrust woes for the US chipmaker.

The outfit had a record fine it agreed to pay in China, and claimed that other antitrust authorities would see its actions differently.

South Korea’s Maeil Business newspaper, without citing direct sources, reported that the commission will look into whether Qualcomm is abusing its dominant market position.

As part of its investigation, the commission plans to send inquiries to domestic smartphone makers such as Samsung and Intel.

Qualcomm is also dealing with antitrust probes in Europe and the United States. In their investigation of Qualcomm, Chinese antitrust officials had met with their South Korean counterparts.

In 2009, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission fined Qualcomm more than $200 million for abusing its dominant market position, so it will be especially interested because the outfit has previous form.

Qualcomm faces billion dollar fine

qualcomm-snapdragonUS tech giant Qualcomm may face a fine of as much as $1 billion after antitrust regulators decide on its future.
And it may also face sanctions that make it cut its royalties by a third.
Reuters reports that talks between Qualcomm and the authorities in China are close to reaching a conclusion.
The article quotes Xu Dunlin, head of China’s antitrust agency, as saying his authority will soon release details of the settlement.
The ruling will have a significant effect on Qualcomm because nearly fifty percent of its worldwide revenues from from the country.
Further, much of its profits come from royalties through its licensing division.
Reuters says that it’s not just Qualcomm that faces a problem from the Chinese agency.  It is also investigating Microsoft and Samsung to see if they infringe its antitrust rules.
It’s estimated that Qualcomm generates over $25.5 billion in revenues from the Chinese mainland.

 

Intel buys German chip company

Intel Q4_14_ResultsGiant US microprocessor combine Intel has paid an unknown amount of money to snap up a Germany chip company.
Lantiq, owned since 2009 by a private equity company makes semiconductors used in different applications including broadband, wi-fi, and fibre connections.
Lantiq was sold to private equity company Golden Gate for a quarter of million euro. Lantiq was originally a wing of Infineon.
It’s believed that the Intel acquisition is part of its attempt to be a major player in the much hyped “internet of things”.
But while there is no doubt that the internet of things will generate a lot of revenue, there is no one standard and other companies, including Qualcomm and Google want to grab a share of that market too.

 

Intel carries on wasting money

Intel Q4_14_ResultsChip giant Intel is being stubborn about its mobile strategy and will continue to throw money at the problem.
The firm has attempted to make headway in the tablet and smartphone market but has wasted around $7 billion so far without very much result.
Now, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, there’s evidence that Intel is going to carry on wasting money in a segment that has brought it nothing but woe so far.
Digitimes said that it is in cahoots with Chinese firms Spreadtrum and Rockchip and wants to continue to compete with Qualcomm and Mediatek in these markets.
The report claimed that it has licensed its X86 tech to both companies in a bid to ramp up its mobile business.
The report said Spreadtrum will release a number of system on a chip devices in the second half of this year.
Intel apparently wants to be a leader in the much hyped “internet of things”.

 

LG might sue over fire breathing snapdragons

dragonLG is behaving oddly over moves by Qualcomm to fix overheating problems in its Snapdragon 810 chip.

Samsung told Qualcomm it would not use the chip for its Galaxy S6 model because of overheating problems and Qualcomm suggested it would make a few modifications.

However LG, which is also using the chip, appears outraged. Its initial response to Samsung’s statement was that the chip never overheated and there were no problems.  Now it is threatening to take legal action against Qualcomm if it modifies its latest Snapdragon 810 chip.

Its argument is that if Qualcomm modifies the Snapdragon 810, it means that the company admits the chipset has a flaw. Then it could trigger legal disputes, a spokesLG said.

So in other words – LG claims there is nothing wrong with the chip, but if Qualcomm admits there is something wrong with the chip then it will sue.

The question here is then why LG did not detect the Snapdragon’s fire breathing qualities.

It has been suggested that Qualcomm will provide a modified chipset to Samsung, something that Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics declined to confirm.

The Snapdragon 810 is designed as a 20-nanometer flagship mobile processor for top-tier smartphones.

The system on chip (SoC) integrates the fourth-generation long-term evolution advanced model (LTE-A), dubbed category 6, and theoretically supports up to 450 megabits-per-second data download speed.

But Samsung was worried that the chipset had a serious “throttling” problem that forcibly limits the graphic processing performance when it overheats, reports said.

Analysts said that a chipmaker could modify a new chip before mass production and Qualcomm may update it if its major client Samsung is uncomfortable with the overheating problem.

Qualcomm has said it will start mass-producing the Snapdragon 810 in the first half of the year.

For Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics is one of the most important partners, so the company is likely to show some reaction to the overheating issue.

 

 

 

Mediatek munches up Qualcomm’s lead

qualcomm-snapdragonA report from US firm Strategy Analytics said that while Qualcomm still had a 64 percent lead in the third quarter of 2014, its lead is being eaten into by Mediatek.
Mediatek has 17 percent share of the top five baseband revenues, followed by Spreatrum with six percent revenue share.
Qualcomm did have 85 percent share in the LTE baseband market but that fell to less than 80 percent in the period, mostly due to incursions from the Chinese company.
Mediatek overtook Marvell and Strategy Analytics believe it is set to continue its growth in LTE.
During the quarter, HiSilicon, Intel and Marvell made progress in the marketplace.  Intel won some major design wins with Samsung.

 

Samsung snubs Qualcomm

qualcomm-snapdragonSamsung has ruled out using Qualcomm processors for the next version of the South Korean technology giant’s flagship Galaxy S smartphone.

Apparently the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip had a nasty habit of overheating when Samsung came to test it. Samsung will use its own processors instead.

This would be a huge blow to Qualcomm which is the world’s largest maker of semiconductors used in phones, and has been supplying Samsung with chips that run the company’s best-selling handsets for ages.

Samsung is Qualcomm’s second-largest customer, providing about 12 percent of its sales, according to Bloomberg supply chain analysis.

It also gives Samsung a reason to boost its own processor-making division as it spends $15 billion on a new factory outside Seoul.

Samsung is expected to release the next Galaxy S as early as March, and it can’t dare to take the risk to use any of the chips in question for its most important model.

The company has been taking a kicking lately as smartphone sales slow.  Releasing a phone into the market with a hot chip could sink it.

Qualcomm has not commented on the news shares fell on the news.  In Europe they fell to 1.2 percent. Samsung shares rose 1.7 percent  as news got out.

Qualcomm said in April its latest 808 and 810 processors will start appearing in phones at the beginning of this year and will feature more advanced computing, graphics and radio capabilities. Xiaomi and LG are among the manufacturers preparing to release models with the Snapdragon 810.

 

Chip sales up in 2014

Sales of semiconductors rose by 7.9 percent in 2013, with Intel continuing to rule the chip roost.
intel_log_reversedA report from Gartner said the top 25 vendors revenues rose by 11.7 percent, with those vendors grabbing 72.1 percent of the entire market revenues.
But it was DRAM sales that really shone last year.  Gartner said the market grew by 31.7 percent during the year and undersupply and stable pricing continued to be the order of the day.
Andrew Norwood, a VP at Gartner, said all device categories grew in 2014 but the memory market outstripped them all.
Norwood said Intel saw a return of growth in 2014 after two years of seeing its revenues decline.
Intel’s Datacenter Group was the most stable of its different business units.
While Intel will reach its target of selling 40 million tablet microprocessors in 2014, they’re being sold at big discounts and with subsidies for vendors buying them.
Intel’s been the number one chip company for the last 23 years and owns 15 percent of the 2014 semiconductor market.
The next four top semi companies are Samsung, Qualcomm, Micron and SK Hynix.