In STMicroelectronics Q313 Earnings Conference Call, CEO/President Carlo Bozotti and CMO/CTO Jean-Marc Chery (who’s also EVP and GM of the Embedded Processing Solutions Segment and Vice Chairman of the Corporate Strategic Committee) had excellent things to say about FD-SOI and RF-SOI.
Here are some take-aways from the SeekingAlpha transcript:
“We continue to demonstrate strong momentum with our low-power, high-performance FD-SOI technology with seven design wins to date, and a sustained high level of customer interest.”
The seven FD-SOI-based wins are custom products, Bozotti explains. The first product from ST will be a new home gateway product (note that outside of the US, ST is the world leader in chips for set-top boxes). It will be sampling in Q2, and includes RF-SOI technologies. Overall, ST sees three main venues for its FD-SOI technology: portable consumer ASICs, communication infrastructure ASICs and their own home gateway products.
RF-SOI, which originally came from ST-Ericsson, is an area in which the company sees significant opportunities for expansion.
In the short-term, says Chery, the company’s FD-SOI technology will enable them to gain market share in complex ASICs for communication equipment, and to enter new markets for high-volume consumer ASICs. The additional business will start in the second half of next year, and continue to grow in 2015.
Another product group that will benefit from FD-SOI is Image Signal Processors (ISP). Chery points out that with more and more sensors, you will have to process more and more data. The ratio of performance versus power consumption is therefore key for ISPs. Secondly, with the boom in connected devices, you need performance but with very, very low power consumption. He points out that one of the key features of FD-SOI is just that: the ability to operate at very low operating voltage with very, very low power consumption but still deliver enough performance for the Internet of Things.
He concludes that FD-SOI is a technology that is much simpler than FinFETs (which he refers to euphemistically as “complex 3D”). In the end, for 14nm consumer applications, though, the biggest driver is cost-of-ownership, where FD-SOI has a clear advantage over FinFETs.
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