TSMC: forget PCs

Yee-Chaung See, senior director of R&D at TSMC confirmed what we all really know – mobiles and tablets rule and PCs are on the way out.

He said that figures showed that people use their smartphones for an average of an hour a day, but only 26 percent of that time is used talking. Mobile users will download a staggering 70 billion apps this year.

Apps revenue grew by nine percent to reach $2.2 billion in the first quarter of 2013, he said.  And TSMC estimates that there will be half a billion m-banking users by 2015.

TSMC already has 20 nano SoCs in production, said See. And it will finish qualification of 16 nano SoCs this year.  It’s seeing high yields already on its SRAM test  bed.  TSMC is focusing on 3D stacking of its chips.  

With the 3D technology it will aim to produce a silicon system superchip integrating such functions as analogue, image sensor, photonics, MEMs sensorts, drivers and TSV/CoWos.

Moving to 450 millimetre wafers will help TSMC reduce costs, said See. There are collaborative efforts in EUV with other manufacturers all aimed at reducing the cost. There are many associated problems with EUV, he said. ASML is investing a lot of money to bring EUV to reality.  Defects in the mask have to be fixed. Unless the industry collaborates on these efforts, the challenges can’t be overcome. EUV and 450mm wafers both need a lot more hard work. See said that when TSMC manufactures seven nanometre chips it will be using 450mm wafers.

TSMC “will never” compete with its customers, said See. Unlike Intel?