The semiconductor industry is the foundation of our digital world. Everything runs on semiconductor products and continues to advance with each new process node. As we reach the physical limits of Moore’s Law, what comes next? Heterogenous computing and heterogenous packaging are opening up new possibilities for progressing Moore's Law through advancements in the way that we design, integrate semiconductor devices and systems.
Satellite communications have become cool again thanks to a new breed of LEO or low Earth orbit satellites that are the staple of Tesla’s Starlink constellation and Amazon’s Project Kuiper which received FCC approval in July of 2020. These satellites are deployed in the thousands with the purpose of providing global broadband coverage.
Telco operators have great expectations of 5G and the industry hype mill has set very high bar for the value that 5G technologies and new market possibilities will bring to the communications sector. Is this excitement justified given the rapidly shifting ICT landscape? We are witnessing a dramatic change in the face of competitors and partners as new entrants into the communications service provider (CSP) space change the OTT dynamic and introduce a new breed of UTB (Under the Bottom) threat to traditional telco operators. Who will win 5G gold?
Shortly after Softbank announced that it was looking to spinoff or sell Arm, which they acquired in 2016 for $32 billion, the rumor mill went into full speed. Speculation ran the gamut from Intel to Apple as potential buyers. Who would court Arm? Rumors settled on Nvidia, the GPU company. Would a Nvidia + Arm union make sense? After all, Nvidia has done well and created a disruptive narrative within the semiconductor industry with its GPU-centered plot line which branches off into numerous subplots in telco networking, edge computing and various AI application domains such as autonomous vehicles, intelligent systems and smart manufacturing.
An unexpected but pleasant surprise was announced at Qualcomm's recent earnings call. Huawei had settled its $1.8 billion dispute with Qualcomm regarding the licensing of essential technologies. It represents another important win for Qualcomm in its long and hard fought battle with OEMs including Apple to preserve the integrity and vitality of its technology business. It can be considered a win for innovation. But what does the settlement mean in the grand scheme of things and the rising tensions between the US government and Huawei?
5G is here,.. but what does that mean. Apparently, it means a lot of things due to the myths and the hype that have characterized the next-generation mobile wireless technology and its early rollout by operators beginning in early 2019. Given the deafening media and marketing noise that has drowned out the 5G signal, it is difficult to figure out what is real and what is, quite simply, fake. What are the facts that debunk the myths and hype so that we can get to the value of 5G?
At Apple’s 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Tim Cook delivered the headline that we long anticipated - Macs will transition away from Intel’s x86 processors and adopt Apple’s own proprietary silicon. Why not? After all, Apple has been designing industry-leading processors for its iPhone and Apple Watch which have also powered the iPad, iPod and Apple TV. The writing was on the wall that Apple would bring the Mac into the Apple silicon fold.
In the last three months, Microsoft has been on a tear building out its portfolio of 5G core and virtualized network service management technologies having acquired Affirmed Networks, and most recently, Metaswitch. The acquisition of these telecom tech companies by the leading enterprise IT technology company and cloud service provider may seem curious at first, but these transactions highlight the acceleration of a transformative trend that we at neXt Curve dubbed Under-the-Bottom (UTB) in our 2019 technology horizon study for Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s communications and media sector regulator.
Necessity is the mother of invention. There has been no moment of need in modern times as urgent as what we face today as humanity grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. In three months, the virus has spread to over 180 countries around the globe, infecting millions, and has arrested the largest and smallest of economies. At the same time, it has created an unprecedented need for connectivity and communications. Now, more than ever, unconventional thinking and leadership as well as innovative applications of technologies such as 5G are dire necessities for addressing the many COVID-19-related challenges that are disrupting millions of lives and jeopardizing trillions in economic value.
For years the Smart Home has promised to enrich the lives of consumers and has inspired waves of manufacturer innovation such as smart speakers, intelligent thermostats and much more. While these innovations have offered incremental improvement in our home lives, the consumer reality has been a deluge of devices and services, greater complexity, and less security. In truth, the Smart Home remains elusive, the problems it intends to solve unclear. Only when manufacturers reach beyond devices and services with purpose-driven “Smart Living” solutions at home will this market cross the chasm to rapid market growth.