Freescale Semiconductor: Important for R&D players to invest in home grown solutions


Ganesh Guruswamy, VP and country manager, Freescale Semiconductor India speaks about the importance of research and development to compete with the growing influx of smart phones in India.



What are the challenges faced by OEMs in India in the domain of smart phones, e-readers, and similar smart devices?



According to IDC there are about 2.5 million smart phones in India and the numbers are expected to increase tremendously in near future. This makes India the third largest smart phone (enterprise and high end multimedia devices combined) market in the Asia Pacific region, after Japan and China. Smartphone sales are expected to surpass PC sales in 2012, and IDC expects the overall Smartphone market to further expand by 24.5 percent in 2011 at over 330 million units of global sales.



As consumers become better-informed their demands from the gadgets become more specific. The emergence of video applications enabled by 3G bandwidth, and the rise of computing-intensive gaming applications, has driven rapid innovations in wireless, processor, memory, display, and battery technologies, as well as advances in packaging techniques.  The biggest challenge right now is to capture the vast opportunities, while developing new technologies. The need of the hour is to be more innovative and make your existing and future products smarter to survive in this competitive environment.



How will i.MX 6 series of quad- dual and single-core application processors help the telecom players and OEMs?



Freescale’s i.MX 6 series of quad-, dual- and single-core applications processors are designed to deliver outstanding performance and scalability to manufacturers targeting the smart mobile, automotive infotainment and embedded device categories.  The i.MX 6 series delivers up to five times the performance of Freescale’s current generation of applications processors and integrates one, two or four ARM Cortex-A9 cores running at up to 1.2 GHz each. This performance provides additional headroom for unbounded user experiences in next-generation tablets, eReaders, smartphones, automotive infotainment systems and other consumer and automotive products.



Scalability across single-, dual- and quad-core products is a hallmark of the i.MX 6 series. Coupled with planned support for consumer, auto and industrial temperature requirements, the i.MX series offers OEMs fast time-to-value, enabling the rapid creation of complete end-product portfolios that can adjust and scale to meet evolving market demands and requirements. The i.MX 6 series provides low- power, cost efficiency, enormous processing headroom and unmatched compatibility which in result offer consumers with novel and uncompromised online experiences that they demand and expect from next- generation connected consumer electronic products. The series targets several of the fastest-growing application spaces in the consumer market. This platform in turn provides a new level of multimedia performance ideal for many smart mobile devices.



What are some of the latest products that Freescale has launched internationally?



Freescale has been working on various processor families for the automotive and healthcare sectors. We are also majorly targeting the hottest selling categories of tablets, smart books, and automotive infotainment. The i.MX 6 series is a major innovation for this sector.  Freescale is also expanding the i.MX53 product family with the i.MX538 derivative for consumer applications. Based on Freescale’s latest implementation of the advanced ARM Cortex-A8 core, these new processors deliver ultra-fast processing for applications including tablets, smartphones, automotive infotainment systems, patient monitoring equipment and industrial devices with human-machine interfaces. The SABRE platform for tablets, based on i.MX53 technology, offers market-specific connectivity and user interfaces to help speed system-level development of next-generation tablets and mobile devices.



Do you have any product to tackle voluminous 3G data traffic?



Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge portfolio of base station-on-chip products is designed to tackle explosion in mobile data flow with advent of 3G. This range enables base station manufacturers to provide a dramatic, step-function improvement in performance, power and cost in a single, flexible architecture which in turn can address the challenges of the sector.



What is the state of the semiconductor market at present in India?



The Indian subcontinent has witnessed a huge influx of global semiconductor firms over the past decade.  Global players now view India as a market with huge potential. The Indian semiconductor market has seen a steady growth over the past few years. According to a recent report released by the Indian Semiconductor Association, the Indian semiconductor industry, the semiconductor design industry in India, consisting of VLSI design, board/hardware design and embedded software development, was estimated to be US$ 6.5 billion in 2009 and is expected to log a compound annual growth rate of 17.3% over the next three years to reach US$ 10.6 billion in 2012. Also, according to a report released by RNCOS on -Semiconductor Industry Forecast to 2012′, India is anticipated to emerge as a semiconductor export hub by 2015, mainly due to favorable government policies, qualified pool of professionals, supporting hardware production and low costs of freight.



What are some of the challenges faced and what scope of improvement do you see going forward?



One of the biggest challenges with the Indian market is that the country has a vast expanse. One has to look at the country not as one place but as different places with different requirements, which need individual attention. As we transitioned into the digital age and mobile population what suited the earlier generation man not deem fit for the current. Tech savvy, cost sensitive, global outlook is what define our new age customers. But still what works globally may not be suitable for the Indian market that caters to both urban and rural population. Thus, we need to devise products that cater to the categories, luxury and mass market. It is becoming increasingly important that R&D players invest for home grown solutions as well which can be ranging from solar energy for generating power to devising cost effective connectivity solutions. This quest will take us to the new direction where we are trying to develop technology that makes life easy, sustainable while being cost effective. Apart from this emerging competition from South East Asian countries and eroding cost advantage will pose challenges for the Indian semiconductor industry.



However despite these challenges, there is a huge scope of improvement for the same. For this, one has to understand the local market dynamics. We have a huge talent pool and the challenge in front of us is to use these resources to innovate for the local market.