Top 10 tech industry trends for 2023: TrendForce

TrendForce has revealed top 10 trends that are expected to take place across various segments in the tech industry.
Kazakhstan mobile networkAdvanced Foundry Processes Reach Transistor Structure Transition Period

Pure foundry processes transitioned from Planar Transistor to the FinFET generation starting from the 16nm node. After the development of the 7nm process and the introduction of EUV lithography technology, FinFET structure encountered physical limits at the 3nm node. Since then, the two leaders in advanced manufacturing processes have diverged. TSMC continues utilizing FinFET structure in mass-produced 3nm products in 2H22, which will be officially released in 1H23, with the scale of mass production increasing quarter by quarter. In 2023, TSMC 3nm products will include PC CPU and smartphone SoC.  Samsung began introducing the GAAFET-based MBCFET architecture (Multi-Bridge Channel Field-Effect Transistor) at 3nm and this process will begin mass-production in 2022. Its first-generation product is a cryptocurrency mining chip. In 2023, Samsung will focus on second generation 3nm processes, with a goal of mass-producing smartphone SoCs. Both companies remain focused on high-performance computing and smart phone platforms in the initial stage of 3nm mass production as these products have higher requirements for improving performance, lowering power consumption, and reducing chip area.

Development Trends Focus on Automotive IC Design, Third Generation Semiconductors on the Rise

The automotive industry is trending towards C-A-S-E, driving demand for automotive semiconductors. Automotive semiconductors are essentially divided into two categories: IDM and Fabless. As traditional automotive chip suppliers, IDMs offer a fairly complete selection of various ECUs and have gradually evolved from a traditional distributed architecture to Domain Control Unit (DCU) and Zone Control Unit (ZCU) architectures. Fabless continues to focus on the field of high-performance computing for vehicles and develop in-vehicle telematics systems and SoCs for self-driving computing. Due to the complexity of automotive functions, the 32-Bit MCU type ECU has become the mainstream specification in the market. In 2023, its penetration rate will exceed 60 percent with a market value reaching US$7.4 billion and it will develop towards processes below 28nm.

New DRAM Generation Takes Shape, Development of 200+ Layer NAND Flash Accelerates

In 2023, not only will server CPUs such as Intel Sapphire Rapids and AMD Genoa support CXL 1.0, but DRAM modules will also employ DDR5. Furthermore, in order to run AI and ML (Machine Learning) operations effectively, certain server GPUs will introduce a new generation of HBM3 specifications.

In terms of NAND Flash, the number of stacked layers will accelerate in 2023 and four suppliers are expected to move towards 200+ layer technology. Some manufacturers will even mass-produce PLC (Penta Level Cell), hoping for an opportunity to replace HDD applications on servers in the future as unit growth is further optimized. In terms of SSD transfer interfaces, with the mass production of Intel Sapphire Rapids and AMD Genoa in 2023, enterprise SSDs will be further upgraded to support PCIe 5.0 transfer, increasing transfer rate manifold to 32GT/s to be utilized for high-speed computing needs such as AI/ML and also contributing to the rapid increase in the average capacity of enterprise SSDs.

Automotive MLCC Development Accelerating Due to Rising Assisted Driving Penetration Rate

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are becoming a standard feature on new cars. L1/L2 is the primary configuration level in the market at this stage, utilizing approximately1,800~2,200 automotive MLCCs. As semiconductor IDM developed ADAS-specific MCUs, Sensor ICs, etc. become increasingly mature, L3-level ADAS systems will become a central upgrade sought by many luxury-manufacturers for their high-end car models starting from 2023, leading MLCC consumption to jump to 3000~3500 units.

Production Capacity and Technology Secured, Chinese Panel Makers Expand Influence in Small-size AMOLED Market

With the gradual expansion of China’s AMOLED production capacity, the development of the small-size mobile phone market has increased in influence. Korean panel manufacturers and brands were previously major leading companies in the flagship-oriented folding mobile phone market. Local Chinese mobile phone brands are expected to gradually expand the use of foldable AMOLED panels sourced from Chinese panel factories. In order to reduce massive flexible AMOLED production capacity, panel makers are aggressively optimizing costs. AMOLED driver ICs are expected to be converted to a RAM-less architecture to reduce costs.

AMOLED notebooks are expected to account for approximately 1.2 percent of the overall notebook market in 2022 and approximately 1.7 percent in 2023. The decisive key to accelerated mid-size market development in terms of AMOLED panels revolves around Apple’s future plans for iPad and Macbook series products, as Apple has begun to consider the use of AMOLED panels.

Micro LED Diversifies into More Applications, TV and Automotive Displays Drive Mini LED Backlight Penetration

In 2022, shipments of Mini LED backlight displays will come in at approximately 16.8 million units, an increase of 74 percent YoY, of which TV applications will account for the greatest investment by brands. There are three main reason. First of all, Mini LED technology is the best solution for improving LCD contrast. Secondly, due to limited OLED production capacity, more than 95 percent of flat-screen TVs are expected to retain the use of LCD technology in 2023. Mini LED TV shipments are estimated to reach 4.4 million units in 2023, an annual increase of approximately 13 percent.

Proportion of 5G Smartphones Expected to Increase to 60 percent

Smartphone brands are committed to software algorithms and the promotion of peripheral services such as partnerships with optical giants Zeiss and Leica in the field of video algorithms and providing payment and video streaming services. The proportion of 5G smartphones is expected to officially top 50 percent. As display technology advances, the penetration rate of OLED folding mobile phones is estimated to reach 1.1 percent in 2022.

AR/VR Products Become Cornerstone of Green Production, Accelerate Metaverse Popularization

The Metaverse will prompt branded manufacturers to accelerate investments in AR/VR product development and bring more products to marker in 2023. At the same time, manufacturers will also actively promote various Metaverse application services to drive demand in the AR/VR hardware market through platform services and use the virtual interactive experience provided by hardware devices to enhance the benefits of Metaverse applications.

Large-scale Commercial Use of 5G FWA Adopted Globally in 2023, Accelerates Popularization of Home Broadband

83 operators in more than 45 countries and regions worldwide have launched 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA services. FWA operators need to provide data at the lowest possible total cost of ownership (TCO), while ensuring network connectivity and the future development of the entire broad ecosystem. Operators are also considering expanding the deployment of FWA services, accelerating the provision of broadband Internet services, and improving transmission rates through wireless communication technology. Deploying 5G FWA services involves shorter time-to-market and lower cost.