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India PC Market Ships 4.5 Million Units in 3Q21, Reports All-Time High Shipments, According to IDC

The India traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) continued its growth momentum despite ongoing supply and logistical challenges. The traditional PC shipments witnessed a 30% year-over-year (YoY) growth in 3Q21 (Jul-Sep), marking the fifth consecutive quarter of growth in India, according to new data from the International Data Corporation 's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. A total of 4.5 million PCs were shipped during the quarter, making it India's biggest-ever single quarter. To put this in perspective, it is bigger than the total yearly consumer shipments in 2019, a year before the pandemic hit us. As a result, many brands also reported their biggest quarter of PC shipments.

Notebook PCs continue to dominate the overall category with more than 80% share. Enterprise and consumer demand helped the Notebook category to reach over 3 million units for the first time, and the desktop category also continued its upward momentum as it grew by 30.5% YoY in 3Q21.

Apple Announces Self Service Repair

Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Customers join more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers who have access to these parts, tools, and manuals.

The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year.

IBM Unveils Breakthrough 127-Qubit Quantum Processor

IBM today announced its new 127-quantum bit (qubit) 'Eagle' processor at the IBM Quantum Summit 2021, its annual event to showcase milestones in quantum hardware, software, and the growth of the quantum ecosystem. The 'Eagle' processor is a breakthrough in tapping into the massive computing potential of devices based on quantum physics. It heralds the point in hardware development where quantum circuits cannot be reliably simulated exactly on a classical computer. IBM also previewed plans for IBM Quantum System Two, the next generation of quantum systems.

Quantum computing taps into the fundamental quantum nature of matter at subatomic levels to offer the possibility of vastly increased computing power. The fundamental computational unit of quantum computing is the quantum circuit, an arrangement of qubits into quantum gates and measurements. The more qubits a quantum processor possesses, the more complex and valuable the quantum circuits that it can run.

Global Ranking of Top 10 SSD Module Makers for 2020 Shows 15% YoY Drop in Annual Shipment, Says TrendForce

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic led to severe delays in manufacturing and logistics. In particular, governments worldwide began implementing border restrictions in 2Q20 to combat the ongoing health crisis, leading to a sudden decline in order volumes for channel-market SSDs, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Annual shipment of SSDs to the channel (retail) market reached 111.5 million units in 2020, a 15% YoY decrease. In terms of market share by shipment, Kingston, ADATA, and Kimtigo once again occupied the top three spots, respectively.

Looking at the channel market for SSDs as a whole, NAND Flash suppliers (among which Samsung possessed the largest market share) accounted for around 35% of the total shipments in 2020, while SSD module makers accounted for the other 65%. The top 10 module makers accounted for 71% of channel-market SSD shipments from all SSD module makers. Taken together, these figures show that the market remained relatively oligopolistic in 2020. However, it should be noted that TrendForce's ranking of SSD module makers for 2020 takes account of only products bound for the channel market and under brands owned by the module makers themselves; NAND Flash suppliers were therefore excluded from the top 10 ranking.

Annual Notebook Shipment for 2021 Projected to Reach 240 Million Units, Though Demand in 4Q21 Remains Contingent on Market Trends, Says TrendForce

As growing vaccination rates worldwide starting in July lead to a gradual easing of lockdowns, the overall demand for notebook computers has also experienced a corresponding slowdown, with Chromebook demand dropping by as much as 50%, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. However, factors such as a wave of replacement demand for commercial notebooks in Europe and North America due to the return to physical workplaces, as well as brands' aggressive efforts to rush out their 4Q21 shipments ahead of time due to global port congestions, became the primary drivers of notebook demand in 3Q21. Hence, annual notebook shipment for 2021 will likely reach 240 million units, a 16.4% YoY increase.

TrendForce further indicates that 4Q21 will welcome both the gradual release of new models equipped with Intel's next-gen CPUs and a wave of replacement demand for notebooks featuring Windows 11. Even so, overall notebook shipment in 4Q21 will depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for commercial notebooks. As vaccinations become even more widespread in 2022, pandemic-related spending is expected to decline as a result. TrendForce therefore expects global notebook shipment to decline by 7-8% YoY next year and reach approximately 220 million units, although this still represents a growth of 60 million units over the shipment volume for 2019, prior to the emergence of the pandemic.

Worldwide Enterprise WLAN Market Continued Strong Growth in Second Quarter 2021, According to IDC

Growth rates remained strong in the enterprise segment of the wireless local area networking (WLAN) market in the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21) as the market increased 22.4% on a year-over-year basis to $1.7 billion, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wireless LAN Tracker. In the consumer segment of the WLAN market, revenues declined 5.7% in the quarter to $2.3 billion, giving the combined enterprise and consumer WLAN markets year-over-year growth of 4.6% in 2Q21.

The growth in the enterprise-class segment of the market builds on a strong first quarter of 2021 when revenues increased 24.6% year over year. For the first half of 2021, the market increased 23.5% compared to first two quarters of 2020. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, 2Q21 revenues increased 10.8%, indicating that demand in the enterprise WLAN is strong.

DRAM Module Revenue Undergoes 5% YoY Growth for 2020, with Varying Performances Among Suppliers, Says TrendForce

Annual shipment of notebook computers and desktop PCs underwent a massive increase in 2020 thanks to the proliferation of the stay-at-home economy brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, notebook shipment increased by a staggering 26% YoY, thereby generating a corresponding demand for DRAM chips. Although the movement of DRAM prices remained stable in 2020, there was a palpable growth in actual DRAM bit demand. Hence, global DRAM module revenue increased by about 5% YoY to US$16.9 billion for 2020.

Looking back at the price trend of DRAM modules for 2020, TrendForce indicates that the market adopted a relative conservative outlook going forward in view of the ongoing pandemic. In turn, various end-products differed wildly in their respective market performances as well. For instance, while demand for notebooks remained strong, smartphone demand was relatively bearish. Server shipment, on the other hand, was at the same time consistent yet indicative of uncertainties, to some degree. In light of the varying performances in the end-markets, PC DRAM prices did not undergo drastic fluctuations throughout the year, and DRAM module suppliers posted earnings performances that were a direct result of their sales strategies, with certain suppliers, including Kimtigo and ADATA, able to raise their revenues by a massive margin.

Worldwide Shipments of PCs and Tablets Will Maintain Growth Through 2021 But Future Opportunity Leans Towards Notebook PCs, According to IDC

According to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, worldwide shipments of PCs are expected to grow 14.2% to 347 million units in 2021. This is down from IDC's May forecast of 18% growth with continued supply chain and logistical challenges cited as the main reasons. The Tablet market is also expected to grow in 2021 but at a much slower pace of 3.4%.

"We continue to believe the PC and tablet markets are supply constrained and that demand is still there," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The lengthening of the supply shortages combined with on-going logistical issues are presenting the industry with some big challenges. However, we believe the vast majority of PC demand is non-perishable, especially from the business and education sectors."

NVIDIA Founder and CEO Jensen Huang to Receive Prestigious Robert N. Noyce Award

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today announced Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA and a trailblazer in building accelerated computing platforms, is the 2021 recipient of the industry's highest honor, the Robert N. Noyce Award. SIA presents the Noyce Award annually in recognition of a leader who has made outstanding contributions to the semiconductor industry in technology or public policy. Huang will accept the award at the SIA Awards Dinner on Nov. 18, 2021.

"Jensen Huang's extraordinary vision and tireless execution have greatly strengthened our industry, revolutionized computing, and advanced artificial intelligence," said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO. "Jensen's accomplishments have fueled countless innovations—from gaming to scientific computing to self-driving cars—and he continues to advance technologies that will transform our industry and the world. We're pleased to recognize Jensen with the 2021 Robert N. Noyce Award for his many achievements in advancing semiconductor technology."

Epic Games Store Keeps Losing Money, Expected Unprofitable Until 2027, Even with a Massive $500 Million Investment Behind It

Epic Games Store, one of the many products of the Epic Games company, is the current number one contender of Steam game store, which used to be Valve's monopoly in the gaming market. Having another contender is nice and competition is always welcome, however, it doesn't seem like running a games store is a cheap venture. In the recent legal dispute between Apple and Epic in California state, we have discovered some interesting details about Epic Games Store (EGS) and its financial background. According to the documents appearing in the court, EGS is not considered profitable until 2027, at least.

Apple has told the court that "Epic lost around $181 million on EGS in 2019. Epic is projected to lose around $273 million on EGS in 2020. Indeed, Epic committed $444 million in minimum guarantees for 2020 alone, while projecting, even with 'significant' growth, only $401 million in revenue for that year. Epic acknowledges that trend will continue in the immediate future: Epic projects to lose around $139 million in 2021." This information shows that Epic has sunk a lot of cash in the store, however, the company expects EGS to become profitable at some point, where the original investment will be returned.

Growth in Total Smartphone Production for 2021 Drops to 8.5% YoY Due to India's Second Wave of Coronavirus, Says TrendForce

TrendForce's investigations find that India has become the second largest market for smartphones since 2019. However, the recent worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has severely impaired India's domestic economy and subsequently dampened various smartphone brands' production volume and sales (sell-in) performances there. TrendForce is therefore revising the forecasted YoY growth in global smartphone production for 2021 from 9.4% down to 8.5%, with a yearly production volume of 1.36 billion units and potential for further decreases going forward.

TrendForce further indicates that the top five smartphone brands (Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo) have either set up assembly plants in India or sought assistance from EMS providers with operations in the country. Hence, the share of made-in-India smartphones has been on the rise over the years, even though the majority of the domestically manufactured devices are still for meeting the demand of the home market. Judging from the current state of Indian smartphone manufacturing, TrendForce expects the second wave to reduce the country's smartphone production volume for 2Q21 and 3Q21 by a total of 12 million units, in turn resulting in a 7.5% YoY decrease in smartphone production in India for the whole year.

2020 Global Semiconductor Equipment Sales Surge 19% to Industry Record $71.2 Billion, SEMI Reports

Worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment surged 19% from $59.8 billion in 2019 to a new all-time high of $71.2 billion in 2020, SEMI, the industry association representing the global electronics product design and manufacturing supply chain, reported today. The data is now available in the Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Market Statistics (WWSEMS) Report.

For the first time, China claimed the largest market for new semiconductor equipment with sales growth of 39% to $18.72 billion. Sales in Taiwan, the second-largest equipment market, remained flat in 2020 with sales of $17.15 billion after showing strong growth in 2019. Korea registered 61% growth to $16.08 billion to maintain the third position. Annual spending also increased 21% in Japan and 16% in Europe as both regions are recovering from the contraction in 2019. Receipts in North America decreased 20% in 2020 following three years of consecutive growth.

Intel CEO on NVIDIA CPUs: They Are Responding to Us

NVIDIA has recently announced the company's first standalone Grace CPU that will come out as a product in 2023. NVIDIA has designed Grace on Arm ISA, likely ARM v9, to represent a new way that data centers are built and deliver a whole new level of HPC and AI performance. However, the CPU competition in a data center space is considered one of the hardest markets to enter. Usually, the market is a duopoly between Intel and AMD, which supply x86 processors to server vendors. In the past few years, there have been few Arm CPUs that managed to enter the data canter space, however, NVIDIA is aiming to deliver much more performance and grab a bigger piece of the market.

As a self-proclaimed leader in AI, Intel is facing hard competition from NVIDIA in the coming years. In an interview with Fortune, Intel's new CEO Pat Gelsinger has talked about NVIDIA and how the company sees the competition between the two. Mr. Gelsinger is claiming that Intel is a leader in CPUs that feature AI acceleration built in the chip and that they are not playing defense, but rather offense against NVIDIA. You can check out the whole quote from the interview below.

Revenue of Top 10 IC Design (Fabless) Companies for 2020 Undergoes 26.4% Increase YoY, Says TrendForce

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 1H20 seemed at first poised to devastate the IC design industry. However, as WFH and distance education became the norm, TrendForce finds that the demand for notebook computers and networking products also spiked in response, in turn driving manufacturers to massively ramp up their procurement activities for components. Fabless IC design companies that supply such components therefore benefitted greatly from manufacturers' procurement demand, and the IC design industry underwent tremendous growth in 2020. In particular, the top three IC design companies (Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Nvidia) all posted YoY increases in their revenues, with Nvidia registering the most impressive growth, at a staggering 52.2% increase YoY, the highest among the top 10 companies.

Explosive Growth in Automotive DRAM Demand Projected to Surpass 30% CAGR in Next Three Years, Says TrendForce

Driven by such factors as the continued development of autonomous driving technologies and the build-out of 5G infrastructure, the demand for automotive memories will undergo a rapid growth going forward, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Take Tesla, which is the automotive industry leader in the application of autonomous vehicle technologies, as an example. Tesla has adopted GDDR5 DRAM products from the Model S and X onward because it has also adopted Nvidia's solutions for CPU and GPU. The GDDR5 series had the highest bandwidth at the time to complement these processors. The DRAM content has therefore reached at least 8 GB for vehicles across all model series under Tesla. The Model 3 is further equipped with 14 GB of DRAM, and the next-generation of Tesla vehicles will have 20 GB. If content per box is used as a reference for comparison, then Tesla far surpasses manufacturers of PCs and smartphones in DRAM consumption. TrendForce forecasts that the average DRAM content of cars will continue to grow in the next three years, with a CAGR of more than 30% for the period.

Industry R&D Spending To Rise 4% After Hitting Record in 2020: IC Insights

Research and development spending by semiconductor companies worldwide is forecast to grow 4% in 2021 to $71.4 billion after rising 5% in 2020 to a record high of $68.4 billion, according to IC Insights' new 2021 edition of The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry. Total R&D spending by semiconductor companies is expected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% between 2021 and 2025 to $89.3 billion.

When the world was hit by the Covid-19 virus health crisis in 2020, wary semiconductor suppliers kept a lid on R&D spending increases, even though total semiconductor industry revenue grew by a surprising 8% in the year despite the economic fallout from the deadly pandemic. Semiconductor R&D expenditures as a percentage of worldwide industry sales slipped to 14.2% in 2020 compared to 14.6% in 2019, when research and development spending declined 1% and total semiconductor revenue fell 12%. Figure 1 plots semiconductor R&D spending levels and the spending-to-sales ratios over the past two decades and IC Insights' forecast through 2025.

Shipped Pre-built PC Systems See 13% Rise in Sales in 2020 Compared to 2019

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed PC shipping growth numbers for 2020 - counting desktops, notebooks (including Chromebooks) and workstations (but excluding laptops and servers), and the results are clear. In a currently-pandemic world, and with the urge and necessity for teleworking efforts so as to reduce personal exposure to risk environments, we've seen an unprecedented demand for technological components. Whether in shortages for the latest "comfort" technologies such as dedicated graphics cards, latest-gen consoles, or even webcams, it's been clear that citizens of the world have been increasingly investing their money in technological devices. This need - either for work, for bridging social distances through the Internet, or for entertainment - has led the pre-built PC ecosystem shipments to increase as much as 13% in 2020 - and a global shipment number set at 302.6 million units.

This year-over-year (YoY) increase is bolstered, mainly, by rises in sales throughout Q4 of 2020, where global PC shipments achieved an outstanding 26% increase from Q4 2019 - in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, 91.6 million units were shipped. In that particular quarter, Lenovo led the top three vendors with a 25.2% share of the sales, followed by HP (20.9%) and Dell (17.2%). Apple appears in fourth place with a mere 8% market share, but shows the strongest growth among the top 5 sellers, at 49.2% YoY - and that's with Apple's comparatively small product portfolio when put against any of the other top three vendors.

AWS Arm-based Graviton Processors Sees the Biggest Growth in Instance Share

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's largest cloud services provider, has launched its Graviton series of custom processors some time ago. With Graviton, AWS had a plan to bring down the costs of offering some cloud services both for the customer and for the company. By doing that, the company planned to attract new customers offering greater value, and that plan seems to be working out well. When AWS launched its first-generation Graviton processor, the company took everyone by surprise and showed that it is capable of designing and operating its custom processors. The Graviton series of processors is based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and the latest Graviton 2 series uses Arm Neoverse N1 cores as the base.

Today, thanks to the data from Liftr Insights, we get to see just how many total AWS instances are Graviton based. The data is showing some rather impressive numbers for the period from June 2019, to August 2020. In that timeframe, Intel with its Xeon offerings has seen its presence decrease from 88% to 70%, while AMD has grown from 11% to 20% presence. And perhaps the greatest silent winner here is the Graviton processor, which had massive growth. In the same period, AWS increased Graviton instance number from making up only 1% of all instances, to make up 10% of all instances available. This is a 10-fold increase which is not a small feat, given that data center providers are very difficult when it comes to changing platforms.

AWS Leverages Habana Gaudi AI Processors

Today at AWS re:Invent 2020, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced EC2 instances that will leverage up to eight Habana Gaudi accelerators and deliver up to 40% better price performance than current graphics processing unit-based EC2 instances for machine learning workloads. Gaudi accelerators are specifically designed for training deep learning models for workloads that include natural language processing, object detection and machine learning training, classification, recommendation and personalization.

"We are proud that AWS has chosen Habana Gaudi processors for its forthcoming EC2 training instances. The Habana team looks forward to our continued collaboration with AWS to deliver on a roadmap that will provide customers with continuity and advances over time." -David Dahan, chief executive officer at Habana Labs, an Intel Company.

China Forecast to Represent 22% of the Foundry Market in 2020, says IC Insights

IC Insights recently released its September Update to the 2020 McClean Report that presented the second of a two-part analysis on the global IC foundry industry and included a look at the pure-play foundry market by region.

China was responsible for essentially all of the total pure-play foundry market increase in 2018. In 2019, the U.S./China trade war slowed China's economic growth but its foundry marketshare still increased by two percentage points to 21%. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 shutdown of China's economy earlier this year, China's share of the pure-play foundry market is forecast to be 22% in 2020, 17 percentage points greater than it registered in 2010 (Figure 1).

Gartner: Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 2.8% in Second Quarter of 2020

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020, a 2.8% increase from the second quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.

"The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for the worldwide PC market, led by exceptionally strong growth in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. "After the PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the growth this quarter was due to distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels.

Corsair Recalls SF Series of PSUs due to Failure Concerns

Corsair's SF series of PSUs has been long present as part of the company's offerings, designed to the satisfy small form factor crowd with its SFX size. Today, Corsair has announced that they will be recalling some units and replace them free of charge, including free shipping. Corsair says that "We have recently identified higher-than-normal RMA rates among our SF family of small-form-factor PSUs. Following a thorough investigation, we have found a potential issue that can manifest when the PSU is exposed to a combination of both high temperatures, and high humidity. This regrettably can cause the PSU to fail. This issue potentially affects units in lot codes 194448xx to 201148xx, manufactured between October 2019 and March 2020."

The problem is located in the AC conversion part of the PSU, not the DC one which interacts with PC components, so Corsairs points out that all of the components are safe even if PSU fails. To get a replacement PSU, Corsair offers affected customers to submit their tickets here, with the title "SF Series voluntary product replacement", so they can easily identify customers and give them quicker replacement units.
Corsair SF600 PSU

Unfixable Flaw Found in Thunderbolt Port that Unlocks any PC in Less Than 5 Minutes

Dutch researcher from the Eindhoven University of Technology has found a new vulnerability in Thunderbolt port that allows attackers with physical access to unlock any PC running Windows or Linux kernel-based OS in less than 5 minutes. The researcher of the university called Björn Ruytenberg found a method which he calls Thunderspy, which can bypass the login screen of any PC. This attack requires physical access to the device, which is, of course, dangerous on its own if left with a person of knowledge. The Thunderbolt port is a fast protocol, and part of the reason why it is so fast is that it partially allows direct access to computer memory. And anything that can access memory directly is a potential vulnerability.

The Thunderspy attack relies on just that. There is a feature built into the Thunderbolt firmware called "Security Level", which disallows access to untrusted devices or even turns off Thunderbolt port altogether. This feature would make the port be a simple USB or display output. However, the researcher has found a way to alter the firmware setting of Thunderbolt control chip in a way so it allows any device to access the PC. This procedure is done without any trace and OS can not detect that there was a change. From there, the magic happens. Using an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) programmer with a SOP8 clip that connects the pins of the programmer device to the controller, the attacker just runs a script from there. This procedure requires around $400 worth of hardware. Intel already put some protection last year for the Thunderbolt port called Kernel Direct Memory Access Protection, but that feature isn't implemented on PCs manufactured before 2019. And even starting from 2019, not all PC manufacturers implement the feature, so there is a wide group of devices vulnerable to this unfixable attack.
Thunderspy attack

Samsung Electronics Begins Mass Production at New EUV Manufacturing Line

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its new cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication line in Hwaseong, Korea, has begun mass production.

The facility, V1, is Samsung's first semiconductor production line dedicated to the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology and produces chips using process node of 7 nanometer (nm) and below. The V1 line broke ground in February 2018, and began test wafer production in the second half of 2019. Its first products will be delivered to customers in the first quarter.

ASRock Revenue Soars Due to the Ryzen Effect

ASRock, a Taiwanese manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, had an amazing 2019 when it comes to the revenue. Surging around 31% on a Year-over-Year (YoY) basis and delivering revenue of 443.16 million US Dollars, ASRock is expecting to deliver even better results in 2020. When it comes to the underlying reasons for this notable increase, ASRock attributes it to the recent success of AMD's Ryzen family of processors and strong demand for the platform surrounding it. Adopting the AMD Ryzen processors in Mini-PCs, motherboards and server boards, ASRocks see strong demand for these products that should carry over in 2020.

Another reason for strong profits and even better chapters ahead is the developments in the US and European markets. Having previously been focused on the Asian market and marketing its products to that part, ASRock changed the strategy and started advertising its brand more to other regions like the US and Europe. This new strategy is progressing well and is expected to continue in the coming years. Additionally, it is worth noting that ASRock's graphics card sales started to turn profitable in 2019, and now that part of ASRock is attributing to profits as well.
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