Globalfoundries is ramping up the production of multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 tablet SoC chip on its 28nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology for its customer Rockchip. The tablet SoC chips from Rockchip began sampling to OEMs in early 2013 and are now ramping to support a wide range of manufacturers.
The hot tablet semiconductor market is growing while PC semiconductor market is falling. IC Insights has forecasted IC sales for tablet computers to grow by 37% to $14.7 billion in 2013 after climbing 77% in 2012 and 190% in 2011. IC Insights is now forecasting a 2% decline in integrated circuit sales for keyboard-equipped standard PCs (desktops and notebooks) to $62.5 billion in 2013, following drops of 12% in 2012 and 7% in 2011.
IC Insights says "The vast majority of tablet processors are built with RISC cores licensed from ARM in the U.K. instead of the x86 MPU architecture used in microprocessors sold by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices for standard PCs. ARM-based tablet microprocessors have much lower average selling prices (ASPs) than x86 MPUs—often 20% or less than the ASPs of PC processors. Most tablet processors are also system-on-chip (SoC) designs with integrated graphics and many system-level functions, which reduce the need for a number of ICs and chipsets that have populated notebook PC motherboards. Tablets also contain less DRAM memory than standard PCs, but they use NAND flash for internal storage instead of hard-disk drives."
Globalfoundries’ 28nm-SLP technology is based on Globalfoundries’ “Gate First” approach to HKMG, which has been in volume production for more than two years.
In the 28nm space, the three foundry service providers leading in the market as per our estimates are, Samsung, TSMC and Globalfoundries.