Analog Benefits

The analog side of semiconductor processing may not have the allure of the digital side, but analog technologies offer several important benefits over digital technologies:

 

  • Steady Demand—Analog has always been the workhorse of the semiconductor world. The demand for analog products is not going away; the world is going to stay analog. In addition, as the need for digital products increases, so will the need for analog ones, even more so.

  • Lower Cost—The development costs of analog technologies are significantly lower than those of digital ones. The cost to develop a leading-edge digital technology dwarfs that of an analog technology development effort.  In fact, with price tags at or above $1B, the number of companies chasing Moore’s Law has dwindled to just a few.  Moreover, analog technologies last a long time in production, so a relatively low investment can have a long payback period.

 

  • Lower Risk—Since analog products are based on precision and voltage and less on packing density, the feature size for analog technology can be much larger (e.g., 180 nm) that those for a digital node (32 nm and below).  This makes the capital expenditure for a leading-edge digital fab prohibitively expensive, except for the very few. With an analog strategy, there is considerably less investment at risk.

 

  • Fewer Players—The majority of foundry-produced wafers are digital technologies.  By choosing to play in a less crowded space, we reduce risk and position ourselves to capture greater market share.  While the analog foundry space is competitive, it is not dominated by large foundries.  Hence, there is room for analog foundries that are nimble and possess the analog mindset to compete with differentiated offerings.  

 

  • Lower Hurdle—Based on an overall lower cost structure, the cost to develop an analog product can be substantially lower than for a digital product. By lowering the hurdle to market entry, an analog foundry allows entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to the market, thereby stimulating the fabless ecosystem that is a major benefit of this analog fab strategy.

 

Based on these points, an analog wafer fab aligns well with the markets in India, particularly those self-sufficient ones such as automotive and industrial.  Cricket looks forward to establishing this capability and seeing the ecosystem flourish.