Touting the Next Big Thing

Have you noticed how electronics experts are all searching for the next piece of news, the next new product that will blow away the competition, or that one bit of “secret stuff” that no one else knows about? Is it that intelligent beings are curious, and that’s how we have survived? Or is knowledge simply power, and that’s what we seek?

In any case, there’s certainly enough to talk about lately. We all know about AMD’s dual-core 64 X2 that claims to be even more powerful than the Pentium D, Intel’s latest. It costs more and some call it the fastest microprocessor available. Intel’s recently introduced, dual-core Pentium D, designed for home and office computers, are already on the way to Taiwan for stuffing motherboards. AMD’s product targets high-end consumers, claiming up to 80% performance over single-processor chips, yet avoiding the heat and power consumption issues. You can almost feel the excitement of a NASCAR race.

Singapore-based STATS ChipPac also made news as it starts a 300-mm wafer-bumping service by using consigned equipment at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. The bumps come in eutectic and lead-free flip chips. Bigger wafers mean more chips, thereby reducing the cost of manufacturing. The rush to reduce cost while delivering semiconductor packaging design, assembly, and test to industry has entered another stage.

Blogging now has reached the level of respectability as people like Microsoft’s Heather Hamilton, staffing programs manager, use it as a tool for communicating corporate needs and images. You won’t find “blog” in the dictionary at all yet, but we all know that it has a natural, unpracticed, web-based way of communicating. Currently 4% of all major U.S. corporations have blogs open to the public, according to eMarketer, a New York-based research company.

Advanced Packaging offers Webinars on specific subjects that you might have attended already, but here’s what’s coming up in 2005: August 11, Sockets; September 8, MEMS; October 11, Lead-free Assembly and Manufacturing; and November 10, RFID. If you have never attended a Webinar, it’s a little like live radio, yet you have the ability to post and answer questions during the Power Point presentations by industry experts. The best part of it is that, like blogs, it has a “live” appeal and the excitement of not knowing when your question will be answered and how. I really enjoy moderating them because you can take any subject in packaging worthy of attention and make it less formal and more fun while keeping the element of education, so important to our magazine. Please check out our website ( and sign up for the next one or offer to present information.

What’s the next new pixie-dusted product? MEMS is going mainstream, nano still lights fires, and opto is a bit stalled at present. I’m still excited about stacked die and increased densities. SEMICON West presents lots of possibilities for future development. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it gives life to our industry.

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Gail Flower


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