TSMC, Himax co-unveil low-voltage TFT-LCD drive chips

Dec 12, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 12, 2003 (CENS)--Chip-foundry supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and fabless company Himax Technology Inc. yesterday jointly introduced driver/timing controllers consuming only 2.5-voltage power for thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT LCDs).

TSMC, currently the world's No. 1 supplier of built-to-order chips, and Himax, a leading Taiwanese chip designer focusing on display solutions, emphasized that the chips largely conserve power and production cost of notebook computers, which are among the major users of the displays.

Himax executives reported that some Japanese suppliers have rolled out 2.5-voltage drive chips for flat-panel displays, but none of them is like their company, which has introduced the world's fullest range of 2.5-voltage display drivers. The Taiwanese chip designer has transplanted the low-voltage technology to its other products including chips for high-definition TV displays and high-brightness XGA displays. For a long time, chips for LCD panels consume at least 3.3-voltage power.

Himax executives said their company has delivered samples of the power-efficient chip to customers in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, and expected to mass-produce the chips in mid-2004. They added that the low-power chips can be built with 1.0-micron process or even 0.35-micron process.

Himax chairman, B.C. Wu, claimed that his company will transform into a format setter of the chips from a follower in display-chip sector with its fullest range of low-power chips. His company already projected to bag around 10% of the world display-chip market this year, with revenue estimated at NT$4.5 billion (US$132 million at US$1:NT$34). Blessed with the low-power chips, the company is forecast to see its revenue double next year, when the company will apply the chips to cell-phones and LCD TVs besides notebook computers.

Last month, Himax delivered 11 million drive chips for big-size display panels, generating revenue of NT$537 million (US$15.7 million).

Himax is currently Taiwan's No. 2 supplier of LCD drive chips, trailing only Novatek Microelectronics Co., Ltd., and TSMC's sixth largest customer. It is a member of the Chi Mei Group, which is headquartered in southern Taiwan.
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