DigiTimes heard Taiwanese IC designers ASMedia Technology, VIA Labs and Etron Technology, as well as US-based Fresco Logic, may not be able to ship their USB 3.0 chips by the end of 2010 as all four companies have not yet passed USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) certification.
Sources at motherboard makers told the site that the design houses will have to delay their mass production schedule due to the technical difficulty for the USB 3.0 chips in terms of hardware, as well as the fact that the firms are required to write their own USB 3.0 software because Windows 7 has no native support for the technology.
The site also writes that NEC may drop the price of its USB 3.0 chip to only $2 in the future to counter rivals, following an earlier price cut from $8 to around $4.
Japan-based NEC, which has merged with Renesas in 2009, is currently the largest USB 3.0 chip supplier and is offering a quote of US$3.0-3.5 each for lots of 500,000. Although other smaller designers still have not yet be able to mass supply their products, they have already provided their quotes to motherboard makers for future orders, Etron is currently offering US$3.5-4.0 for a 2-port chip, while VIA's 2- and 4- port solution price is at US$3.5 and US$5.0 respectively and ASMedia is offering US$1.7-1.8 for its solution, the lowest among other players.
ASMedia's low quote previously caused NEC to drop its USB 3.0 chip price from US$8 to around US$4 and that price may drop even further to only US$2 in the future to counter the competition, the sources believe. Asustek, which is expected to purchase 15 million units from NEC in 2011, will save about US$60-90 million next year from the purchase with the price cut.
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Re: IC designers may not be able to ship USB 3.0 chips in time by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 08 2010 @ 02:50:06 CEST
Well that's what you get for waiting so long to get with it. NEC will happily sell all folks chips till the cows come home.
To the rest of you who are "behind on development" you have had a year or more to get with the program but you decided to play the "let's wait and see if it catches on" game. Now, when the market is about to go hog wild for the chips you aren't ready. Tough luck. Don't muck about so much next time.
It took 10 years to develop this standard. This is nothing really new. If you want the profits, you'll have to put in some overtime and get the job done.