LONDON Digital power controller ICs will reach pricing parity with existing analog devices in 2008 based on an analysis of the pricing of about 250 digital and analog power supply controller ICs between Jan 2004 and Jun 2007 by the Darnell Group.
In this period average prices for digital power ICs have dropped from about $6 to under $3 today. Prices for digital controller ICs will continue to drop and are predicted to fall below $2 in the first half of 2008.
“Compiling a comprehensive database of digital and analog controller ICs was only the first step in this detailed analysis,” said Jeff Shepard, president of Darnell Group. “The resulting data looks like the prices are declining linearly. But more detailed analysis shows that is not the case.”
“The digital price curve appears to be very steep and is rapidly approaching an intersection with the axis and would cross into negative territory. As prices for digital power ICs continue to decline and sales volumes continue to grow, the rate of price decline from year-to-year will slow. We have analyzed the pricing data and other factors in detail and have identified the impending price parity between digital and analog controller ICs,” addec Shepard.
The pricing study is only one aspect of the overall research effort that also included detailed analysis of the integration levels and features included in successive generations of digital power ICs. Darnell says evolving designs of digital controllers are a major factor contributing to their falling prices.
The combination of pricing 'parity' between digital and analog controller solutions, the anticipated introduction of increasing numbers of second-generation controllers, continued improvements in digital power software development GUIs, and so on, are signs that the digital power segment is nearing the end of the 'Introduction' phase of the product life cycle.
Accelerating growth will result from several factors, including improved comfort with and understanding of digital power technology and the introduction of second-generation digital control ICs with features better matched with the needs of specific application segments.
Digital Power Electronics: IC Product Introduction Trends is now available.