The prolonged economic downturn has brought a string of bad news for the electronics industry, including just about everything from massive layoffs to the bottoming out of stock prices. But, finally, some much anticipated good news out of one of the giant chipmakers. In fact, the news is so good that Mike Hastings, marcom manager for Texas Instruments' Standard Linear and Logic Semiconductor Group, is eager to spread the word. "Last year, somebody cancelled Christmas. This year, we're seeing demand go up beyond the holidays and into first quarter of 2004," he says. To wit, TI shipped 40% more units of linear and logic devices in the third quarter of this year than it did in the last healthy quarter of 2000 before the bottom fell out of the market. Devices sold last quarter are bound for a wide variety of products ranging from cell phones to PDAs to wireless communications devices and toys. Business might be sooooo good, Hastings hints, that some customers should be worried about component availability as TI and its suppliers burn through their inventories. Yet as prices firm, there are plans afoot to keep up with demand. Mike Hayden, TI Procurement Engineering Manager, says he began working to secure silicon supplies back when demand started going up in September. Mark McGuire of Sumco, Japan's second largest silicon supplier, says that his company is adding people and equipment. KES Systems, which provides burn-in capability, is also investing in capital equipment. All of this is good news, but the big question is whether this recent surge in sales is an indication of a true recovery and, if so, how long it will last. And that appears to be anyone's guess. "I can only see out to the first quarter," says Hastings. "And right now, first quarter looks great."
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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