Since 2004, consumer electronics has been thedriver of the latest semiconductor technologies displacing corporate electronics for this title. Global consumers of electronic products seem to have two overriding requirements:
As a result, the need for continual access to video and audio data drives higher throughput and the need for an incredible amount of memory. Once these semiconductor aspects are in place or, with even better timing, as these are being developed, the other system aspects that need to keep up must be identified and concurrently developed. That is why identifying trends becomes so important.
So, if you are going to follow the money, what can a supplier of the end product do and what can a supplier to the end product maker do to get a piece of the action? This is where secondary trends come into play. From the supplier's side, how can a company's core competencies be used to differentiate products and meet customers' specifications even if they are not clearly defined? One way to make changes after the fact is with software. Not surprisingly, the increasing use of software in products and the increasing use of Flash memory is a major trend in semiconductor products and end products as well.
Following the wrong path can be disastrous as the VHS Beta wars demonstrated to both users and suppliers. However, the same scenarios continue to play out and the existence of a standard does not guarantee a product's success. Today, in wireless networking WLAN, Bluetooth, ZigBee and WiMAX are just a few of the technologies vying for acceptance. Sometimes they compete and sometimes each technology addresses unique applications.
In a separate area, with the recent introduction of Panasonic's Blu-ray Disc player, well-established DVD technology could be seeing its first serious challenge. Blu-ray Disc is supported by more than 170 leading companies in electronics, computers, video games, recording media, music and movies. Remember eight-track tapes?
Electronics Trend Watch 2007 covers some of the more critical enabling technologies that interest Design News' readers. As a result, technologies that initially establish the electronics capability, digital and analog integrated circuits, and their trends are certainly included. The improvements in digital and analog circuits continue to deliver smaller, faster and cheaper products.
With increasing performance of digital and analog processing equipment, it comes down to what do users want to do? Where do they want to view pictures, hear music or watch videos? Today's choices include an MP3 player or iPod, PDA, TV, cell phone, portable computer or maybe even a car's interior. The answer appears to be everywhere!
The top-level trends drive secondary trends, which, in most cases, really do not change from product to product. The secondary trends include:
The challenge created by the increasing availability of a variety of enabling technologies and products that satisfy these trends is, what can you do with them? From the design and manufacturing side, how can you use these enabling technologies to create a new product or a product that is differentiated from the others in the marketplace? You have to answer this one yourself. We will just show you the latest and greatest.