Still Searching For Rare Earths

There is both good and bad news for buyers of rare earths. The good news: It’s a buyers’ market. Prices for rare earths remain depressed amid a glut in the marketplace. The bad news: The supplier base is shaky. China still accounts for 85% of the world’s total production of rare earths, but most Chinese suppliers are operating at a loss. And two of the main non-Chinese suppliers, M... » read more

Get Ready For More Biometrics

Security involving scans of fingerprints, palms, faces, or some other variant has been common in movies for years, and many phones and computers now offer fingerprint scans instead of a password login. But as security risks rise with the rollout of the [getkc id="76" comment="Internet of Things"]/Internet of Everything, that technology will need to become much more pervasive and sophisticated. ... » read more

Obsolescence Isn’t Always Good

One of the main reasons smartphones are pervasive around the globe is that their cost is subsidized. They can be replaced every couple of years with minimal pain as designs get slicker, more energy-efficient, and new features are added such as better screens or better performance. That works particularly well when a consumer's out-of-pocket expenses after trading in an older model are basically... » read more

The Rise Of Screens In Your Home

The 1950s introduced the first of the screens that would come into our homes and bring visual content to the consumer. It is estimated that more than 1 billion TVs have been sold since that date. TV opened up the outside world to people in the homes from locations that they may never have heard of. It advertised products they didn’t know they needed and informed them of issues they did no... » read more

MEMS Explosion

By Rakesh Kumar The MEMS market is set to explode. By 2017 the market is expected to be worth $12.2 billion, a 50% increase from 2011, according to IHS iSuppli. Driving this growth will be the continued usage of MEMs devices for consumer applications, such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and cameras. Additionally, new products such as silicon timing devices, tunable capacitors for ant... » read more

Smarter Things

By Ed Sperling SoC design has largely been a race to the next process node in accordance with Moore’s Law, but it’s about to take a sharp turn away from that as the Internet of Things becomes more ubiquitous. There has been much made about the Internet of Things over the past couple of years—home networks that involve smart refrigerators sending reminders to consumers that the milk is... » read more

The CES Effect

By Frank Ferro CES draws a lot of attention. Everyone wants to be first to see the latest and greatest consumer products. If you don’t mind squeezing through the crowd, you can glimpse the startling picture quality of an OLED TV. Never mind viewing the quality of a 4K Ultra HDTV, at CES you can skip a generation and see what an 85” 8K UHDTV looks like. Talk about resolution! You also can e... » read more

Low Power Dominates CES

By Pallab Chatterjee The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show was dominated by tablets and other mobile devices, and the common theme was communication and data access anywhere anytime. From a design perspective, that translates into two main systems targets and one major constraint. The two targets are wireless connectivity and high performance graphics. The major constraint is power use. The power... » read more