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Convergence, green tech take centre stage in 2010

Posted: 09 Feb 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:convergence  green technology  ASEAN 

Sarin: I see two main market trends that will have the greatest impact in 2010: convergence and green technology.

While last year was bad for the economy, this recession saw most business sectors quick to react and able to absorb the impact better than they did in the past. The year saw a lot of restructuring, quick alignment of the inventory levels to lower demand and constrained capital spending. Now, based on improving macroeconomic indicators and rising surge in demand trends, industry leaders and analysts concur that the world is emerging from the global recession.

So what will 2010 usher? What will it hold for electronics design engineers and managers, particularly those in the ASEAN and India? What market trends will have the greatest impact on the electronics design business? I share here some of my insights.

While consumer, computing and the communication sectors will continue to drive the growth, broadly speaking, I see two main market trends that will have the greatest impact in this space in 2010. They are: convergence and green technology.

Convergence will continue to power collaboration applications. Portable consumer devices, including such devices as mobile phone handsets, smart phones, mobile internet devices (MIDs), personal navigation systems and e-books, will see new classes: multi-function products with multiple connectivity options bolstered by greater battery life and set on decreasing form factors. Convergence of mobility and the Web will increase, and these devices will proliferate. More specifically and of gaining importance, application developers will flood this market with innovative ideas on the usage and value-added services for these products, thereby adding to their increasing differentiation.

According to ABI Research, the number of paying handset-based turn-by-turn navigation users will increase to 2.60 crore (26 million) by 2010 end, with strongest growth expected in the Asia-Pacific, which is in contrast to the continuing decline in sales of personal navigation devices (PNDs) and in-dash navigation systems.

The year 2009 was one in which notebook shipments overtook those of the desktop for the first time. Expect this to continue in 2010. Netbooks have attempted to fill the void between clunky notebooks and small smart phones/MIDs. This year will see more of "all-day runtime, instant-on and smartphone connectivity melded with the keyboard and usability of a netbook" kind of devices. Here too, applications (like those for Apple's iPhone) can be tapped for these computing devices.

I also expect smartbooks and MIDs to ship with near-ubiquitous 3G/LTE connectivity. With carriers becoming a significant channel for all Internet-connected mobile devices including netbooks and mobile PCs because of the revenue potential of the associated services, expect the number of devices sold through the carriers to increase.

We will see convergence in the TV space as well. To manage healthy profits amidst continued price erosion coupled with rising panel costs, the TV industry will need to innovate beyond the "expected" realms. Next-generation TVs will no longer be just about pixels. They will need to move beyond resolution and differentiate themselves. Digital TVs will be increasingly network enabled and tap into video convergence with the Web. In-Stat stated that DTVs are competing with computers to be the entertainment hub of the home. Sets with Internet connectivity are already commercially available in the United States, Europe and Japan. DTV revenue in Asia-Pacific is forecast to show rapid growth.

Silicon embedded systems enabled convergence in the automotive sector. As automotive digital electronic systems and onboard networks increase, so will the semiconductor content required for designing them. Several of these automotive electronics applications originated from the consumer market. Digital content like navigation systems, rear seat entertainment systems and driver assistance applications will continue to increase. There is also an evolving trend of the applications battling as value-add in the automotive market for infotainment and telematics services to the customer.

2010 will also see an increasing trend towards convergence of video with computing and connectivity in the intelligent surveillance space as well.

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