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CES Showcasing New Tech Trend Hopefuls to Boost Industry

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With "ultrathins" and "superphones" poised to replace netbooks, notebooks and smartphones there is much anticipation mounting for next week's CES.  It is not just the anticipation of exciting new "fondleslabs" and feature rich, powerful models to be demo-ed, this year, after a tougher demand market due to macro-economic concerns, the anticipation is that these new devices and their components will spark the resurgence in consumer and enterprise spending needed across the semiconductor and electronics industry.

Among the news fueling anticipation for next week is Intel's recent announcement of the phase out of as many as 25 desktop CPU models, as reported on here by EETimes.  Intel's decision to phase out these older CPUs is intended to promote and make way for the new 22nm series, the Maho Bay CPU platform supporting the Ivy Bridge CPU and Panther Point chipset, according to the same EETimes article.  These new CPUs and chipsets offer improved power management, graphics, and integration, all feature adds of the 22nm architecture.

Ultrathin laptops, which include Intel's branded set of Ultrabooks, will not only be leveraging these newer nanometer architectures but will also promote SSDs, and hybrid SSD-HDDs, to provide a new series of laptops with exceptional computing power alongside of the features reaped from the latest tablet PCs and high-resolution graphics displays.  With the combination of reduced weight, improved latency, increased storage, and read-write times, as well as significant increases in battery life due to power management advances, the Ultrathin class is directly targeted at both consumer and enterprise use (for example, this release from ComputerWorld about Lenovo's anticipated CES previews of their ThinkPad line).

Paralleling the exciting and powerful feature sets drawn from the new architectures, Superphones are also expected to increase their presence as of next week, and leverage the advantages from quad-core and integrated chipsets (see this recent discussion of superphones from Smith MarketWatch Commentary, and here for a more in-depth discussion from Smith's latest MarketWatch Commentary).  With the fantastic success of smartphones again this past year, there is little doubt that those in the mobile space will have much to present at CES.  Similarly, smartphone penetration is expected to continue as emerging economies keep up the strong smartphone momentum for 2012 (see, for example, Samsung's release of very positive earnings due to smartphone success, here from FinancialTimes).

Also from the component side, EETimes reported here that CES will be the showcase for Broadcom's new class of 40nm, IEEE, 1Gig speed,  802.11ac Wi-Fi chips, which they are calling "5G Wi-Fi."  The addition of these chips, with the support of many consumer electronics partners, further promotes user features seen as important in driving new demand to meet the HD transfer needs for higher definition video.  That is, according to the same EETimes report, these Broadcom chips are designed to handle significantly increased data transfer loads at high speeds as intended for the anticipated increases in video downloads while also providing significantly improved power management capabilities through new IC designs.  According to the EETimes report:

Gartner has said that this next generation of Wi-Fi is poised for rapid growth across all product segments, with research director Mark Hung calling 802.11ac "one of the most influential mobile and wireless technologies in the years to come."

One thing is certain, next week's CES will be interesting, exciting, and full of hopeful devices and components to drive new consumer and enterprise demand in 2012.


Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 06 January 2012 08:20 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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