Following the nearly 50-year tradition, next week is the 2014 International CES (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES still holds the title of the pinnacle of the annual tech shows, where the tech products hopefuls vie for center stage and the chance to set the tone for a new year of demand-drivers and market leaders. Smith's very own leading commodity managers and professionals will be reporting live from the trade show floor throughout CES, bringing you all the latest tech unveilings and reviews through tweets (follow us @smithweb) and blogs.
The core still defines all
Much as last year's CES brought us, we all expect to see the leading-edge chip manufacturers showcasing a full line-up of new processors, System-on-Chips (SoCs), System-in-Packages (SiPs), and Packag-on-Package (PoP) solutions for an increasing variety of devices with varying demands. Power efficiency, mobility, and multitasking will, of course, take the lead but the increasing move to processors that combine CPU and GPU capabilities onto a single chip, such as AMD's Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), will be at the fore. We know that AMD will demonstrate the advantages of their third generation APU, Kaveri, and that the competition will be stiff around these types of solutions.
Beyond the APU, there are many anticipating the growth of 64-bit processors for mobile solutions - much as Apple initiated in the latest iPhone 5s series. The question remains though, will the software solutions also be forthcoming to support these 64-bit architectures and truly leverage the hardware capabilities? Or, is that solution path going to prove to be less than cost-effective for next generation mobile phone and tablet devices as pricing becomes a more prominent factor with current deep penetration and adoption for these high-end devices. Along that line, the question still begs, what will the hybrid-device line-up look like this year and will it be one that pushes adoption better than present offerings and perhaps stabilizes the PC sector a bit.
Wear or drive your gear
The core component solutions are the crux of what drives competitive advantages in next generation devices. Importantly, this year we know that much of the excitement around new devices will not only be pushing the envelope on traditional end-device solutionss for TVs, mobile and PC hybrid devices, but importantly the new end-devices will be front and center. We expect a long line-up of innovations in wearable tech across use-cases (e.g., health & fitness, medical, communications, watches, glasses, and other CE); in automotive infotainment (e.g., advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS), in-car Bluetooth connectivity across devices, wireless mobile recharging, smart navigation, etc.); and let's not forget the mounting steps to "smart life/home" and "smart city" devices and solutions that we continue to see envisioned and demonstrated at the leading tech trade shows.
Among the leading headliners though, beyond the wearable and mobile CE devices, will be the automotive technology solutions. Just as the "smart life" visions are demonstrated for participants, the auto tech that we get to experience brings us forward in time to experience where the design architects are leading us in the next 5-10 years. Certainly there will be the line-up of green cars with the latest EV and hybrid solutions, but also the improved safety and performance sensor solutions that take tech concepts to new heights will be showcased from the high-end luxury auto makers and vehicle models to solutions made for mid-range vehicles. Thanks to this booming auto tech sector, sensor and auto component growth rates are forecasted to continue to climb significantly next year and beyong. Adding wearable health & fitness technologies to the automotive solution demand for sensors and these SoC solutions, next year will see some interesting supply chain shifts and new competitive opportunities for diversification for chip manufacturers.
Anticipation and design dreams
We are always certain to be enticed, enthralled, and exhilarated while at CES and this year will not disappoint given the array of component and device solutions that have been announced and that will be unveiled. Next week will be busy and every year there is more to see and take in; we will be at CES with the tens of thousands of others to bring you the first peek into the exciting year ahead. Time to dream an exciting tech future!