Today’s industry shows are feeling a lot like deja vu…tablets, tablets, smartphones, smartphones. The recent CES felt very similar to Mobile World Congress (MWC) with all the emphasis on smart phones and pad computing.
When I first started attending MWC—it was called 3GSM in those days and held in France—semiconductor companies seemed somewhat misplaced because 3GSM was considered a “systems” show. It was a place where cell phone manufacturers and software applications providers tried to sell their wares to mobile operators. Semiconductor companies were considered near the bottom of the food chain, usually giving cell phone manufacturers only what they asked for.
The wireless semiconductor industry, as we knew and lived it, would soon change due to two major forces: Cell phones moving from a business tool to a consumer device, and the shrinking of process technology geometries (i.e. Moore’s Law). Cost pressures forced cell phone manufacturers to begin shedding their semiconductor teams, moving much of the systems knowledge and software expertise over to semiconductor companies. To compete effectively, semiconductor companies “added value” by building reference designs and providing the software stack. Suddenly the chip was only part of the solution because a large percentage of resources were focused on system design, which includes software and applications.
Click here to read more ...