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By Chris Edwards |  No Comments  |  Posted: December 1, 2006
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Simple question. But it’s one aimed specifically at the designers. In the last five years, have you ever been to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – or, indeed, any of its international equivalents like CeBit in Hanover?

The IDMs – Sony, Toshiba, IBM et al – will have hundreds of people at these events. But that’s because they also make consumer electronics. And the dead giveaway that there are not as many engineers as perhaps there should be is that you will not see too many fabless guys on the registration list. Yes, someone with a wireless USB chip might have ‘a presence’. But that’s on the stand. I’m talking about sensible shoes, walking the multiple halls (and multiple venues), looking for ideas.

CES is important because it does provide the connection between retail and technology – and for semiconductors, their fastest growing market. It is where you get a sense of what the market is looking for in terms of functionality and services.

For example, CES three years ago convinced me that it was sport and not next generation DVD or even gaming that would drive HDTV.Maybe the continuing lack of HD content in two of those categories has clearly given sport the edge today, but it also seems likely to retain that edge. And that message was clear back in 2003 at CES – because sport was where the exhibitors said they were getting ‘traction’ then, regardless of what media their own stands gave priority to.

There are technological implications in that. The size of the displays John Q wants. The ability of the chipsets to handle images with a lot of motion. And so on. This is about what engineers do, day-in, day-out and not just in terms of TV, but also home networking, automotive, and a whole lot more besides. So, consider that trip to Vegas. It’s early in the year – CES runs from January 8-11 – so the travel budget ain’t gonna be dead yet.

One last note. Our research shows that you want more consumer electronics content. We are working on that. However, you also asked for more case study content and longer technical article introductions. This latest issue integrates both of those requests. So please keep sending us feedback. We want to shape this journal into as practical a tool for engineers as possible.

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