Acorn reduces loss in transitional year

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Electronics will play a significantly greater part in everyday life in 2005, according to Indro Mukerjee, executive vice-president of sales and marketing  at Philips Semiconductors.

“We’re going to see more electronics in everyday tasks like RFID for bus journeys, and for transport in general,” said Mukerjee, “and near-field communications will be big in 2005 for tasks like using a mobile handset to pay for goods, or for loading a chip card with credit.”

In the home Mukerjee expects to see a substantial increase in the amount of hard disc storage people employ for things like re-winding, archiving, and time-shifting, and a substantial rise in the adoption of  domestic wireless LAN.

2005 will also see, said Mukerjee, “the start of consumer 3G, and increasing trends towards throwaway products, products that are upgraded by software, and products with more and more functions as the effects of convergence take further hold”.

For the electronics industry as a whole, Mukerjee sees next year’s mega-trend as the continuing West/East rebalancing of the industry which has seen Philips going from having 60 per cent of its people in the West and 40 per cent in the East, to 60 per cent East and 40 per cent in the West. “It’s the same headcount – just more China-focused,” he said.

China is emerging as a major influence on the strategic direction of the industry as it exerts its muscle by trying to set industry standards –like TD-SCDMA for 3G, a new Linux-based operating system for PCs, and a new computer CPU – the Godson microprocessor.

Another example of the West/East rebalancing process is the emergence of  Taiwan as a centre for design. This derives from the re-patriation of many Taiwanese Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, who left California in the slump of 2001, and went back to start companies in Taiwan.

“Taiwan,” said Mukerjee, “is at the cross-roads of the electronics Silk Route stretching from Silicon Valley to Shanghai.”

www.semiconductors.philips.com

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