The Mobile Revolution
A tidal wave of change is coming to the semiconductor industry and it is being driven by cloud computing, video and 4G, writes Ted Tewksbury president and CEO of Integrated Device Technology.
The great thing about the semiconductor industry is that it completely disrupts itself every several years. Waves of change roll in and level the playing field.
Today’s incumbents can disappear just as quickly as the dinosaurs, and technology transitions provide entry points for newcomers.
Long term, the companies that win will be those that embrace and adapt to change.
The best way to predict the future of any industry is to follow the money. Today, venture capitalists, investors and technology companies are placing their bets in four major areas — cloud computing, mobility, video and 4G wireless infrastructure.
The common thread tying all of these trends together is mobile, on-demand information access. People want to work, play and access multimedia over the
Internet in a manner that complements, rather than controls, their lifestyle. This trend has been going on for more than a decade and continues to gain steam. To make it possible, devices will increasingly have to adapt to people rather than the other way around.
The first major trend that’s making all of this possible is cloud computing. The cloud simply refers to computing, storage and services provided by a data center over the Internet.
We’re all familiar with consumer cloud services, such as e-mail; social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook; and media sites, such as iTunes and YouTube. What’s new is that enterprises are starting to use the cloud for computing and data storage on a pay-per-use basis to save money and increase their flexibility. Cloud computing is changing the way people process, access and store data.
Computing applications moving to the cloud will require highly scalable and efficient architectures with improved virtualization and enhanced performance-to-power ratios. To accommodate this trend, data centers will need more servers and storage equipment with higher performance, lower power and virtualization.
As computing, storage and services move to the cloud, consumer appliances can become very low cost, stripped-down devices with increased mobility. This trend started with notebook computers, then migrated to netbooks, smartphones, e-books and tablets.
Some industry pundits have even prognosticated the demise of the PC and, while that may be a stretch, there’s no questioning the trend toward highly mobile devices wirelessly connected to the Internet.
These “thin client” devices will devote their limited resources to enriching the user experience through superior wireless connectivity, streaming video and multimedia, extended battery life, and more intuitive human interfaces using touch, gestures and voice recognition. This represents a paradigm shift in which differentiation will migrate from the processor to the analog and mixed-signal domain.
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