ESPOO, FINLANDNokia is in negotiations to sell its automotive business to the former head of Nokia's enhancements unit and automotive business, Razvan Olosu, and Equity Partners GmbH.
 
If finalized, personnel will transfer from the current automotive business to the new company.
 
The parties anticipate the deal to close during the first half of the year, pending negotiations and approval. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.
 
The announcement comes as Nokia faces sharp criticism from labor groups in Germany over its plans to close the plant.
EL SEGUNDO, CA – After two lackluster quarters, plasma display panel shipments rebounded during the third quarter because of increased consumer demand driven by rapid price declines, according to iSuppli Corp.
 
Global shipments of PDPs, which are used mainly in TVs, reached 3 million units, up 27.1% sequentially, and up 15% year-over-year. In contrast, PDP-TV shipment growth in the second quarter was an anemic 4.5%, following a sequential drop of 16.6% in the first quarter, iSuppli says. The first half of 2007 saw no growth compared to the equivalent period in 2006.
 
“The attractive pricing of plasma television sets has captured the attention of consumers, especially for the 50" and larger sizes, boosting the market prospects for PDPs,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for television systems and plasma panels at iSuppli.
 
“However, the rise in consumer attention presently isn’t making any of the leading panel makers rejoice – and it isn’t convincing them to add any capacity at this time, as they remain cautious,” Patel added.
 
iSuppli believes a balanced supply situation is likely to prevail in 2008 and beyond for PDP makers as they retain their cautious attitude toward adding capacity. Furthermore, plasma will maintain its stronghold in the large-screen market – 50" and larger diagonally – as TV makers continue to offer less-expensive televisions with larger screen sizes.
 
Although competition from LCDs has had a dramatic impact on the plasma market in the consumer and business segments, PDP shipments are continuing to grow at a slow but steady pace. PDP suppliers continue to work on improving their technology and cutting costs to remain competitive, adopting new technologies and techniques, including single-scan technology, lower power consumption and improved materials, according to the research firm.
 
“These improvements are helping panel makers to reduce production costs,” Patel said. “This will make PDP television sets more attractive to buyers that are comparing plasma sets with LCD-TVs—not only based on resolution—but also on price. While profitability is still a worry, price declines are inevitable due to the severe competition from the LCD market as well as from microdisplay-based rear-projection sets.”
 
Global PDP market revenue is expected to amount to $7.64 billion in 2011, virtually unchanged from $7.63 billion in 2006. On the other hand, units will double to 20.1 million by 2011, rising at a CAGR of 14.9% from 2006. This will be a result of a decline in per-panel ASPs to $380 by 2011, down from $761 in 2006, says iSuppli.
 
Looking at the big-three suppliers of PDPs, Matsushita (Panasonic) maintained its lead in the third quarter with a 30.2% share of unit shipments, followed by Samsung SDI with 29.1% and LG Electronics with 28.9%.
 
The Top-3 plasma panel makers in the third quarter accounted for 88.1% of total production and are likely to maintain this commanding position in the market for the next five years, according to iSuppli.
 
For PDP suppliers, the main challenges continue to be the cost of panel production and the slower uptake in the end markets. With revenue expected to remain flat during the next five years, these problems aren’t likely to solve themselves, iSuppli believes.
ATLANTA – Registration for PCB Austin 2008 is now open at www.pcbshows.com/austin.
 
Scheduled for Mar. 4-6 at the Wingate by Wyndham & Conference Center in Round Rock, TX, PCB Austin will feature PCB design and fabrication experts teaching full and half-day courses. 

Scheduled speakers include Cadence Design Systems, Doug Brooks, Happy Holden, National Instruments, Susy Webb and Wayne Pulliam. Course topics include signal integrity, HDI, designing for the Asian fabrication market, PCB design basics and BGA routing.  
 
PCB Austin 2008 consists of three days of targeted conference courses; a one-day tabletop exhibition; several free technical presentations, and an evening reception on the show floor sponsored by National Instruments.

Part of the PCB Shows family of conferences, PCB Austin 2008 is produced by UP Media Group, parent company of Circuits Assembly and Printed Circuit Design & Fab.
 
For more information, visit www.pcbshows.com/austin.

PCB Shows are the premier conferences and exhibitions for PCB engineering, design and manufacture professionals. PCB East (www.pcbeast.com) and PCB West (www.pcbwest.com) are annual showcases for emerging technologies used in the design and manufacture of PCBs, programmable logic devices (PLDs), multichip modules (MCMs), high-density interconnect (HDI), flexible circuits and related technologies.

For additional information, visit www.pcbshows.com.

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GLEN ALLEN, VA – Signage manufactured using printed and organic electronics will generate $2.5 billion by 2015, according to analyst NanoMarkets.
 
Electrophoretic displays, electrochromic displays, cholesteric liquid crystal, field-emission displays, OLEDs, electroluminescent materials and emissive carbon nanotube technology will impact a variety of signage markets ranging from large outdoor billboards to point-of-sale labels, says NanoMarkets. This will offer major opportunities to manufacturers of OLEDs and paper-like displays, as well as the materials, equipment and printing companies that support them.

Conventional LCD technology is under pressure from electrophoretic, electrochromic and cholesteric LCD technology in the point-of-purchase display business. These technologies bring the advantages of flexibility, readability in bright sunlight and especially low power consumption, according to the research firm.
 
Thirty-five million electronic shelf labels are expected to ship in 2008, and by 2015, NanoMarkets projects the printed and organic electronic POP displays business will reach $1.4 billion in revenues.

NanoMarkets projects the market for organic and printable electronics enabled billboards and large advertising displays will reach $320 million by 2015. Reflective displays technologies are challenging high brightness LEDs in large area advertising displays. Proponents say such displays make for an easier electronic retrofit for traditional, reflective, hardcopy signs because such signs are usually situated in well-lighted areas. Power benefits are often as much as a 5:1 advantage over inorganic LEDs, says NanoMarkets.

NanoMarkets estimates the market for OLED signage will grow to around $303 million by 2015. At a time when the OLED industry is struggling with active matrix technology, signage offers an attractive alternative market for backlighting and actual displays. Printed OLED backlights are thin, lightweight, bright, and relatively efficient. They could be the successor to the EL lamp if viable encapsulation technology can be brought to bear and materials and manufacturing costs reduced. OLEDs also offer the essential wide-color spectrum needed for advertising displays where superb printed color graphics are the norm.
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