SAN JOSE – Global microchip sales in September were $22.6 billion, an increase of 5.9% year-over-year, the Semiconductor Industry Association reports. Sales were up 5% sequentially.

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LOS ALTOS, CA – Driven by strong economic conditions and a continuing wireless boom, world communication equipment production bounded ahead by 12.6% during 2006, according to the latest Henderson Ventures forecast.
 
However, slower economic growth and a tail off in the mobile communication sector will create a sharp deceleration in equipment growth this year, the firm says.
 
Global output is expected to increase by only 6%. However, this year’s loss of momentum represents something of a timeout rather than a fundamental change in the fortunes of the communication sector, Henderson reports. In fact, growth rates will accelerate once again, reaching a 10.1% pace in 2009.
 
Handset growth to ease the mobile telephone industry, including handsets and infrastructure, will be hitting a fundamental roadblock within the next few years, as the number of new subscribers dwindles because of market saturation among global consumers who can afford a subscription, the company says.
 
And given the forecast for a gradual leveling of the subscriber base, the handset forecast also calls for a slowdown. It is believed that the age of 20+% growth rates are behind us. However, growth rates in the vicinity of 10% through 2009 can be expected.
LONDON – A 45-minute Webinar launched today describes forthcoming EcoDesign requirements that electronics manufacturers will need to meet to maintain CE marking. 

Presented by the European Commission, the Centre for Sustainable Design and Environ, the presentation covers the latest developments in implementing the EuP Directive: the status of implementing measures for first 20 product groups; a working plan to identify product groups; role of industry voluntary agreements; tracking EuP EcoDesign requirements and Wb-based approach to managing EcoDesign; practical measures companies should take to track development of EcoDesign requirements; managing EcoDesign data across multiple locations and global supply chains; benefits of Web-based systems, and EcoDesign trends in Asia.  
 
The CE marking is a requirement for electrical and electronics products sold in the EU.
View the Webinar at www.electronics-ktn.com or www.eup-ecodesign.com.
 
SAN JOSE – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is sponsoring a free, two-day seminar on protecting IP abroad. Piracy and counterfeiting cost the American economy approximately $250 billion annually, the U.S. PTO says.

The event, China Road Show: Protecting Your Intellectual Property in China & the Global Marketplace, takes place Nov. 7-8, in San Jose.

The program will cover IP theft and protection, product and part counterfeiting. It also will include comprehensive coverage of enforcement strategies against IP theft from China. Presenters include the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The program is for any company that wants to learn about protecting its products from counterfeiting and piracy – even those companies that have no plans to sell or manufacture their products in China.

Among the speakers are Tom Valliere of Design Chain Associates, Fairchild Semiconductor's legal counsel, and Debra Eggeman, general manager of the Independent Distributors of Electronics Association.
WASHINGTON – Durable goods orders fell in September for the second straight month, the Commerce Department reported today. Orders dropped 1.7% after dropping 5.3% in August, the first back-to-back declines in more than a year, on lower demand for autos, computers and electronics products, among other items.
 
Most economists felt orders would rise, and blame is being attributed to housing finance and other credit problems.
 
Durables are defined as manufactured goods that have a life of at least three years.

EL SEGUNDO, CA – If you thought the 32" plasma display panel had been relegated to the annals of consumer electronics history, think again, iSuppli Corp. says.

In the second quarter, LG Electronics brought the 32" VGA-resolution PDP back to meet rising demand spurred by constrained supplies of LCD-TV panels of the same size. The reintroduction of the 32" size comes as a shift in direction for the PDP market, which has been focusing on large 40" to 44" and 50" to 59" panels, says the research firm.

iSuppli forecasts the global 34" and smaller PDP market will grow to 485,000 units by 2011, up from 400,000 units shipped in 2007. (No units were shipped in 2006.) While this volume and growth are not huge, they are enough to justify the market reintroduction by LG Electronics. The other panel makers are likely to follow should LG succeed, iSuppli believes.

Plunging prices are making PDPs more competitive at the 32" size. The average selling price for PDP panels sized 34" and smaller will decline to $124 by 2011, down from $215 in 2007. The ASP for 2006 is not available, given that PDP vendors didn’t sell any panels at the 34" and smaller size.

However, the PDP suppliers now face the same obstacle they did when the 32" PDP was in vogue in the 2004/2005 time frame: The VGA resolution of such panels delivers a far lower picture quality than that of a same-sized LCD, says iSuppli.

Despite this, LG’s gambit is already showing some success in the Chinese market thanks to the attractive price point.

While PDP panels are making a return in a size long thought dead, plasma systems actually are enjoying sales growth in the business market. One of the biggest reasons for this growth is that the declining ASP of PDPs makes them compelling for the conference room and education markets. A growing number of PDP displays are being sold as replacements for projectors in conference rooms, for corporate training rooms and lecture halls to accommodate a larger number of audience members, according to iSuppli.

The hospitality industry and those who maintain signage in indoor arenas also are taking advantage of the lower prices to upgrade picture quality and capitalize on plasma’s appealing form factor.

Emerging uses arising for plasma systems include rental and staging markets; video walls, using 84" and larger PDPs; transportation, financial exchanges and control rooms.
 
Affordable pricing and an attractive form factor also are reasons why PDP system sales are still growing in the consumer market, although at a far more moderate pace than LCDs. The 50" PDPs are available for less than $2,000, and 42" inch models can be bought for $1,000 to $1,500, says iSuppli. The pricing factor has bolstered PDP sales, despite the recent price reductions and higher resolutions for LCDs.
 

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