This week, two EBN bloggers, Marc Herman and Jennifer Baljko, who, respectively, write the Asia Time and Logical Link blogs, are on the ground at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Asia Time will be bringing you multimedia coverage from the conference while Logical Link will focus on the supply chain stories coming out of the mobile industry's biggest yearly event.
In this first installment, we focus on expectations from the industry and how many players in the sector see continuing growth and expansion for the immediate future. This is the fifth year that Barcelona will be hosting the conference, and organizers are expecting thousands of visitors from OEMs, components manufacturers, and software developers. Leaders in mobile technology, including Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), and Motorola Mobility Inc. (NYSE: MMI), are expected to attend.
Although the focus of the industry is on new mobile platforms, many analysts expect participants will be particularly interested in the components that go into devices such as tablet computers and the supply chain that supports these products. Software vendors are also in focus due to the growing role user interfaces play in consumer buying decisions.
This represents a major change from five years ago when the conference was first hosted in Barcelona. The attention at the time was mainly directed at hardware design, and the theme centered on look and feel rather than on performance and software interface. Companies like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) helped change the tone completely, and, whereas everyone understands hardware is still the foundation of mobile products, differentiation is now accepted to be based on software.
However, for supply chain professionals, components remain at the core of their interest in the Mobile World Congress. They continue to seek parts that offer design speed, ensure smooth manufacturing, and guarantee production speed to help them gain time-to-market advantage.
See our first video report from the conference below.
Software is what the users see so it is natural that it would get more attention. Its the hardware though that enables all the cool features that developers are able to implement. There are plenty of advancements happening in hardware but are probably dwarfed by the "sexiness" of the software advances.
You know, while I do agree with you that there's a far bigger focus on the software and interface design than in the past... and that the importance of the hardware has decreased somewhat now that the hardware has "caught up."
But despite software upstaging hardware, there are still some interesting hardware happenings! For example, I've been reading about Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors over on PCMag... it's quite exciting to read about mobile processors that can do 3D video playback/capture and playback 1080p.
So while it's true that everyone is talking about software since that's the "cool" thing right now and lowering supply costs isn't "sexy," there's still plenty of innovation and R&D going down in the mobile hardware space. But we've certainly reached the point where everyone realizes that it's not the technical specs which matter as much as the software you're able to use on that hardware.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.