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Whether it's comment on a recent story, a slightly irreverent look at the latest news or an expression of complete disbelief, New Electronics' editorial team brings you its views on the latest from the electronics industry, putting these developments into context.

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A new approach to node wars

When is a 14nm process not a 14nm process? That’s one of the questions exercising industry watchers as manufacturers continue to push Moore’s Law to its limit.

Can UK companies buck the long term trend and invest more in R&D?

The Government must commit itself to spending more on research and development in order to deliver an economy fit for the 21st Century. That’s the view of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which, in a recently published report, calls for spending on R&D to rise to 3% of GDP by 2025, with the private sector and Government chipping in. At the moment, the UK is only investing 1.7% of GDP into R&D, which is ‘well below’ the amount spent in other countries.

Is academia failing graduates? Survey claims so

Research commissioned by Intern Tech among 2000 UK adults claims the UK’s university system is failing both students and businesses. According to the survey, 41% of graduates have had to take an entry-level job below graduate level once they left university, while 26% of those surveyed regret the time and money they spent on their university education. Meanwhile, 28% of respondents said their degree courses were ‘outdated’ in relation to current requirements.

3D XPoint based drives launched, but we still don’t know how it works

It’s getting on for two years since Intel and Micron launched their 3D XPoint memory concept. Describing the approach as ‘the first new class of mainstream memory technology since 1989’, they claimed 3D XPoint would be ‘up to 1000 times faster than NAND flash’. However, since its launch, the performance advantage claims have been reduced.

NXP boosts power efficiency with FD-SOI

FD-SOI – or fully depleted silicon on insulator – was developed by STMicroelectronics and has remained, until recently, as something of an outsider. But deals with Globalfoundries have seen its fortunes improve significantly. The company is expanding 22nm FD-SOI capacity at its Dresden fab by 40% and building a 300mm fab for 22FDX based products in China.

The fruits of their labours

Believe it or not, it’s five years since the Raspberry Pi burst onto the scene. Would be users scrambled to get their hands on one, websites crashed and frustration mounted.

Three things industry can learn from the BSI robotic standards

The British Standards Institute (BSI) recently released a new set of standards for the ethical design of robots and robotic devices. The standards highlight the growing need for guidelines on robotic safety, contact with human beings, robotic deception, addiction and possible sexism or racism exhibited by self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

Will the 3310 revive Nokia’s fortunes?

Nokia was once the leading mobile phone company. It innovated and turned the mobile phone from something which made and received calls and texts into the smartphone with which we are familiar today. Yet when Apple launched the iPhone, it failed to respond. Then Android appeared and Nokia disappeared.

Can the engineering sector move on to 3 February?

In the film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s weatherman relived the day almost ad infinitum as he was forced to consider his life choices. And it seems like the engineering industry is stuck in a Groundhog Day of its own; every year about his time, EngineeringUK publishes a report which says that not enough people are studying STEM subjects, the supply of graduates is falling short of requirements and that attempts to attract women into engineering aren’t working.

Turning Europe’s industrial supertanker

Hot on the heels of the Government’s Green Paper starting a discussion about the UK’s future industrial strategy comes a joint declaration from 92 European industry associations calling for the EU to, essentially, do the same thing.

What goes around …

They say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but you probably know someone who still uses a Nokia 3310 mobile phone – and secretly covet the device. I know at least two 3310 users and one of them refused to change it because his car had a hands free system for a 3310 and it would have cost more than £700 to adapt it for a newer device. The other user is, to be honest, just cheap!

Tick. Tock … Tick … … Tock

The slowing of the rate at which the semiconductor industry moves to the next process node has become more obvious of late. Not so long ago, the next node – 90, then 65, 40 and 28nm – turned up pretty regularly every 18 months.

European tech has funding black hole

While Europe’s start-up ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade, it risks being choked by the lack of later stage financing, which has hardly budged in five years. The result is a yawning – and growing – chasm between the number of ‘grown up’ European tech companies eligible for late stage growth money and the capital available in Europe to back them.

Back to the future with germanium

Silicon has been the electronics industry’s preferred material for decades. Even with the end of scaling looming large, foundries and other device manufacturers are still looking at silicon for future processes. And with good reason; the industry is silicon based and a move to any other material would essentially require a complete renewal of the manufacturing infrastructure.

Imaging moves to centre stage

It’s quite easy to overlook the importance of imaging technology, but the approach – in its various guises – spans applications ranging from space and earth observation imaging to digital cameras and smartphones, via life sciences, machine vision and medical diagnostics.

Shaking up perceptions of the electronics industry

The Electronic Systems Community’s (ESCO) new CEO Tony King-Smith wants to shake things up. King-Smith, until recently, vp of marketing with IP developer Imagination Technologies, has been involved with ESCO from its early days. But he wants to change the way in which electronics – and the industries which rely on electronics – is perceived by the general public.

Can metallic hydrogen superconduct?

Superconductivity has captured the interest of researchers for many years, holding in prospect such things as resistance free wires and magnetic levitation. But researchers have yet to overcome one significant problem: superconductivity has only been observed at extremely low temperatures. Whilst in 2015 hydrogen sulphide under extreme pressure was shown to superconduct at 203K, or -70°C, the concept remains a scientific curiosity.

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