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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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No such thing as ‘steady as she goes’ in government policy

An interesting report is published by the Institute for Government. Called ‘All Change’, the study examined three areas of policy – further education, industrial strategy and regional governance. And it found, as its title implies, that there’s no such thing as ‘steady as she goes’

The white knuckle ride that is the semiconductor industry

Global demand for semiconductors in 2017 appears to have boomed, with the market now seen by Gartner to be worth more than $421billion. As such, that represents a 22.2% increase over sales in 2016. But the figures appear to have been skewed by the memory market, where oversupply has inflated revenues significantly.

Predictions for the design industry in 2018

This year has proved to be another eventful one in the embedded systems space with far-reaching DDoS and ransomware attacks such as WannaCry; the onward advance of driverless cars, with greater uptake of trials around the world; and further mega-mergers in the semiconductor industry.

Tech friendly strategy rolled out, but will the electronics sector take advantage?

It's been a busy period when it comes to Government support for the UK's industrial sector. Hot on the heels of the Budget, which reinforced the value of technology research, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) rolled out its Industrial Strategy which, it said, provides a 'long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity performance, embrace technological change and boost the earning power of people across the UK'.

Will AWS manage to keep the spirit of FreeRTOS alive?

You could say that FreeRTOS is one of the biggest success stories you don’t hear much about. From its launch in 2003, the embedded RTOS has grown to be one of the most popular operating systems, with someone downloading the kernel on average every two minutes.

The return of the ‘A’ word?

Demand for semiconductors from companies in the UK and Ireland has grown by 30% over the past year, according to figures from the International Distribution of Electronics Association, or IDEA, with billings in Q3 of 2017 reaching £167million. And passives showed the same kind of increase in demand.

Could Brexit see design offshored – for good?

Manufacturing offshoring became almost fashionable a decade or so ago as companies looked to cut overheads. But many found that offshoring wasn’t as effective as they anticipated, particularly for those developing low volume, high cost products. Many of those companies who offshored have now brought their manufacturing back closer to home.

Government commits to R&D boost

The UK will see its biggest ever increase in research and development investment and a new fund to transform transport connections within city regions across the country according to the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Brexit and UK Manufacturing?

Brexit negotiations continue to limp along with the European Parliament just casting their vote that there has been insufficient progress. And, things look a little bleak, with European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker stating that, “We cannot talk about the future without any real clarity.”

Broadcom’s bombshell

The news of a potential mega-merger between chipmaker Broadcom and its US rival Qualcomm continues the trend of consolidation within the electronics industry and its scale could reshape the industry that’s at the core of the mobile phone.

Could printed electronics help plants to talk to us?

The benefits, or otherwise, of talking to plants have been discussed with varying degrees of enthusiasm over the past couple of decades. One of the proponents of the approach is Prince Charles, who has said that not only does he talk to plants, he also ‘instructs them’.

M&A frenzy – in spades

Just when you thought the M&A frenzy of the last couple of years was over, away we go again. What are we to make of Broadcom’s audacious bid to acquire Qualcomm? Quite apart from the scale of the move – Broadcom has offered $130billion – there’s a few technology issues.

What’s in a name?

Another electronics company name which invokes a deal of history is set to disappear as Renesas says Intersil will be known as Renesas Electronics America from the beginning of 2018.

Creating the engineer of 2020

At a time when the education of engineers is being challenged by rapid changes not only in information technology but in the work environment - yesterday's publication of the Made Smarter report into industrial digitisation in the UK is a case in point - news from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, caught the eye.

How many ‘corner case errors’ do human drivers have?

Research conducted in the US has concluded that software for autonomous cars has ‘thousands of unique incorrect corner case behaviours’. The work, conducted by academics from Lehigh and Columbia universities, used a system called DeepXplore, which is said to enable automated white box testing of such systems.

A European laggard

The engineering industry in the UK is predominantly made up of male workers, but how does it stand up to other engineering workforces across Europe?

Hard Brexit

While the current focus of the Brexit discussions is the terms of a transition period, along with Government’s desire to proceed to trade talks, some recent news that slipped out quietly could have a far-reaching impact on UK science.

Report urged to look at the impact of AI

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) the UK Government should urgently be looking into setting up a commission to assess the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs and UK productivity.

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