ETA-USA

<p>The research firm said fluorinated silicate glass (FSG)–which has been implemented by a number of chip makers to lower dielectric constants slightly below that of silicon-dioxide–is generally believed to be limited to the current 0.18-micron IC generation. However, Intel Corp. is planning to push the FSG/copper combination to the 0.13-micron chip generation, according to Kline & Co.</p>

With a 12-bit processor on an 8-bit bus, the data is read and the correctives are issued in successive cycles. First, the processor reads the first 8 bits (the most significant bits) generated by the data converter. Then, it reads the next 4 (the least significant bits) in the next cycle. It will likely take two complete cycles to compare this 12-bit number with the ideal values in a lookup table and another two cycles to issue a corrective.

But my view is that UWB suffers from two problems: it's not clear what problem it solves that can't be solved by other, perhaps less expensive or difficult approaches; and it is largely a new standard rather than an extension of an existing one.

One thing that helps a new standard take hold, grow, and really insinuate itself into the industry's fabric and end-user's world is when it is an extension of an existing, successful standard. This means that successive, improved generations can be backward compatible, a big plus in the real world of products and consumers. IEEE 802.xxx and USB are good examples of this approach. Or consider the much more mundane, basic-landline telephone. This is a standard that has served us well for over 100 years, and nearly every new feature or enhancement (Touch-Tone in place of pulse dialing, Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting) did not obsolete previous installations, but built on them with continuing support and compatibility at the phone company's central office and local loop.

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A substantially new standard requires significant investment in infrastructure, design know-how, and user experience and acceptance. And while an existing standard eventually runs out of extensibility (in plain terms, it runs out of gas) and must be replaced or superseded (think IP-based phones replacing the older standard), it takes a compelling argument to make it happen.

Follow-up on last week's column : Many of you responded to last week's column In recognition of the older discrete component” with you own list of components with great longevity, in addition to the 2N2222 transistor I cited. Among them were the 2N3055 (along with its companion, the MJE2955), BU208, BC547, BC548, uA741 op-amp or many of its derivatives, 1N4148, IN4007, LM555,2N2905 PNP, 2N2907 PNP, LM317 positive regulator, LM337 negative regulator, 2N7000 FET, 1N914 small-signal switching diode, 1N4000 series rectifier, 1N5817 Schottky, 6N137 optoisolators, LF411 JFET op amp, TL072 dual JFET op amp, and the CLC436 high-speed op amp. ♦

Bill Schweber, Site Editor bschweber@techinsights.com

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With the arrival of the warm summer months and a somewhat more stable stock market, a number of privately held companies are preparing to shed their wary ways and let fly with initial public offerings (IPOs).

After staying clear of the roller-coaster stock market earlier this year, Manufacturers' Services Ltd. [MSL], a Concord, Mass., contract electronics manufacturer, went public on Friday, and Canadian CEM SMTC Corp. is primping for a mid-July debut.

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Saturn Electronics & Engineering Inc., an Auburn Hills, Mich., CEM, and PartMiner Inc., an Internet-based components distributor headquartered in New York, are waiting in the wings.

Eager to raise funds to pay down debt, make acquisitions, or engender greater internal capacity in what is still a hot U.S. economy, IPO hopefuls have taken note of the modest success of newly minted public companies and want to mimic their good fortune.

European distributors are also challenged by the fact that they often have fewer customers with multiple locations. [Customers] don't appear to be coordinating their supply chain across Europe,” McNally said. It's more complex to coordinate a supply chain across Europe than it is in the United States because of the cultural and language difficulties and duties and taxes.”

Haynes suggested such barriers add as much as 30% to the cost of productivity.

Another discrepancy between the two regions is the lower level of ship-and-debit activity in Europe because of the multiple currencies and the way distributors stock components there. (When distributors buy parts from component suppliers for a previously agreed-upon price, but market conditions force the distributors to sell the stock for less than that price, ship-and-debit programs would entitle them to seek credits from the component suppliers.)

In Europe, suppliers negotiated in each country [or] region separately and dealt, in some cases, in different currencies for different parts of the world,” McNally said. So the amount of products purchased at market price without ship-and-debit in Europe is much, much higher.”

With the growing prominence of Continental component suppliers like Philips Electronics N.V. and STMicroelectronics Inc., however, more OEMs are moving their business-and distribution networks-to Europe, while European OEMs are beginning to shift from the direct channel to distributors. Those two phenomena, McNally said, will help spur ship-and-debit practices in Europe.

1. CRM: State of the Market

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