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发帖时间:2021-06-15 03:30:19

A second way to approach the design problem is to develop hardware functions from scratch that can process the 3G baseband data without the need for a DSP. This undoubtedly will entail a longer development process until functionality is complete, but it has the clear advantage in terms of design structure and labor division. It is relatively straightforward to allocate tasks as independent functions to a team of engineers.

Part of the secret sauce was being able to connect the companies and build off previously installed IT infrastructure, stumbling blocks for many in the high-tech industry, said Gilles Sanchez, ST's corporate supply chain concept owner.

The real bottleneck comes from making that connection,” Sanchez said.

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A few years ago, ST, Geneva, Switzerland, invested heavily in i2 Technologies Inc., Dallas, which gave ST a clearer view of its planning process and demand signals. ST also joined RosettaNet, an e-business communications standards body.

When Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP, which was also using i2 tools and experimenting with RosettaNet, approached ST in 1999 about putting dedicated inventory into a hub, ST flinched a bit, Sanchez admitted.

Besides concerns that the program would shift inventory carrying costs onto the chipmaker, ST was also worried about how the companies would communicate and conduct inventory positioning analysis.

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It took HP and ST about two years to map details of the overall program and decide what processes to use, according to Sanchez. By the time the two companies were ready to put the plan into motion late last spring, the question of how to extract and transmit data from i2 still needed to be resolved, he said.

At that time, ST engaged in conversations with Saltare Inc., a San Mateo, Calif., software vendor. Saltare's Leap Intelligent Demand Replenishment application was selected to bridge the gap, Sanchez said. The tool sits on top of ST's i2 platform, detects the RosettaNet and XML messages, and provides visibility into different inventory scenarios, such as what parts to build and where to hold inventory, according to Cosimo Spera, Saltare's chief executive.

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Since implementing the Saltare software in July, ST has cut its product lead time in half, reduced buffer inventory from five to two weeks, and eliminated 80% of its manual transactions, Sanchez said.

The company is now looking to implement the VMI program with other OEMs, although Sanchez did not say which customers may be next. Analysts, meanwhile, said the progress ST has made can serve as a model.

For the OEM, this all means two things: These phones will have to run a broad array of applications on a relatively new and unproven software stack deployed by a variety of companies. And that software stack will be a dynamic one, probably changing more often, with code from more companies, than today's often unstable desktop PCs, which run software primarily developed and deployed by just one company.

As if this were not a big enough design problem, the phones will have to be inexpensive. I see the cell phone makers really struggling right now. As if the GSM vs. CDMA [network modulation] unrest wasn't enough, people now expect that cell phones are free, so the product has almost no value-but now it's got to do all these cool things,” said Andrew Burt, a wireless business development manager for Toshiba. Burt has the challenging task of selling MPEG-4 silicon to cell phone makers interested in devices that could play video clips. His only design win at press time was with the cell phone division of Toshiba.

David Brudnicki, director of technology for a multimedia group at AT&T Wireless, reports the costs of the initial cell phones the carrier is deploying on its 2.5G networks rolling out this year are no higher than past generations of high-end phones. However, Brudnicki also noted that phone subsidies are the bane of the carriers. How do you get to profitability if you have high acquisition costs for new subscribers?”

That suggests users could be asked to pick up more of the tab for 3G devices, on top of the new applications, services and transport fees they will be expected to pay.

Yet, game developers are psyched. Ian Baverstock, business development director for Kuju Entertainment, a developer based in England that has been writing games for cell phones for two years, estimates that market today to be less than $1 billion, 85 percent of it in Japan. But Europe and the United States could represent a $6 billion mobile-game market with 198 million players by 2005, he said. Baverstock estimates the world market could grow to as much as $12 billion by then.

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