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Showing posts for July 2016


26 July 2016

Digital Finally Kills the Video Star

Since the release of the DVD in 1997, the VHS’ days were numbered.

Back in 2002, the BBC published an article stating that the death of the VHS was approaching. With video consoles incorporating DVD players and the technology becoming more accessible to the general public, the BBC noted that ‘spending on DVDs would increase 150% between 2002 and 2006’ as digital technologies took root.

This trend towards digital and away from analogue would knock VHS off its perch as being the industry leading media format after nearly two decades of supremacy. Eventually, VHS releases were phased out as television and film producers started to favour other formats such as DVD, Blu-ray and digital.

However, despite firmly being in the rear-view mirror, the VHS lived on. Until now that is.

Funai Electric, the last remaining company to produce the units, has announced that it will cease production at the end of this month. A report by the Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei cited low sales and the gradual obsolescence of the parts required as the primary reasons behind the decision.

At its peak, Funai sold in the region of 15 million VCRs per annum. But last year, the company shifted just 750,000 units.

Even a figure as high as 750,000 is surprising, given digital’s ascension.

It has been a long goodbye for VHS. But with the demise of a once much-loved format, questions now arise about the longevity of DVDs and DVD players.

With streaming services becoming incredibly popular, just how long will people disc-based storage and media devices?


19 July 2016

SoftBank to Acquire ARM Holdings

arm-holdings

The Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank has agreed a deal in principle to acquire ARM Holdings for £24.3bn.

Described as the crown jewel of the United Kingdom’s technology sector, ARM design and manufacturers microchips that are used in most smartphones, including those produced by Apple and Samsung.

ARM’s board is expected to recommend that shareholders accept the offer, which was around a 43% premium on the company’s closing market value of nearly £17bn on Friday.

In response to the news being made public, shares in ARM were trading as high as £17.43 on Monday (18th June) morning.

In a statement, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, said: “We have long admired ARM as a world renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market leader in its field.”

“This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank’s growth strategy going forwards.”

In the same press release, Stuart Chambers, the Chairman of ARM, added that by having access to SoftBank’s numerous resources, “ARM will be able to further accelerate the use of ARM-based technology wherever computing happens.”

According to reports, ARM’s existing structures will be retained, whilst the UK tech firm has said that it now aims to double its staff numbers over the next five years.

Sources positioned close to the Japanese company believe that ARM is in a fantastic position to exploit the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), which may see microchips – such as those designed by the UK firm – installed in a wide variety of household and business devices.

Commentators believe that this is a smart move by the Japanese telecommunication giants, as ARM’s low power processors are becoming the industry standard for IoT connected devices.

“Telecommunication companies have had an interesting challenge to position the vital network ‘glue’ to connect all these devices and services,” explained Mark Skilton, a Professor at Warwick Business School.

Similarly, technology experts have proclaimed that the acquisition will give ARM the boost they need to expand into other sectors.

“This move by ARM is recognition of the limits of this current market and the need to invest in expanding beyond PC and mobile into the multitude of consumer home, building, car and other platforms,” Skilton continued.

“This needs bigger pockets,” he added.

Away from commentators within the technology and business sectors, the acquisition has been welcomed by members of the British government. Prime Minister Theresa May welcome the deal, as did the new Chancellor, Phillip Hammond.


08 July 2016

Brexit, Electronic Distributors and Cyclops Electronics

A fortnight ago, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU) by a majority of 52% to 48%.

But what does Brexit mean for the electronic components industry and Cyclops in particular?

The biggest problem that the entire sector will have to deal with is uncertainty, as Julian David noted when talking to Electronics Weekly.

Whilst the breakup between Britain and the EU is at least two years away, global markets have already entered a state of flux due to the uncertainty of the post-Brexit landscape.

Read more:


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