Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Cyclops Electronics has a new website!


We are very excited to announce the launch of our fantastic new website!
Our new site looks great, works better than ever and has a host of features to make finding your electronic components simple and easy:
The new website is easy to navigate and contains loads of great information about the company and the services we can offer you. Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think:

www.cyclops-electronics.com

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Latest amendments to EU proposals on Conflict Minerals

The latest proposals and updates to the Conflict Mineral Regulations have been debated in the European Parliament. The majority of the initial proposals and most recent amendments were approved, however there was some debate over which businesses the Act should be concerned with. In its current state the regulations would only require EU based smelters and refiners to voluntarily get certified.

Some of the MEPs would prefer it if all importers of goods containing conflict minerals had to register under the scheme, not just smelters and refiners. There was also call from some members to make it a mandatory scheme rather than voluntary and even to apply it to other metals and minerals not just the currently established conflict minerals (Tin, Tungsten, Tantalum and Gold)

The current proposals for the regulations don't go as far as the Dodd – Frank bill which is the equivalent in the US. The American bill requires manufacturers to file a Conflict Minerals Report and are expected to exercise due diligence on the source of their conflict minerals. However, the EU proposals don't just focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo but also Columbia, Afghanistan and Myanmar amongst others.

The new amendments and draft bill will be voted for in May. Of course we will keep you up to date with what happens next. Just subscribe to the blog or follow us on Twitter.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fabulous results for semiconductor companies

The official sales results for the semiconductor industry are in and they are exceptionally great.
The total overall sales for 2014 is $340.3 billion, which has risen 7.9% from 2013!

 What is interesting, and even more good news, is that all device categories have seen some growth, not just a handful as occurred over the last few years. The memory market is still performing the best overall as it has grown 16.6%.

Intel are still top dog as they retain the number one market share position – and this is for an impressive 23 years in a row! Not only do they possess a 15.4% share of the overall market, they have grown 7.7% from 2013. Even with PC sales declining, Intel have still managed to perform incredibly. Samsung are chasing them down though, sticking in second place with a 10.2% share of the market. Having achieved some good sales with their own Galaxy smartphones and the excellent partnerships with Apple and Nvidia, they have managed to grow significantly more than Intel with a growth of 13.4%

The figures for the industry as a whole are heading in the right direction and this is fantastic news for every one of us in the semiconductor industry!

For a more in depth look at these results from Gartner, check out their report on their website here:
http://www.gartner.com/document/3022017.

Keep up with all the news in our successful industry by subscribing to our blog, following us on Twitter or connecting on LinkedIn!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

EU Legislation – Conflict Minerals

Draft amendments were made to the EU legislation proposals last week and are due to be voted on early next week around the 13th-14th April. The amendments laid out by the European Commission include:
  • Still want a list of 'responsible' smelters and refiners but want to add provisions for recycled materials as they have already gone through a life cycle process
  • Want to add a list of responsible importers, as well as smelters and refiners
  • Commission to draw up the list of responsible importers
  • A 2 year transitional period wanted to allow the European Commission to set up a third part audit system
  • Any existing industry schemes which can be recognised as equivalent to the new requirements will still be allowed
  • The information on responsible refiners and smelters will be updated and published regularly, including being made available on the internet
Hopefully these proposals will be undertaken and the legislation will pass through quickly. Having a self certification system and a list of responsible smelters and refiners will help all of us who deal with Conflict Minerals.

For more information subscribe to our blog or you can find out more here.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Happy Easter to you

Hopefully the Easter bunny will bring you lots of treats this weekend!

The Cyclops office will be closed over the Easter weekend from Friday 3rd April and reopen again on the 7th April at 8:45 (GMT)

Our website is available 24/7 for you to submit web reqs and enquiries. You can also keep up to date with all the latest news by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.
'Hoppy' Easter!




Happy Easter and enjoy the long weekend from all at Cyclops Electronics!!





Tuesday, 24 March 2015

More bad news for the PC industry

The global sales of PCs are set to fall even further this year if reports from researcher IDC are accurate. They have forecast that the worldwide shipments will drop by 4.9% and will lose 6.9% in money from $201 billion. By 2019 the market is expected to fall to $175 billion. The future's not looking too bright.

There are numerous reasons why the PC market is declining so much. Tablets and smartphones have been pushing into the market for a while now. Microsoft have also stated that many smaller businesses are slow or reluctant to upgrade old PCs. There is a case of if 'it's not broke, why fix it?' mentality. Replacing an entire office with brand new PCs can certainly add up and many SMEs will have other needs for such a large amount of money.

Intel have also blamed their recent low Q1 forecasts partly on low PC sales, particularly low demand for business PCs. They also blame low inventory levels across the PC supply chain as well as tough currency translations and challenging economic conditions, particularly in Europe.

Both Intel and Microsoft have big launches out later in the year with Windows 10 and a new processor respectively and it is hoped that these will drive interest in PCs to avoid the downturn that has been predicted.

Unfortunately the industry will need more than a couple of flashy product launches to really begin picking up. Companies will need to investigate ways of getting people to upgrade and to get excited about PCs again. With the functionality of a PC in our pockets, but with added freedom and flexibility, it is easy to see why people are choosing the ease of smartphones and tablets over PCs. The challenge will be in getting us happy to be chained to a desk again - and that is a very difficult challenge indeed.

Cyclops Electronics will keep you up to date with all the latest industry news and top stories. Just subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source:

Friday, 20 March 2015

Conflict Minerals – Proposed EU Regulations

The subject of conflict minerals has been long discussed in Europe and we are now moving forward to some proposed regulations coming into force by the end of the year. Here is a quick recap of what has happened previously and where we are at now:

A report published in September 2013 by a coalition of 59 civil society organisations called for the European Commission to pass a law "to prevent European businesses fuelling conflict and human rights abuses through their purchases of natural resources, such as tin, gold and diamonds."


The EU undertook a public consultation in March & June 2013 which led to further in depth consultations and an impact assessment of regulation on conflict minerals.

February 2014 saw the European Parliament voting in favour of a report to create an EU regulation “requiring companies using and trading minerals...should...create a legally binding obligation for all upstream...and downstream companies...to undertake supply chain due diligence to identify and mitigate the risk of conflict financing and human rights abuse.” The report was welcomed and numerous civil society groups urged the European Commission to follow the recommendations.

The European Commission announced a proposal in March 2014 regarding setting up an EU system of self-certification for importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The legislation would regulate the importation of conflict minerals into the EU and would set up a voluntary self-certification process for importers of conflict minerals.

The proposal was initially debated in February 2015 with broad support for the regulations as a whole. Some suggestions were made including:
  • Companies should be incentivised to comply with the self-certification system.
  • A list of responsible importers should be drawn up and maintained by member states and the European Commission
  • SMEs should be protected in the process and offered assistance so they can comply with the new system
Amendments will be formally proposed and debated yesterday on March 19th with a draft report to be voted on in April.
 
Of course, Cyclops will let you know of any further developments, including the outcome of the debate on the 19th as soon as possible! Be the first to know by subscribing to our blog, following us on Twitter or connecting on Facebook.

Source:



Thursday, 19 March 2015

BBC trying to get kids excited about computer programming.

Building on the Acorn legacy of the 1980s, the BBC is giving away thousands of microcomputers in an effort to get kids into coding, programming and engineering.

Prototype of the Micro Bit  (image from BBC Tech)

The Micro Bit is a stripped down computer consisting of a PCB with LEDs and a micro USB connector. Similar to the hugely popular Raspberry Pi, the device will allow children to develop coding skills and teach them the basics of computer programming.

The computers are to be given to every child starting secondary school this September as part of the Make It Digital initiative supported by the BBC, as well as Microsoft, Google and Code Club. Aiming to address the shortfall in the UK of digital professionals, Make It Digital wants to get kids excited about programming and it is hoped giving them access to their own fully programmable and customisable computer will so just that.

The Micro Bit will be compatible with 3 coding languages, Touch Develop, Python and C++, it is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand and even includes a safety pin on the back to make it wearable! It will also have a Bluetooth link so it can be linked with other devices such as the Raspberry Pi or Arduino.

Keen to avoid any controversies as were associated with the launch of the Acorn in the 80s, the BBC is working with The Raspberry Pi Foundation to create learning resources and allow the devices to work collaboratively together. It is hoped that the simple Micro Bit will act as an entry level to more complex devices and software. As digital technology continues to grow and grow, the more kids that can get excited about programming is definitely a good thing. 

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Samsung acquire new companies

Samsung have been buying companies like they are properties on a Monopoly board! First they took over Simpress a print company in Brazil, this was followed by the battery side of the company, Samsung SDI, purchasing Magna International. Taking over Magna's battery pack division based in Austria, they took over all staff, buildings and current contracts too. As part of the launch of the Galaxy S6, LoopPay was purchased, a start up offering mobile payment. Now the latest acquisition is Yesco Electronics, a company based in Utah. Yesco are manufacturer's of LEDs, including digital billboards and message signs.

Galaxy S6
All of these companies are very much unrelated but it easy to see for what purpose Samsung has bought them all for. Samsung have so many different sides to their business, offering everything from Smartphones, TVs and washing machines to semiconductors and even an engineering and construction arm. With fingers in so many pies, it makes sense that Samsung would want to take control of companies they have previously outsourced to. All of these acquisitions have taken place for an 'undisclosed amount' but they will have cost Samsung a pretty penny overall.

We will be keeping our eyes peeled for any more announcements from Samsung, whether it be more acquisitions or new product launches. You can keep up to date with everything by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Semiconductor industry is looking good. Or is it?

The semiconductor sales for January look quite promising on the surface with worldwide sales of $28.5 billion. While this is an increase of 8.7% from January 2014, the growth is led mostly by US and Asian sales. The European sales total $2.944 billion  - and that's a drop of 3.2% compared to this time last year.

The figures come from the Semiconductor Industry Association and their CEO John Neuffer was very pleased with the results: "After a record-setting 2014, the global semiconductor industry is off to a promising start to 2015, posting its highest-ever January sales led by impressive growth in the Americas market,"

So America is doing well but what about the rest of us here in Europe? Sales are still staying strong, despite the drop in January. Hopefully the industry as a whole will continue to flourish, allowing the European market to come out the other end in a better position.

Source:
Electronics Weekly
January semiconductor sales were $28.5 billion, 8.7% higher than January 2014 and 2% less than December, reports SIA.
Compared to January 2014, American sales increased by 16.4%, Asia Pacific sales increased 10.7%, European sales fell by 0.2%, and Japan sales fell by 8%.
“After a record-setting 2014, the global semiconductor industry is off to a promising start to 2015, posting its highest-ever January sales led by impressive growth in the Americas market,” says SIA CEO John Neuffer.
“Global sales have increased on a year-to-year basis for 21 consecutive months and remain strong across most regions and product categories.”
- See more at: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/strong-start-year-semiconductor-sales-2015-03/#sthash.H20iBwHb.dpuf
January semiconductor sales were $28.5 billion, 8.7% higher than January 2014 and 2% less than December, reports SIA.
Compared to January 2014, American sales increased by 16.4%, Asia Pacific sales increased 10.7%, European sales fell by 0.2%, and Japan sales fell by 8%.
“After a record-setting 2014, the global semiconductor industry is off to a promising start to 2015, posting its highest-ever January sales led by impressive growth in the Americas market,” says SIA CEO John Neuffer.
“Global sales have increased on a year-to-year basis for 21 consecutive months and remain strong across most regions and product categories.”
- See more at: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/strong-start-year-semiconductor-sales-2015-03/#sthash.H20iBwHb.dpuf
January semiconductor sales were $28.5 billion, 8.7% higher than January 2014 and 2% less than December, reports SIA.
Compared to January 2014, American sales increased by 16.4%, Asia Pacific sales increased 10.7%, European sales fell by 0.2%, and Japan sales fell by 8%.
“After a record-setting 2014, the global semiconductor industry is off to a promising start to 2015, posting its highest-ever January sales led by impressive growth in the Americas market,” says SIA CEO John Neuffer.
“Global sales have increased on a year-to-year basis for 21 consecutive months and remain strong across most regions and product categories.”
- See more at: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/strong-start-year-semiconductor-sales-2015-03/#sthash.H20iBwHb.dpuf

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

New chip launch from Freescale

Freescale have announced they are launching a new chip designed to be used in self-driving cars. The S32V Vision Processor is a Quadcore ARM based processor and is capable of pulling in data from a number of sensors and process it quickly.  It is perfect for automotive grade standards as it has a large amount of redundancy in its circuitry and has safeguards against wireless interference.

The first steps this chip will take is to improve 'driver assist' technology such as front and rear camera, pedestrian alerts and safety breaking. "Once these technologies are perfected, the way will be paved for fully autonomous self driving cars", Ray Cornyn, vice president of automotive engineering for microcontrollers at Freescale, said."Autonomous driving cars are going to have a major social impact, we will move from assisting drivers to actively taking control. We are not there now. But it’s not so far away."

Freescale are currently working on taking data from a front camera and adding pedestrian detection. Understandably this is a huge responsibility and needs to be absolutely perfect before being added to vehicles. Freescale hope the capabilities of the new S32V processor will allow these extra driver assist features to be developed quicker.

The recent merger between Freescale and NXP will further allow the two companies to work on automotive products with self driving cars the ultimate aim. Rather than being something from science fiction fantasy, with advancements like this processor from Freescale and other technology from the likes of Nvidia, NXP and Google, self driving cars will be with us sooner than we think!

Source:
Venture Beat

Monday, 2 March 2015

Merger Announced between NXP & Freescale

NXP has merged with Freescale to create a super company worth a staggering $40 billion!! The two companies will work together to provide near field communication items and portable devices.

“Today’s announcement is a transformative step in our objective to become the industry leader in high performance mixed signal solutions. The combination of NXP and Freescale creates an industry powerhouse focused on the high growth opportunities in the Smarter World.” said Richard Clemmer, NXP Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Clemmer will continue to be the President and Chief Executive Officer of the merged company.

“We believe this merger, which combines two highly successful and complementary companies, will create significant value for Freescale’s and NXP’s shareholders, customers and employees. Both companies have built leadership positions and have a sharp focus on delivering superior value to customers.” said Gregg Lowe, Freescale Semiconductor President and Chief Executive Officer.

The industry focus on connectivity and The Internet of Things is a huge driver for both companies. The combined products and innovations of these two will lead to very exciting developments in the semiconductor industry!

Keep up to date with all the latest industry news by following us on Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

What's New at the Embedded World Conference 2015?

The Embedded World Conference 2015 is underway in Nuremberg, Germany and already a number of new chip products have been announced. This year the focus has most definitely been on the Internet of Things and how everyday items will be connected. Companies have been announcing products which will assist in making the connectivity easier and also new security features, which will be more important than ever if not only your laptop and phone can be hacked but your fridge and TV too!

NXP are focusing heavily on security with their new microcontroller ranges, LPC18SXX and LPC43SXX. These have been created 'for any 'connected' application, particularly hubs or gateways, tasked with relaying and/or bridging large volumes of high-speed data'. New security features added to these ranges include an integrated AES-128 encryption engine, non-volatile OTP memories for encrypted, hardware-randomized key storage and a true random number generator for unique key creation.


Atmel are focusing on a whole host of connected technologies from cars to industrial tech right through to connected homes and cloud systems. The SAM V71 is being shown in an automotive context to deliver 'the world’s highest performance Cortex-M-based Flash MCU'. They have also announced the SAM DA1, again for use in automotive applications. This new chip will be used in touch pads, touch buttons, sliders or wheel and parking sensors. They have been made smaller than similar chips, but they still pack a punch!
 The SAM DA1 device series will be available in a 5x5mm package and come with 32 to 64 pins, up to 64KB of Flash, 8KB of SRAM and 2KB read-while-write Flash and are qualified according to the AEC Q-100 Grade 2 (-40 to +105degreeC). Phew! 

And the UK based ARM has teamed up with IBM to create an IoT starter kit. It will take just minutes to unbox the equipment and start sending your readings to online apps. The kit contains two boards:

mbed Enabled Freescale K64F Freescale
  • K64F Kinetis K64 MCU (MK64FN1M0VLL12) 
  • High performance ARM® Cortex™-M4 Core with Floating point unit and DSP 
  • 120MHz, 256KB RAM, 1MB FLASH
 mbed Application shield
  • 128x32 Graphics LCD 
  • 5 way joystick 
  • 2 x Potentiometers 
  • Speaker, PWM Connected 
  • 3 Axis +/1 1.5g Accelerometer 
  • RGB LED, PWM connected
  •  Temperature sensor 
These are then connected to your computer via ethernet and USB cables and a whole range of cloud applications will be at your fingertips. The ease of use of this kit will vastly accelerate the amount of products which can be connected. The era of the Internet of Things is well and truly upon us.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Top 10 Semiconductor Consumers


Samsung and Apple remain the top semiconductor customers throughout 2014. The tech giants used 57.9 billion components between them and took almost 20% of the market share, as this info from Gartner shows. These two companies really are the big hitters when it comes to new technology so it is no real surprise that they are the top consumers of semiconductors. The race between them to create the most popular smartphone, as well as all the other gadgets and computers both manufacture, it is easy to see why they needed such a large amount!

The other companies are all big names in the tech industry and all create a vast array of electronic products. They remain relatively unchanged from their consumption last year, just some slight shifting with the Chinese company Huawei going from 9th to 7th and Toshiba dropping from 8th to 10th

The large amount of semiconductors just the top 10 companies are using is really good news for all of us in the semiconductor industry. As new technologies keep being made and the Internet of Things keeps expanding, the future looks good for semiconductor companies throughout the supply chain.

Keep up to date with all the latest news impacting on the industry by following our blog or connect with us on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Source:
Evertiq
Gartner

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Great start to the new year for the semiconductor industry.

The semiconductor industry looks set for an impressive growth this year with the market on track to achieve a 9.4% expansion. With an estimated revenue of $353.2 billion, this is the highest rate of annual growth since 2010!
The report from IHS Technology believes the reason for this vast growth is due to the broad based nature of market expansion. Rather than just a few specific sectors doing well, 2014 saw a wider increase across the industry as a whole.

“While the upswing in 2013 was almost entirely driven by growth in a few specific memory segments, the rise in 2014 is built on a widespread increase in demand.” said Dale Ford, vice president and chief analyst at IHS Technology.

A further report from MIDF Equities Research found that global semiconductor sales rose 9.1% and has consistently outpaced itself for the 19th consecutive month. MIDF Research said this growth was due to the increased demand for smartphones, particularly in the emerging markets. This, combined with the growing popularity of wearable technology will only further help to boost the semiconductor industry as a whole. And that is never a bad thing!

Keep up to date with how the industry performs for the rest of the year by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and connecting on Google+

Monday, 12 January 2015

CES 2015 Semiconductor Round Up

Lots of really interesting and innovative things have come out of CES 2015, particularly in regards to new semiconductor releases. Here's a quick round up of some of the big chip releases:


Intel

Broadwell 5th Generation
This is the 5th Generation 14nm Broadwell Y Dual core which has been highly anticipated for some time now, but the results don't disappoint! It will increase battery life by up to 1.5 hours, will run faster and is more energy efficient than previous generation models. The die size has shrunken 37% and can fit 35 more transistors than other Intel chips.

The Broadwell 5th Gen chips should be ready to ship later this month and are ideal for the 2in1 laptop and tablet devices which are increasing in popularity. Intel are also expanding their Pentium and Celeron CPU ranges and further foraying into the wearable device world with Fossil and Oakley.


ON Semiconductor

3D Sensors
ON Semiconductor have been working with 3D stacking technology to create better 3D image sensors. Using stacking technology gives a smaller die and means each part of the sensor can be optimised, so they have improved pixel performance and better power consumption.

“3D stacking technology is an exciting breakthrough that enhances our ability to optimize ON Semiconductor’s future sensors,” said Sandor Barna, vice president of Technology for ON Semiconductor’s Image Sensor Group. “This technology provides manufacturing and design flexibility to ensure continued performance leadership across our entire sensor product portfolio.”

Nvidia

Super Chip
The Tegra X1 Superchip packs a humongous 1 Teraflop of processing power into a device the size of a thumbnail and uses under 10 watts of power. The Tegra X1 is twice as powerful as Nvidia's previous superchip, the Tegra K1, rendering 4k at 60Hz. This superchip should begin appearing in the first half of the year and has been designed for use in

Tegra X1's technical specifications include:
  • 256 core Maxwell GPU
  • 8CPU cores
  • 60 fps 4K video (H.265, H.264, VP9)
  • 1.3 gigapixel of camera throughput
  • 20nm process

NXP

Passive Keyless Entry
The NCF29A1 is primarily being used for Passive Keyless Entry for cars, It is a radio frequency transmitter and immobilizer in one. This chip can allow for extra features to be added to car remote keys such as auto locking when walking away from the vehicle and even a welcome light when approaching!

The NCF29A1 has longer ranger, lower power consumption, 40% longer battery life and 70% smaller form factor than previous chips. This smaller size and better battery life means PKE can be built into smartphones and wearable tech so you never have to worry about losing your car keys again!

Texas Instruments

Voice Control
Texas Instruments are working with Comcast on their Xfinity remote control, which uses TI's voice-over-RF4CE™ ZigBee® remote control technology to allow voice control to search for channels, shows and set DVR Recordings. No more pushing buttons and endlessly searching for what you want to watch – just say what you are looking for and it will appear on screen as if by magic!

You can purchase a huge range of semiconductors from Cyclops Electronics. Currently we have 144, 576 stocked line items and have access to over 600,000,000 more! Use our Fast Component Search to find the parts you need then call or email to place your order.

Keep up to date with all the latest industry news by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and connecting on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Samsung looking to the future

Samsung are placing their future in the 'Internet of Things' - the idea that nearly every object in everyday life will be connected to the internet. Not just phones and tablets but fridges, clothing, cars and eventually our entire homes.

In the opening keynote speech of CES 2015, Samsung SEO Boo-Keun Yoon, spoke about the Internet of Things over and over again, announcing that by 2017 90% of Samsung products will be focused on IOT. Though no real announcements were given on specific products or launches, it was clear Samsung are firm believers in the future of IOT, as Boo-Keun Yoon said: "IOT will change more than just our industry, that's because it will touch every aspect of our lives."

The Internet of Things is something which the technology and electronics industry have been speaking about for some time, perhaps now this has been made a key focus by such a large company, we will actually start to see mass connectivity happen - and soon.

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