Electronics Production | July 31, 2009
Auto Head Units with a little design help from PCs?
With the automotive industry in the dumps, shipments of auto head units are on the wane as well, an event that should compel OEMs to attract buyers by borrowing a page from the PC industry, according to iSuppli.
Global OEM shipments of auto head units are expected to decline to 48.4 million units in 2009, down 25.1% from 64.6% in 2008. Shipments won’t recover to the recent peak level of 68.3 million units in 2007 until 2014, when they will reach 69.8 million, as presented in the attached figure. The automotive head unit serves as the user interface for cars’ infotainment systems, traditionally providing control of simple functions like CD players but increasingly acting as the front end to a rising number of more advanced features such as navigation systems, Bluetooth cell phone connections, hard disk drives and iPod interfaces. With the functionality of head units evolving, so must the automakers’ approach to designing them, iSuppli believes. “Automotive infotainment system and head unit designers could learn much from the development of the PC,” said Richard Robinson, principal analyst, automotive electronics, for iSuppli. “Early PCs offered a very limited range of default technologies on the motherboard, with additional features like networking, graphics-processing, storage-interface and audio support all handled by ‘plug-in’ solutions, which added to their Bills of Materials (BOMs) and often were difficult to set up. “As a result of the commoditization all of these applications, it is now practically impossible to sell a PC without a very high baseline of standard technology. With this paradigm shift, typical users now see product differentiation at the software rather than the hardware level, with the PC environment becoming a generic platform, or host, for an extremely diverse range of software applications.” This high-level of built-in functionality has allowed PCs to move beyond simply running business productivity applications and enabled the support of a wide variety of new entertainment and communications applications based on consumer demand. “Part of the success of the PC platform is that it is a very customer-focused piece of hardware,” Mr Robinson said. “In fact, with today’s PCs, most users are not concerned with the hardware, but rather with applications.” Beyond hardware iSuppli believes automotive manufacturers in their next-generation head unit designs need to rapidly adopt strategies that migrate away from hardware differentiation and move toward a software download/upgrade environment. It is essential that the burden of mass firmware updates, such as Bluetooth profile updates or new application installs, be passed onto the consumer. Enabling vehicle-owner downloads via a Web portal will be vital in the more dynamic environment created by consumer devices being bought into the vehicle. This approach would ensure that flexibility is “designed in” for the typical 10-year ownership cycle of a vehicle. Universal head units The increasing functionality available on inexpensive devices such as Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) and Personal Media Players (PMPs) is leading consumers to expect equivalent capabilities from their embedded head units at little or no additional cost. Because of this, automakers must provide head units that carry sufficient functionality to support the downloading of software on all levels of cars, even low-cost entry-level vehicles. “The typical buyer of a entry-level vehicle is likely to be younger and more tech-savvy, and will have higher expectations in terms of system requirements than other consumers,” Mr Robinson said. “Vehicle manufacturers can take advantage of this evolving competitive situation by supporting a critical baseline of head-unit audio, visual and interface features on all models. These high volumes will lead to lower per-unit-costs for head units and increased customer satisfaction.” Synching with Sync Ford’s Sync solution has shown that a full-featured hardware baseline and software-driven approach able to span all types of models can succeed, and is heralding a paradigm shift in the design of head units. “Sync is a reasonably priced, standards-based platform that offers embedded Bluetooth and USB with voice activation for connecting phones and compressed music players,” Robinson said. “Critically, it was targeted at the mass market from the start rather than following the traditional path of starting in a higher-level-specification vehicle and then trickling down to more affordable cars.” Going forward, iSuppli believes that the new default baselines for audio will include support for analog and digital radio, multichannel speaker support, as well as voice control for accessing flash-based media (iPod/MP3 players). LCD/OLED displays and low-cost navigation are default requirements, with Mobile TV and back-up camera support as strong optional requirements. Image source: Dell
Keysight, FormFactor and CompoundTek to collaborate Keysight, FormFactor and CompoundTek, have formed a joint plan to provide an advanced photonics on-wafer testing solution to include automated alignment, simultaneous optical-optical and optical-electrical device tests.
Wireless Telecom buys Holzworth Instrumentation Wireless Telecom Group Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Holzworth Instrumentation Inc., a Boulder, Colorado-based provider of specialty phase noise analyzers and signal generators.
NCAB Group acquires Altus-PCB in USA Altus-PCB is a full-service supplier of PCBs based in New Jersey, USA, that has a business model similar to NCAB’s. Tee US company has a high level of technical expertise and sells mainly to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Mycronic's Thomas Stetter looks back at a successful year As the company is moving more and more towards becoming a full solutions provider, business is taking off and the numbers show very much confirms that the Mycronic's strategy is working.
Sponsored content by EsemdaContract manufacturer Esemda opens new facility in Vilnius and expands EMS The new facility has been built with reserved space for future expansions. As Esemda constantly grows, it is of great importance to be able to rapidly increase production capacity in large volumes.
IBL Löttechnik reviews 2019 IBL Löttechnik GmbH is staying on top of the market thanks to continues R&D investments.
Second install for EFI at Mid America Display Silicon Valley’s EFI will install a second EFI Nozomi C18000 single-pass inkjet, direct-to-board printer later this month to Mid America Display.
Ron Jakeman of Electrolube looks back at a successful 2019 Electrolube has been growing, both in terms of its footprint and financially, for a number of years not; Ron Jakeman details the company's progress.
Etteplan and Scanfil to start strategic cooperation in joint customer projects Engineering company Etteplan and contract manufacturer Scanfil have today agreed to enter a strategic partnership in Finland.
Sponsored content by SourcengineComponent Aggregators vs E-Commerce Marketplaces What is the difference between electronic component aggregators and a marketplace?
67% of a buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Learn how marketplaces emerged as full-cycle procurement platforms and challenged the traditional component aggregators.
The lovechild of ACE Production and InterSelect Carlos Bouras of Nordson Select gave us the rundown of the result of the integration and combination of ACE Production and InterSelect GmbH - the new Integra.
American Battery Metals, U.S. lawmakers convene American Battery Metals Corporation has completed a series of meetings with lawmakers and personnel in the Department of Energy and Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., to discuss issues critical to the domestic battery production and storage industry.
Cogiscan, Critical Mfg. form strategic partnership Quebec, Canada-based Cogiscan and Critical Manufacturing, headquartered in Portugal, have forged a strategic partnership to deliver smart factory solutions for electronics manufacturers.
Collins Aerospace expanding in North Africa Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., has taken the first step toward the expansion of its existing site in Casablanca, Morocco.
Sponsored content by Nordson ASYMTEKStart-to-finish conformal coating with reliability and efficiency Nordson ASYMTEK’s flexible, modular, Panorama™ S-Line delivers conformal coating process control in a space-saving footprint with overlapping line processes that minimize manufacturing floor space. This innovative, patent-pending line layout trims 50% of the line’s length by using the lower compartment in each piece of equipment for functional use. Combined with Nordson ASYMTEK’s global support, this complete conformal coating line delivers quality, product reliability, efficiency, and safety for all your conformal coating applications.
The advantage of Vantage - Garrett Wong tells the tale Nordson Asymtek's Garrett Wong gives us a rundown of the business year and also details the Vantage Advantage
Saki’s Eddie Ichiyama details a very successful business year Eddie ichiyama from Saki gave us an update on how 2019 has been for the company and also shared some details on the recent expansion in the Czech Republic.
The ripple effect of Enrico Krog Iversen while being an active part in creating one of the fastest growing robotics companies in modern time might have been enough for most people, that does not seem to have slowed down a certain Danish entrepreneur.
Yamaha's Ichiro Arimoto on the business year and the company's new ventures Evertiq had the opportunity to talk to Ichiro Arimoto, General Manager of Yamaha Motor Europe, about the business year and the company's new ventures.
Sponsored content by NCAB Group Benelux B.V.Failure is not an option for a PCB More than 30% of the Gerbers NCAB Group Benelux B.V. reviews, have problems. However, the PCB are integrated in key end-user product with more and more High Tech PCB. We are here to support you on the new technologies growth to maintain a high reliability and quality. Contact us to review it together.
Mycronic, Indium forge strategic partnership Indium Corporation has announced a strategic partnership with Sweden-based Mycronic, to develop no-clean and water soluble solder pastes for jetting applications.
SCHMID delivers PlasmaLine to Hofstetter PCB SCHMID announced it has installed the company’s first PlasmaLine comprising ICP etch & sputter deposition of its Korean JV SCHMID AVACO at Hofstetter PCB AG in Switzerland.
Cobot market to reach USD 9+ billion by 2025 A new report from Tractica is forecasting continued rapid growth for the global collaborative robot (cobot) market over the next few years, reaching revenue of USD 9.7 billion by 2025.
MixComm scores USD 8+ million in series B round New Jersey-based fabless semiconductor company MixComm has secured USD 8.6 million in series B funding led by existing investor, Kairos Ventures.
SIA elects 2020 leadership The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) Board of Directors has elected ON Semiconductor CEO Keith Jackson as its 2020 Chair and Qorvo CEO Robert Bruggeworth as its 2020 Vice Chair.
Si wafer shipments recede for fourth straight quarter Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments slid for the fourth consecutive quarter of 2019, according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) in its most recent quarterly analysis of the industry.
Decline in Q4 DRAM contract prices lessens as buying momentum recovers According to the latest analysis from the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, Q4 DRAM ASP is as of yet undergoing a slight QoQ decline, but this decline has shrunk down to 5%.
Technica forms growth-focused equity fund San Jose-based Technica USA has reached an agreement on an equity investment centered on future growth for the global PCB fab and assembly supplier.Load more news