MUNICH, GERMANY—The logo of the Electronica exhibition has been green as long as I can remember Electronica exhibitions. It also combines one period of a sine wave in a simplified version of an oscilloscope trace. That's one of the simplest graphical representations of the concept of "analog" you can get.
What goes around comes around. This year's Electronica was shot through with green-ness from Hall A1 to Hall C4. And in close support of the environmentally friendly, power-efficient theme at Electronica was analog circuitry.
However, the times we live in are so interesting, it seemed many companies felt a need to go to extremes. Many large semiconductor companies—but not as many as in years past—were in Munich claiming they had always been analog/power-efficiency/industrial/ automotive chip companies. And in those much loved organizational and market-sector charts, most executives just ignored the computing and consumer sectors—though they make up most of the total semiconductor market.
Of course, those same markets are likely to be responsible for a lot of chip-price attrition in 2009, but at Electronica it was as if they had never existed. The digital revolution had never happened and digital, in the manner of totalitarian rewrites of history, had become a non-entity.
Welcome to the analog, industrial, power-efficient, automotive world of Electronica.
The tone was set by Brian Halla, chairman and CEO of National Semiconductor, who highlighted the possibility of a new form of noise cancellation in handset applications, using analog techniques at one-tenth the power of digital.
Halla also participated in the traditional CEO panel debate at Electronica, which took as its theme "the contribution of the semiconductor industry to climate protection." The topic gave rise to discussions about the opportunities to use power management with solar cells, in automotive engines and in communications and industrial infrastructure.