Digital Broadcasting and RF Power

The transmitters that convey most of our wireless traffic aren’t built by Motorola (MOT), Ericsson (ERICY), Nokia (NOK), or Alcatel (ALA); they’re built by Harris Corporation (HRS). Name one major vendor of RF equipment whose company price is essentially the same today as it was at the height of the bubble: Harris again.

Power Supplies

The most familiar things in electrical life run directly from the grid: lamps, stoves, and the simplest electric motors. But every device that includes digital logic, every advanced electric motor, laser, and solid-state light bulb, requires an intervening “power supply” that converts 110V 60Hz grid power into some different form at the doorstep of the…

Building the I2C

Why did it take so long? How did they finally build it? And why have so few people noticed? Last year, Motorola managed to build a gallium arsenide device on a silicon substrate. A new era in the manufacturing of quantum devices will begin in the second half of this year when Motorola and other…

Electricity to Oil

Colonel Edwin Drake was prepared to go quite a bit deeper when he turned on his steam engine in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1859, but his drill struck oil at 69 feet.

Tantalum, Titanates, and Silicon

In January 2000, a kilogram of tantalum cost $65. By the end of the year it was $550; triple the price of silver. (It has dropped back to the $60 range today.) What caused the spike? Surging sales of cell phones.

Packing Power

“It’s a great company,” one analyst told us. “Great people. String revenues. Nice cash position. A gold-plated customer list.: The company’s only problem, he volunteered, is that it’s “not a technology play.” Packaging semiconductors “isn’t rocket science,” so investors don’t get excited.