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Shows Collide: Embedded World and Mobile World Congress

Its like the U.S. primaries. Everyone wants to be first. I suspect this is why the week of February 27th is going to be chaos for the electronics industry. We have Embedded World (EW) and Mobile World Congress (MWC). Of course, one is in Germany and other in Barcelona. A significant number of companies will be at both shows spreading already thin marketing departments. It also means a flood of new releases. Most that I got a look at will show up next week because of the usual embargos. Still, some companies do let the cat out of the bag a little early so there is something to talk about here.

One thing that is sure to dominate both shows is Google's Android 4.0 that is also known as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). ICS will find a home in lots of quad Cortex-A9 core chips like Nvidia's Tegra 3. Actually the Tegra 3 has 5 cores but one is a low power core that only runs when the other four are sleeping. This is akin to ARM's big.LITTLE architecture (see Little Core Shares Big Core Architecture) that blends a low power Cortex-A7 with multiple Cortex-A15 cores.

There will be a host of Android 4.0 phones like LG's Optimus line that includes the 3.2-in Optimus L3, 4.0-in L5 and 4.3-in L7. We will also see if an ICS phone with an Intel chip appears. Definitely interesting times.

The other reason ICS will dominate is tablets. There will be plenty of ICS tablets like Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 and ViewSonic's ViewPad G70. ASUS showed its Padfone at CES 2012 but will be officially unvieled at MWC. There is also the ASUS MeMo 370T that runs Nvidia's Tegra 3.

More glasses-free 3D displays will be found in hand held devices. 3D is much easier to implement that HDTV size displays. Also look for more cameras to support 3D. Some cameras like Sony's DSC-WX9 provides 3D support using a single lens.

MWC is not just smartphones and tablets. Wireless infrastructure and other networking technology will be highlighted there as well. LSI is expanding its Axxia platform for mobile networks. Look for ARM processors in the mix. The Axxia platform has utilized PowerPC cores. Cortex and PowerPC cores will be part of a mix with each targeting different application areas.

4G and LTE may be the rage for smartphones and tablets but machine-to-machine (M2M) does not always need that bandwidth. Sierra Wireless will be showing off their 3G M2M modules and support. Check out their AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform because it is not just the modules that make a difference.

Embedded World will have its smartphones and tablets but it will also be home to new board and chip technology.

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