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Inside the Gadgets at CES 2013

One of these days, I’m going to go to CES. Since 3D integration technology isn’t the focus of the show, I’ve always just followed what other editors reported. But this year after flipping around the video of Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs’ keynote address, I kind of felt like I missed out on something.

One thing is for sure, while Jacob’s assumed a certain level of tech savvyness from the audience (why else would he talk about the functionality of the Snapdragon chipset and The Internet of Things?) it didn’t appear to be the same crowd I’m used to sitting with when Qualcomm execs present keynotes at semiconductor conferences and trade shows, nor was the multimedia presentation geared towards a conference room filled with engineers.

This was the first time in history that a speaker from a mobile company opened the show, which to me is significant because it once again demonstrates how mobile computing is clearly in the industry driver’s seat, which is exciting for those pushing for commercialization of 3D ICs.

While what’s going on inside all the nifty gadgets being showcased at CES 2013 isn’t all that interesting to your garden-variety consumer attendee, it does pique the interest of the executive decision-makers involved in semiconductor device manufacturing who were also cruising the show floor. And apparently that’s what there was more of being showcased this year. In a post on Solid State Technology titled, CES 2013: The Brains Behind Smart Devices are Front and CenterTodd Traylor, Vice President of Global Trading for Smith & Associates, noted that it is “the processors, microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS) and sensor hubs, and the chips that are the brains, communication, and power of the device”, and therefore the stars of this year’s show. “At CES we see the envelope pushed to be the fastest, lightest, smallest, most efficient, best integrated, or first-mover,” he writes. No wonder MEMS Industry Group decided to host a TechZone this year!

So for once, people weren’t only talking about the user experience of the latest laptops and ultrabooks thanks to these components, but what the actual devices are that make all the magic happen. For example, at Pepcom’s Digital Experience 2013, a “tailgate party” that happened the night before CES 2013 kicked off, Invensas Corp. showcased it’s xFD memory technology inside Intel-based Ultrabooks. These Ultrabooks reportedly contain SK hynix memory chips packaged with Invensas’ xFD “DIMM-in-a-Package” memory technology and were built by a leading manufacturer of personal computers. I’ll bet most consumers don’t even think about stuff like that that.

Here’s what I’m wondering, will next year’s show see the introduction of devices that have true 3D ICs inside them? And if so, will anyone talk about it?  Maybe it will be finally be time for a visit to to CES myself. ~ F.v.T