The global economic slowdown could allow hardware vendors to increase their margins and improve their designs, according to analysts.
Research firm IHS said that the ongoing economic crisis in Europe, combined with a spending downturn in China, is driving down the cost of basic electronic hardware components.
With lower prices for basic components, IHS believes that hardware makers will see better margins on products and engineers, in turn, could be given more freedom to add components and features when designing products.
IHS semiconductor pricing analyst Rick Pierson told V3 that the lower prices were the result of a shift in the semiconductor industry and the way components are priced. While the summer and autumn seasons traditionally kick off a development and manufacturing push that drives up hardware costs, the sagging economy has kept component prices far lower than usual.
"What people do not realise is how closely (semiconductors) are tied to the global macro-economy, they have really become aligned with each other," Pierson explained.
"Virtually everything using semiconductors has the opportunity to benefit from what at the component level is a downward trend in selling price."
While end users and enterprise customers are not likely to see any significant price drops, the lower cost of components could afford engineers and product designers the ability to craft better devices while remaining within budget.
"Engineers are handed a schematic saying we want you to design the best component with the best cost," said Pierson.
"This is a benefit for the engineer who is tasked with designing a product to cost."
2012 has proven to be a volatile year for the semiconductor and electronics manufacturing industries. While PC vendors have suffered through a hard drive shortage due to flooding in Thailand, other segments of the market have seen improving conditions.
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