Are Smartwatches Only For Smart People?


This is a smart world. Everything we use has some kind of intelligence. This trend was kick started by the arrival of smartphones in the market, calling an end to both desktop computers and traditional phones.

If you really think about it, Smartwatches are a logical extension of Smartphones. Instead of lugging a big slab of material like a Smartphone around, you now have a sleek device strapped around your wrist smartly doing whatever it is supposed to do.

Frankly, a 5” screen just to view emails is a bit too big for any pocket. It doesn’t fit into the back pocket of my tight jeans nor can I carry it in my hand.

Smartwatch seems to be a valuable addition to my vast collection of devices and abracadabra. What should you then look for while buying a smartwatch?

Look and Feel

Smartwatches come in all shapes and sizes. Some are clunky and fat while others are just too feminine for my taste. I prefer something which is well ……smart looking.

Colors must go with your clothing. If you are the flashy kind, you can choose from a range of bright colors. For the sober kind, metallic grey and darker shades are available.

Overall, smartwatch should fit on your wrist without looking like a piece of rock.

Which Features Should You Look For In A Smartwatch?

The Smartwatch industry is at a stage of infancy. The software and firmware are unreliable and seem to be hurriedly put together. This is true even for big names such as Sony.

First off, your Smartwatch must be able to respond to voice commands. You should be able to activate your emails and notification without touching the watch.

Features from Google Glass would go well with a Smartwatch.  Secondly, you should be able to use Android as well as iOS apps in the same device.

Though a standalone Smartwatch should be preferred, you must realize that a small and compact appliance cannot do everything. Presently most Smartwatches are merely an extension of smartphone.

As long as connectivity between a Smartphone and Smartwatch is seamless, you should not worry about this limitation. Bluetooth is the preferred technology for communication between the two.

A decent calendar with notifications, push emails and SMS, weather reports are some features which are bare minimum. Heart beat monitor with GPS and a stop watch would be a plus for sports buffs. For the socially connected, Facebook and Twitter notifications are essential.

The Future Of Smartwatch

Who knows, future Smartwatches may come with rocket thrusters which can place you into geostationary orbit in space. Certainly, days are not far when these devices can perform all that Smartphones do today and much more.

Wearability and ease of use should improve with time. The entry of big players like Google, Sony and Samsung into Smartwatches clearly indicates that the future of this device is bright and you can look forward to many interesting innovations.

From the business point of view, small players with big ideas can develop smarter watches and reap the benefits. You must remember that in this modern world only ideas matter – design, manufacturing and even distribution can be handled with ease.

Are Smartwatches are only for smart people? In fact it’s meant for folks like us – too smart but too lazy to pick up our Smartphones.

Screens: IPS vs Non IPS

LCD Screens

Which LCD Panel Should You Choose?

The number of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels available is vast but they can be separated into several different categories, based either on technology, construction method, or even individual brand.

The best way to narrow your search is to consider your application. What is your final product and how do you want it to perform?

Common applications can be for entertainment purposes, like watching videos and playing games, or doing technical creative work like picture editing where color accuracy is paramount.

After determining the application for your display you can start to identify which features need to take priority over others. Then you will be able to narrow your search and select the panel best suited for your use.

IPS vs. TN

The two most commonly used LCD panels today are variations on the TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LCD panel.

These are the IPS LCD (In-Plane Switching) and Non IPS LCD panel or TN (Twisted Nematic) LCD.

TN is the most common type of LCD display at the moment as it offers the best value for money.

You get the highest performance at the lost cost. TN displays have evolved to the point where they have an incredibly fast response time, meaning they are great for entertainment purposes.

Regarding viewing angle, the TN display suffers particularly in the vertical direction; when watching a movie you must be sitting directly in front of the display to get the best picture.

Most TN displays can represent only 70% of NTSC, Adobe RGB and sRGB color gamuts, in some cases as little as 10 to 30% with the poorest quality displays.

When it comes to choosing a display for a creative application it is important to consider only a high-quality TN display as the color gamut will be higher.

IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels are actually broken down into a variety of different types: IPS, S-IPS, AS-IPS, IPS-Pro, and H-IPS.

All of these use different variants of technology that manufacturers have developed and use within their own products.

As a whole, IPS panels are designed to improve upon the flaws of the TN technology, specifically focusing on viewing angle, contrast, and blacks.

The viewing angle in specific IPS screens has improved to the point where crystal-clear viewing is possible at 178 of the 180 degrees available to a user.

Contrast and blacks have also considerably improved. IPS panels do not lighten or show tailing light when touched, which can happen on TN panels; this is important for touch-screen devices such as smartphones and tablets.

However, as with all new technology, it is not perfect. The response times of IPS panels still falls behind those of TN technology. The cost of an IPS panel is also higher than that of a TN panel.

Bottom-line recommendation:

TN displays are more suited to consumer entertainment applications because of their high response time and lower cost.  

IPS displays are generally far better for professional creative applications where color accuracy is important and the higher cost can be justified.

High Efficiency Flash Memory Testing


Increased demand for flash memory has allowed the cost per GB to fall and opened up the market to many smaller manufacturers and distributors. But as the availability of lower cost flash increases so does the amount of counterfeit and low quality flash. For an OEM, being extra vigilant when managing the quality of lower end flash is critical. This will happen at various stages throughout the production process but weeding out the defects at the beginning is far more efficient. You can find a select number of under-the-radar testing centers available to ensure you are providing quality flash in your product while still retaining the higher margin gained from cheaper flash.

These intimate testing centers hook up 20+ computers linked to 8-piece units custom-made for testing flash. With a capacity of 60 units they can churn out at a rate of 15,000 pieces per day for 4GB flash. With this extra QC step you are able to take out 85% of the defects in the initial stage and then later during assembly find the remaining defective 15%. This extra step in an OEM’s arsenal has allowed them to buy at lower cost but still guarantee the quality of their products.

The Rise of Flash

The development of flash memory in the mid ‘80s had a profound impact on the data storage industry. This development offered a critical step forward in storage capability which later became the catalyst for a significant revolution in mobile personal computing devices, including PDAs, mobiles phones, gaming devices and media players.  No one could have predicted how big the impact flash memory would have on the technology industry.  

NAND flash memory has emerged as the leader in this high-density silicon storage arena. Sales of NAND Flash have been growing year-on-year and are outperforming DRAM as the demand for media tablets and Smartphones continues to increase. NAND flash sales are set to increase 14% annually from 2013-2017, growing to US$53.2 billion at the end of the forecast period while the DRAM market is forecast to grow 9% annually over the same time.

Getting The Most From OEM Manufacturing in China

OEM Manufacturing in China

There are many reasons you should consider transferring your OEM manufacture to China, particularly if you are involved in the area of consumer electronic equipment.  The main incentives, however, are the low-labor costs and the wealth of manufacturing experience and expertise that exists within the country.

But before you begin to outsource your OEM manufacturing, there are certain aspects you really need to consider. These are areas which will help you to find the best possible OEM manufacturing solution for your particular circumstances.

Here’s a guide to help find out what’s going to work for you.

Have you defined your problem?

If you haven’t defined the problems you are looking to solve through outsourcing, then it’s likely that your OEM manufacturing arrangement isn’t going to deliver the best value for money.

You’ll want input from across your organization to do this in an effective manner and to answer questions like, “What technologies will the OEM supplier need, to make your product in the right way?”,  “What after sales support is available if, or when, problems arise?”, “How will you integrate the manufacturer into your supply chain?”

The best possible supplier will add value by making their strengths compensate for your weaknesses and enable you to de-emphasize or eliminate internal issues.

Have you done your due diligence?

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by options when looking to outsource your OEM manufacturing and it’s easier still to get so focused on price that you don’t do your homework on the suppliers.

Cost is only a part of the equation for choosing a successful OEM supplier. It’s just as important to work with a partner that understands you and your business, can guarantee a quality output and has a successful track record of working in your industry and providing real-life solutions to business problems.

You need to involve the right people from your organization to ask the right questions, and find the right supplier to respond to their needs, not just in a meeting but all the way through the design, production and delivery of your OEM products.

Have you picked the right product at the right time?

ODM manufacturing (Original Design Manufacturing) can help you eliminate some of the risks associated with tying up internal resources, but OEM manufacturing means outsourcing some of an established product range or branding an already existing product.

It’s important to start with the right product and trial the process, learning to work with your OEM provider in the most efficient way possible before you expand the program to other products.

When you do this it’s also important to communicate your OEM product road map, so that your OEM supplier can understand the process from their own point of view too. A small scale project may not cause a rush of attention with an OEM manufacturer but a an OEM manufacturing management company will often be only too pleased to assist as long as they know there will be long-term returns for them and for you.

Have you defined your internal OEM management processes?

One of the potential areas that can cause an outsourcing relationship to fail is having too many people on your end handing out instructions piece-meal to your OEM supplier. That’s because it leads to confusion regarding objectives and raises the risk of poor communication on the part of both sides in the arrangement.

It’s best to allocate a single point of contact at your company and for the OEM manufacturer to offer the same in return. The management and communication process should be outlined either in a memorandum of understanding or contractually, so the proper level of responsibility can be assumed by both sides of the arrangement.

Are you just chasing price?

Sometimes if the price appears to be too good to be true, it really is. It’s important to secure a relationship which improve your profit lines but still enables the OEM supplier to make a profit too. This means that your business will always be a priority and given the attention that it deserves. If the OEM manufacturer isn’t making money then you face some potentially disastrous consequences – the provider may go into insolvency with you losing any investment you have with them, or they may deprioritize your business when better opportunities arose. Worse still; they may close their arrangement with you and leave you floundering for another supplier.

SZCEIT understands exactly how OEM manufacturing in China can be of great benefit to your business, and can work with you to help you get the best value from the process.

Don’t Write China Off Just Yet

China Manufacturing

Will Manufacturing Return to the West?

On reading his obituary in the New York Journal, Mark Twain quipped, “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”  China may soon find itself having to make statements of a similar nature. Commentators in the West have been excitedly predicting that manufacturing will return to the West as costs rise in China.

It is true that labor costs are rising in China, and have been for a number of years, but does that automatically mean that companies will suddenly up sticks and come running back to produce goods in Europe and the United States?

We don’t think so and here’s our list of reasons why:

  • Abundance of low cost product development in China – China’s universities are dedicated to churning out skilled engineers of all disciplines to support their factory-based economy. Over in the West engineering skills have long been in decline, and that skillset can’t be rebuilt overnight.
  • Experience matters – China is the world’s manufacturer, every town and city has an industrial base or bases and that means there’s a large experienced workforce waiting to be called-up; the West simply doesn’t have this level of expertise anymore and it won’t be easy to “poach” Chinese experience because most Chinese factory workers don’t speak a word of English and most Western factory managers won’t have spent their time learning Mandarin.
  • Inefficiency – Unlike Western and Japanese companies, China is still yet to undergo its “quality revolution” which, when it comes, will enable cost savings at all levels of manufacturing and take Chinese products to the next level in consumers’ eyes.
  • Wage models – The data supplied in the current predictions of manufacturing returning to the West is suspect at best, it usually refers to “skilled labor” and as much of manufacturing runs on “unskilled labor” it puts a very positive slant on the distribution of income. Some reports have put Chinese labor costs at only half of American or European labor costs – in that case they’re going to be disappointed to learn that the majority of workers in Chinese factories earn around $250 USD a month and that’s more like 1/8th of the cost of labor in the West.

Even if the predictions were true, and Chinese manufacturing was suddenly to become cost-ineffective when compared to the West, what is the likelihood that manufacturers would return en-masse to producing products in Europe and the United States? Given that labor costs in other developing nations are still extremely low, isn’t it more likely that those jobs would move on to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh etc?

At SZCEIT we approach client’s manufacturing needs rationally and, at the moment, the costs of Chinese manufacturing are more competitive than in the West; quality can be easily achieved if you have the right relationships with the producers and that means big advantages for you and your customers.