Last fall we took a close look at the world's 25 largest manufacturing export economies to see which countries are most aggressively automating production and which are lagging. Nearly half of the countries -- Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand -- are generally considered emerging markets. Surprisingly, the countries moving ahead most aggressively -- installing more robots than would be expected given their productivity-adjusted labor costs -- were all emerging markets: Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Countries moving more slowly in the adoption of industrial robotics include Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico and Poland.
And analysts and product designers said fresh breakthroughs are running up against the practical limits of what's possible in current smartphone hardware in terms of screen size, battery life and network capacity. The financial stakes are high as the futures of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, the world's three biggest listed companies at the end of last year, may turn on who gets the jump on making handsets redundant. Lindholm, now runs KoruLab, developers of compact, ultra-efficient software for running wearable devices. Financial analysts at UBS estimate smartphone makers will generate more than 323 billion in revenue this year, a 1.4 percent decline from last year.