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Glossary: Chip famines
One of the many problems with silicon chips in high volume, low price applications is chip famines where demand outstrips supply every four years or so and there is rationing and price increases, particularly for the low price, low profit chips. This happened in 1999 with smart card chips and there was some rationing of other types of chip in 2004. Mass use of silicon chips in such applications as item level RFID and self adjusting use by dates will be particularly vulnerable to this disruption. Alternatives to the silicon chip notably printed electronics are therefore attractive for this reason alone. All forms of printed electronics employ simpler, lower cost production facilities than those employed for silicon chips.
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