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Government Shutdown Could Delay New Gadgets

It could impact smartphone, computer and tablet launches


Washington DC CapitolThe ramifications of a political fight among lawmakers in Washington, D.C., could spill over into the technology industry, affecting consumers in ways many probably never imagined.

New electronics products, including smartphones, gaming consoles, TVs and other mobile devices, must receive certification from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before they can hit store shelves. The FCC evaluates radio signals emitted by about 16,000 devices every year to ensure that they comply with regulations and will not interfere with other radio transmissions, Bloomberg notes.

But the government shutdown — now in its second week — has forced the FCC to furlough 98% of its workforce. While private testing firms complete most of the certification process, the FCC must still provide the final approval on devices.

Without the required certifications, the launch new products from a number of major technology players, including Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Samsung could end up being delayed. The longer the shutdown lasts, the more likely those delays become.

A possible disruption in device approvals comes at a time when gadget-makers are shortening product lifecycles and rushing new devices to markets at an ever-increasing rate to satisfy consumer demand.

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