The trend for microelectronic devices has historically been, and will continue to be, toward a smaller feature size, faster speeds, more complexity, higher power, and lower cost. The driving force behind these advances has traditionally been microprocessors. With the tremendous growth of wireless telecommunications, rf applications are beginning to drive many areas of microelectronics that traditionally were led by developments in microprocessors. An increasingly dominant factor in rf microelectronics is electronic packaging, and the materials needed to create the package, because the package materials strongly affect the performance of the electronics. Many challenges remain for the packaging of microprocessors as well. These challenges include increased speed, the number of input/output interconnects, decreased pitch, and decreased cost. This article highlights the key issues facing the packaging of high-performance digital and rf electronics.