updated 10:40 pm EDT, Mon April 26, 2010
Imagination and MIPS team to fight ARM
Imagination Technologies and MIPS today agreed to an alliance that would see the two promote each other's chips. While the two won't explicitly cooperate on projects, they will encourage partners that decide to use both Imagination's PowerVR graphics and a MIPS processor in the same device. The ability to run Android, Flash and other relatively demanding tasks requires it, MIPS' marketing VP Art Swift said.
An early example of the cooperation is a Sigma Designs chip that uses a MIPS processor but PowerVR SGX graphics to help it play HD video for DVRs and other media hubs.
The deal isn't exclusive and won't prevent either company from making parts for rivals' products, such as Imagination mating its technology to ARM processors or MIPS using Vivante graphics.
Regardless, the new relationship potentially complicates partnerships between Imagination and two of its key partners. Both Apple and Intel have non-controlling stakes in Imagination and have vested interests in promoting the use of PowerVR in their own processors, such as Apple's A4 or Intel's Atom. Neither company has said it plans a change of policy in the wake of the MIPS tie-in.