Group seeking new members; Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm not members
Cellphone manufacturers Broadcom, Huawei, Oppo, Samsung Electronics and Spreadtrum today announced the formation of MobileBench, a new industry consortium formed to provide more effective hardware and system-level performance assessment of mobile devices. The consortium will initially focus on addressing the need of developers to better understand every element within the mobile platform and deliver optimal system-level performance to enhance the user experience.
New chipset capable of serving Internet to vehicle occupants
Wired and wireless communications solutions provider Broadcom, today announced a new line of wireless chips, targeted for use in automotive infotainment applications. Featuring the latest in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart Ready technology, Broadcom's wireless automotive chips will allow drivers and passengers to sync and stream content from mobile devices to the car's entertainment system and rear-seat displays. The new chips also enable high-speed connectivity beyond the vehicle, serving Internet content by way of LTE or directly from a Wi-Fi connection.
Small-sized offering aimed at smartphones, tablets
Broadcom on Tuesday announced that it has commenced testing of a new LTE chip with its largest customers. The chip is the first of its kind from the manufacturer, and is aimed at competing products from LTE leader and pioneer Qualcomm. Broadcom said today that it expects devices with its LTE chip to go into production in 2014.
Pact with Broadcom allegedly already signed
Apple is working on implementing 802.11ac Wi-Fi into 2013 Mac models, according to sources for The Next Web. The people say that Apple has signed a deal with chipmaker Broadcom, even as the ac standard is still undergoing some revisions. Modern Apple hardware, such as the iMac, supports Wi-Fi standards up to 802.11n.
Proof-of-concept code knocks affected devices offline
Proof-of-concept example code shows a vulnerability in the firmware of two wireless chips sold by Broadcom -- the BCM4325 and the BCM4329. The chips are found in recent devices such as the iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, HTC Droid Incredible 2, Motorola Droid X2, and some Edge model cards manufactured by Ford. The flaw makes the devices vulnerable to attacks that render the Wi-Fi connection unusable for the duration of the attack.
A number of chip makers have already started stocking parts intended to be used in production of Apple's next-generation iPhone, according to industry sources for DigiTimes. Qualcomm and Broadcom are said to be producing 4G and Wi-Fi chips using a 28nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. OmniVision is also said to be hunting for production at TSMC's 12-inch fab, contributing to limited production capacity. OmniVision specializes in camera components, and has supplied cameras for Apple handhelds in the past.
Fifth-generation Wi-Fi standard finally reaching consumers
Asus has unveiled its ROG G74VW gaming notebook, which will be the first consumer-oriented notebook to be fully compliant with 802.11ac, the fifth-generation Wi-Fi standard. The notebook is the result of a collaborative effort between Asus and Broadcom. The announcement of the new Asus notebook was followed by the debut of a new Asus dual-band router that also supports the Wi-Fi standard.
TSMC gets indirect connection to Apple
TSMC may have at least some involvement in Apple's device supply chain based on claims by Taiwan's Economic Daily News. The business newspaper asserted that the contract manufacturer had landed deals for power management parts designed by Dialog Semiconductor for future Apple hardware. TSMC had supposedly already involved itself with iPads and iPhones by manufacturing Broadcom, CSR, Cirrus Logic, and Qualcomm.
Broadcom GPS mobile chip tech is more accurate
Chipmaker Broadcom has released a new chip, the BCM4752, that uses the company's newly developed location architecture that promises a tenfold increase in performance for GPS position lock-ins. It also bolsters indoor positioning in smartphones. At the same time, the 40nm CMOS design is said to reduce power consumption by 50 percent and the total board's surface area by 44 percent.
NVIDIA and Rambus sign five-year pact
Rambus on Wednesday struck a deal with NVIDIA to license its patents. The deal extends for five years and is in return for ending Rambus' lawsuit as well as any other legal action. Other details were secret, Rambus said.
First Raspberry Pi PCs to be finished by Feb 20
Raspberry Pi has recently revealed it will begin shipments of its $35 PC near the end of the month. The first batch will complete its manufacturing phase on February 20, with the first buyers expected to take delivery before month's end. That first PC will be sized similarly to a deck of playing cards and is not much more than a bare board with a number of connections.
USPTO rules last of 3 core Rambus patents invalid
Rambus' litigation campaign suffered a possibly fatal setback Friday after the USPTO pushed word that it had invalidated the final patent out of three the company has been using to sue a large part of the technology industry. Having quietly made the decision on Tuesday, the patent office's appeals board left Rambus without any of the patents it has been using to sue NVIDIA, Hynix, HP, and others. The first two had been scrapped in September.
Broadcom makes deal with SlingBox, Myriad
Chipmaker Broadcom has made a few significant deals this week, partnering with Sling Media for its EchoStar set-top technology and with Myriad for the Alien Vue solution. The deals could result in a Broadcom system-on-chip that may allow set-top boxes for TVs that run Android apps and aren't limited to home Wi-Fi networks. Thus far, only Dish Network allows place-shifting in Sling's Slingbox set-tops.
Broadcom adds first four 802.11ac chipsets
Broadcom claimed the distinction of being the first to make chipsets with 802.11ac, being nicknamed 5G Wi-Fi, on Thursday. The BCM43516, BCM43526, BCM4352, and BCM4360 all have twice as much bandwidth per channel as the current-fastest 802.11n and can stack multiple streams together to get very high speeds. The flagship chip, the BCM4360, can unite three streams and hit 1.3Gbps.
Legal cases against 5 others continues
Rambus on Thursday said it had signed a patent license deal with Broadcom. In conjunction with the five-year agreement, the two companies have settled a legal battle that began last year when Rambus sued Broadcom and five other semiconductor makers of copying its memory technology as well peripheral connectivity technology. No other details of the agreement or settlement have been released.
Keyboards backwards-compatible with Bluetooth PCs
Broadcom has introduced a new chip that is claimed to enable Bluetooth keyboards to run for up to 10 years without swapping or recharging batteries. The low-power component is specifically geared for human interface devices (HIDs), such as keyboards and mice, that are used in conjunction with tablets, smartphones and computers.
ARM Cortex-A7 promises speed in sub-100 phones
ARM chose Wednesday to reveal a new mobile processor design that could make possible smartphones under $100 that still have real performance. Cortex-A7 MPCore borrows some of the optimizations from the A15 and rolls them into a budget design. Although it's a fifth the size of the older Cortex-A8 at 0.5mm square and five times more power efficient, speed is "significantly greater" and closer to that of a higher-end $500 phone, ARM argued.
Chips geared for smartphones
Broadcom has announced a new series of near-field communication (NFC) chips geared for smartphones and other small devices. The latest offerings are claimed to be significantly smaller than many alternatives, manufactured using a 40nm CMOS process, while also slashing power consumption by approximately 90 percent.
Apple scrambling to be ready for iPhone 5 launch?
Apple and Broadcom are likely behind "rush orders" received by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Bloomberg suggests. TSMC recently announced that third-quarter sales would beat forecasts because of the orders, officially attributed to an unnamed client. Because other major TSMC clients have had subpar results, the company in question is thought to be Broadcom; in turn, a Bloomberg analyst describes Broadcom as the "largest link" between Apple and TSMC.
Heats up competition in communications segment
Broadcom Corporation announced that it will acquire NetLogic Microsystems, Inc, subject to regulatory approval and NetLogic stockholders. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the deal. The acquisition gives Broadcom added depth, which it intends to use to provide integrated solutions for the networking, mobile computing and smartphone segments of the communications industry.
NVIDIA buys Icera for 367 million
NVIDIA made the leap into making its own complete mobile chipsets on Monday with a deal to buy Icera for $367 million. The mutual agreement gives it access to cellular baseband chips for 3G and 4G phones and tablets. NVIDIA expected to become a one-stop shop for mobile makers who could get the main processor and its cellular link from the same company, both speeding up launch times and roughly double NVIDIA's cash from each sale.
iFixit tears down Wi-Fi iPad 2
(Update: done) iFixit on Friday conducted a teardown of the Wi-Fi iPad 2 providing hard details of the tablet. The look revealed that the battery is slightly higher capacity than on the old model, at 25Wh versus 24.8Wh, despite the new frame being much thinner. Its design is dominated almost entirely by the pack where it used to be just the largest part.
Broadcom chip has 1.1GHz ARM CPU, 1080p video
Broadcom on Wednesday introduced a new dual-core ARM Cortex A9 1.1GHz CPU that it's targeting at high-end mobile hardware. The system-on-chip BCM28150 uses the company's Merlyn app processor and the company's latest VideoCore IV mobile graphics, allowing for 1080p video playback as well as smooth 3D games at the same resolution. It will be used in Android devices and those that use other open-source operating systems.
Chips geared for budget handsets
Broadcom has introduced a new baseband processor, the BCM2157, designed for Android handsets. The component features a dual-core ARM11 processor running at 500MHz, supporting H.264 video decoding in WQVGA quality at 30fps. Other supported features include multi-touch displays and 7.2Mbps HSDPA 3G connectivity.
Intel Oak Trail said in mass production
Intel has started full production of its Oak Trail platform for Atom-based tablets, insiders said Wednesday. The first processor to ship in the Atom Z600 series should be a Z670 running at an unknown clock speed with one Oak Trail chipset, SM35, to keep it running. Price would be the focus as the combination would cost about $25 when using Intel's in-house MeeGo platform, Digitimes tips said, with Microsoft's relatively expensive Windows 7 adding more.
Dell Inspiron Duo gets launch date, price
Dell today formally revealed the Inspiron Duo, its first tablet netbook and its current attempt at a more direct Windows alternative to the iPad. The design hinges on its 10-inch display, which revolves vertically and turns the Duo into either a multi-touch slate or a touch-aware netbook. A custom layer on top of Windows 7 gives users access to media, the web and an iBooks-style e-reading app.
Samsung Galaxy Tab gets US teardown
Samsung's Galaxy Tab was given an American teardown today by iFixit that contrasted the similarity to Apple on the outside with the difference inside. The design is "definitely mimicking Apple" in its shell and has a proprietary dock connector that's virtually identical to the 30-pin layout. Samsung has also unintentionally duplicated Apple's sealed-in design since users need two separate tools to pry open the plastic frame, although it doesn't have retaining clips that could be broken.
iSupply finds Galaxy Tab overpriced versus iPad
Samsung may be charging a premium on the Galaxy Tab despite it actually costing less to make than an iPad, iSuppli estimated today in a cost breakdown. Although the Galaxy Tab is within $30 of a 3G iPad in stores, it only costs about $205.22 in raw parts where Apple's larger 16GB tablet costs $59 more to produce. Analysts indirectly accused Samsung of making an upsized Galaxy S phone but charging a tablet premium.
Wi-Fi Direct devices now being certified
The Wi-Fi Alliance today started certifying devices to use Wi-Fi Direct, its new standard for creating point-to-point links. The standard builds on the basic concept behind Bluetooth and lets a Wi-Fi device pair directly with another without having to first join a local network. The method makes it possible to share media from a phone, play multiplayer games or otherwise communicate directly, even when no router exists
iFixit finds Toshiba SSD in smaller MacBook Air
An ongoing teardown of the new 11-inch MacBook Air by iFixit has discovered extra details beyond just what Apple showed during its own keynote. The ultraportable's SSD was already known to be custom since none take up its very narrow shape, but the 64GB example here is now known to be entirely Toshiba-derived and uses the Japanese firm's memory controller and four 16GB chips from the same firm. It won't be user-replaceable but, at half the thickness and less overall area, is key to the system's thin design.
Nokia N8 torn down by iFixit with surprises
iFixit today conducted a teardown of Nokia's just shipping N8 smartphone and discovered an unusually repairable device. Despite being wrapped in aluminum and officially unserviceable by the owner, the N8 actually has a completely stock battery that can be pulled out by anyone removing the bottom plate with a Torx T4 screwdriver. Virtually all components that aren't part of the mainboard can be replaced with the exception of the front and back cameras.
Could prove more profitable
The overhauled Apple TV costs less than $64 to make, even though it sells for $99, says iSuppli. The research firm notes that the most expensive part in the set-top is actually Apple's custom A4 processor, valued at $16.55. By radically reducing the cost of components in the new model, it should theoretically be more profitable than the older one. iSuppli comments that the use of the A4 may provide special savings, since the chip is already installed in the iPad, iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch.
Apple thought to be snubbing Infineon, Broadcom
Qualcomm will likely subcontract with TSMC -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. -- in order to produce 3G chipsets for next-generation iPhones and iPads, industry executives claim. TSMC uses a 65nm manufacturing process, one which analysts suggest should be enough to satisfy Apple's demands. TSMC itself will neither confirm or deny any plans, except to say that it's currently inundated with orders.
Apple TV torn down by iFixit
DIY repair shop iFixit this afternoon finished a teardown of the new Apple TV. The close look reveals that the hub has the same variant of the A4 processor as the iPod touch and has 256MB of RAM, rather than the 512MB of the iPhone 4. Apple has also put just a single 8GB Samsung flash chip to both hold the OS and cache movies during the streaming process.
ExoPC tablet takes advance sales
ExoPC this weekend acted on its promises and started taking pre-orders for the ExoPC Slate. The Windows tablet will first ship with a "fast" 64GB SanDisk SSD but without the initially hoped for GPS, since the current chip isn't working properly. In exchange, the price is dropping to $750 Canadian ($724 US), regardless of whether or not GPS is added back.
HP Mini 210 and 5103 get Atom N550
HP this morning revamped its Mini netbooks with a performance update and design refreshes. The Mini 210 and 5103 now have the choice of Intel's dual-core, 1.5GHz Atom N550 as an option. Picking the chip should significantly improve the speed of the 10-inch portable under some conditions but without affecting the 10.75 hours of battery life with the stock six-cell battery.
Dual touch 11.6-inch display
ExoPC confirmed today that it will begin taking pre-orders for its anticipated ExoPC Slate in early September, with shipments later the same month. First announced in February and initially expected in March, the delayed iPad challenger will feature a heavily customized version of Windows 7 Home Premium running on a typical 1.6Ghz Atom CPU.
Intel to complete Infineon wireless buyout soon?
A buyout of Infineon wireless by Intel that dates back nearly two months may finally come to an end this weekend, according to sources speaking to Reuters. What is still being negotiated is whether or not the whole unit will be sold or just a portion. The former could result in nearly $1.27 billion changing hands.
iPhone tests using near-field tech from NXP
Apple's plans for an iPhone with near-field wireless gained solidity today as a rumor claimed that prototypes already exist. The company is reportedly testing NFC chips made by NXP Semiconductor and is already using them for mobile payment tests. TechCrunch didn't elaborate further but noted Apple could switch to Broadcom or another firm for the finished product.
HP Mini 5103 business netbook arrives in the US
HP is now shipping the Mini 5103 pro netbook, which was just introduced last week in Europe. The 10.1-inch netbook can be had with a display resolution of 1024x600 or 1366x768, and capacitive multitouch layer can be added to the latter as well. Processing is handled by one of two Atoms; a 1.66GHz N455 or the newer, 1.83GHz N475, either paired with integrated GMA 3150 graphics. There is also 2GB of DDR3 RAM onboard, its key difference from the earlier Mini 5102.
HP quietly launches HP mini 5103
HP today slipped out an upgrade to its pro netbooks in the form of the Mini 5103. The 10-inch portable uses a 1.66GHz Atom N455 or 1.86GHz N475 but primarily gets a memory upgrade: either supports 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM instead of the more typical DDR2. Just 1GB is built-in, but 2GB is an option.
Intel leading bids to get Infineon for 2 billion
Intel's bid to buy Infineon's wireless business could be sealed within "days or weeks," insiders said this weekend [sub. required]. The chip designer has advanced far enough that it's the leading bidder even with competition from Broadcom and Samsung. While still uncertain, the WSJ tips assert that Intel has already performed due diligence on Infineon's finances to determine whether a deal would work.
Infineon Intel deal rumored to be worth 1.4b
Rumors that Intel would buy Infineon's cellular chip business gained fuel on Friday as Germany's Die Welt claimed that a deal is close. The two firms have purportedly met several times in the past two weeks and are tentatively at a price of between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion. No contract has been signed, but the two are now believed nearer to a deal than not.
HP speeds up earlier Mini netbooks with new Atoms
HP without fanfare has updated both the Mini 110 and Mini 210 to use Intel's faster 1.66GHz Atom N455 and 1.83GHz N475. Both provide an extra speed boost through the use of DDR3 memory. They should use slightly higher thermal peak power at 6.5W versus 5.5W but are still listed as getting similar battery life, at up to 9.5 hours for the Mini 110.
iPhone 4 costs more to make than iPhone 3GS
The iPhone 4 is Apple's most expensive ever phone to make short of the original phone itself, a price breakdown by iSuppli has found. A 16GB example costs about $187.51 in raw parts; the bill is less than the $223 of the 2007 original but more than the $173 iPhone 3G and the $178.96 iPhone 3GS. Most of that cost increase is attributed to the LG Display-built 960x640 IPS screen, which is estimated to cost $28.50 all by itself.
iPhone 4 has same speed as iPad
A quick dissection of the iPhone 4 by iFixit has discovered that it theoretically has performance as least as good as an iPad. The already-known A4 processor should run at the same 1GHz clock speed as seen in the Apple tablet, in spite of the smaller size, but with 512MB of memory should be better with multitasking. Whether Apple has quietly underclocked or otherwise detuned the A4 isn't known, but early benchmarking has suggested it's faster than an iPhone 3GS but not as fast as an iPad in practice.
HTC Evo 4G needs huge battery to keep battery life
A fresh teardown of the HTC Evo 4G by iFixit has revealed some of its inner workings and also given it an unfavorable comparison to the iPhone. Thanks to its 4.3-inch screen and 4G, Sprint's Android flagship needs a 23 percent larger battery than the iPhone 3GS just to get similar battery life to its smaller rival. The battery is also about 15 percent larger than that of a Droid Incredible and seven percent larger than the pack in a Nexus One.
2010 iPhone gets even more detail
A pair of surprise tests from Vietnamese sites have provided a slew of new details about the future iPhone, including video (shown below). Unlike the lost prototype, this version appears to be near or at final production and has a 16GB capacity that suggests Apple either has a low-end model planned or won't change storage. A higher resolution screen is also in evidence through an Apple engineering demo, but whether it's 960x640 or a lower density like 800x480 isn't known.
ExoPC to sport Broadcom graphics, due in fall
An update about the ExoPC tablet from BlogueDeGeek reveals that the 8.9-inch device will sport a Broadcom Crystal HD graphics chipset that would give it the capability to play back 1080p HD videos. Previously, the graphics were handled by an integrated Intel GMA950 chipset. According to the report, the device will also be released in France on September 7th, which could also be the same release date for North America.
ASUS Eee PC 1005PR with Broadcom Crystal now out
The Eee PC 1005PR netbook that was offered for pre-order late in April has now gone on sale at Amazon. The 10.1-inch LED backlit netbook has a relatively high 1366x768 screen resolution and can play back HD video locally and in-browser thanks to its Broadcom Crystal HD chipset and Flash 10.1 support. The netbook has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as standard fare as well.