Apple finally making leap
An Italian blog has posted photos of what it claims is the logic board for the iPhone 5, set to be announced later today. The board notably uses an A6 chip, indicating that Apple is finally advancing beyond the A5 line. When the third-generation iPad was introduced in March Apple designated its processor the A5X, since the chip was little different from the A5 except for graphics power.
HP previously said memristors due for summer 2013
HP's long-promised memristor (memory resistor) technology won't appear in a consumer product until 2014. This according to an HP representative speaking earlier this week at the Kavli Foundation Roundtable. As The Register reports, the company is taking into account the fiscal concerns of its manufacturing partners in deciding when to roll out a commercial product.
Hynix appeal against Rambus denied by high court
The US Supreme Court hasn't allowed Hynix Semiconductor to begin an appeal against memory maker Rambus, the Wall Street Journal revealed. In its stillborn plea, Hynix argued that Rambus hid key information from JEDEC, an industry standards-setting organization, and therefore shouldn't be able to enforce some of its patents. Rambus was accused of failing to reveal plans for patenting technologies that had been adopted by JEDEC.
iFixIt gives Droid 4 poorest 4 out of 10 score
The Motorola Droid 4 is the latest subject of iFixit's teardowns. The team managed to remove the non user-removable battery fairly easily, though the hardware QWERTY keyboard is oddly integrated into the motherboard and difficult to repair. This was the main reason iFixit gave the Droid 4 its lowest repairability score to date, at 4 out of 10.
Lytro camera torn down by FCC, shows Wi-Fi, BT
Lytro's infinite focus camera has been torn down by the FCC, revealing its internal components. Behind the 1.5-inch display hides a Marvell Avastar 88W8787 system-on-chip that contains both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios. This is interesting, as it indicates the camera has the hardware required to be controlled over a wireless link or share its photos online.
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.
Elpida and Toshiba could make memory powerhouse
Japanese memory firms Elpida and Toshiba were reported as talking to unite or even being pushed together. Industry tips to Digitimes had the Japanese government acting as a broker to have Elpida match its RAM business with Toshiba's flash memory. The government would hope to hedge against the incursions of Korean and American companies like Hynix, Intel, and Samsung.
Hynix and Micron worried Anobit no longer a choice
Hynix and Micron are purportedly looking to alternatives for flash memory controllers in the wake of Apple's purchase of Anobit. The two are believed by Digitimes to be talking to Phison, Silicon Motion Technology, and Skymedi for alternatives to the longevity- and speed-boosting chips Anobit has been supplying. The two are thought by tipsters to be worried that Apple will either wield all the bargaining power or make Anobit an exclusive.
iFixIt gives Nook Tablet a 6/10 repair score
The iFixIt crew has just obtained the Nook Tablet conducted its traditional teardown in search of its repairability and parts. The full color e-book reader has a unique built-in design element that is the carabineer clip on its corner. The microSD card slot is right beside it and it's surrounded by two small circles that hide screws.
Jury rules 9-3 against Rambus' anti-trust claim
Memory maker Rambus suffered a major legal setback Wednesday when a California jury ruled that the two defendants against which Rambus had filed complaints, Micron and Hynix, were not guilty of anti-competitive behavior under the state's antitrust laws. The jury, in a nine to three decision, found that the two companies had neither conspired to to prevent Rambus' technology from getting a foothold in the market, nor fixed the price of memory chips. If Rambus had won, the company could have received up to $4 billion in direct damages and triple that in punitive damages.
Amazon Kindle Fire dissected by iFixit
A new teardown of the Amazon Kindle Fire has shown a relatively easy device to fix. Netting an eight out of ten score from iFixit, the Android tablet had an easy-open back and could use just one Philips screwdriver to get to nearly every fastener. Amazon was also shrewd in keeping the amount of glued-together components to a minimum, making it cheaper to replace the LCD, battery, or mainboard without having to swap multiple parts at once.
Deal lets SK diversify into new businesses
SK Telecom is planning to purchase a 21 percent stake in Hynix Semiconductor. The deal will make the South Korean carrier the memory chip maker's largest shareholder. The transaction is valued at 3.4 trillion won, or about $3 billion.
iSuppli teardown shows same price despite 3G swap
A new cost breakdown by IHS iSuppli has given more definitive raw parts costs for the iPhone 4S. A 16GB version of the phone is estimated to cost about $188, or within 50 cents of last year's model when it was new. The switch from an Infineon (now part of Intel) chip to the dual-mode Qualcomm chip had little impact on the cellular chipset, which in total cost about $14 to $15.
Intellectual Ventures now takes Motorola to court
Intellectual Ventures swung back into its patent lawsuit campaign by targeting Motorola Mobility, with the company now filing a patent infringement complaint (PDF) in the US District Court of Delaware. According to the company's Chief Litigation Counsel Melissa Finocchio said Intellectual Ventures and Motorola Mobility weren't able to reach a licensing agreement after lengthy negotiations. It thus has a responsibility to its current customers and investors to defend its intellectual property rights, the company claimed.
Intellectual Ventures sues over memory patents
Intellectual Ventures late Monday continued a string of lawsuits against technology firms with a new lawsuit (below) claiming companies violate five patents for system memory. The complaint hits direct memory part suppliers such as Adata, Elpida, Hynix, and Kingston but also some of their customers, such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Logitech. Even Best Buy and Walmart, stores merely selling the products, are included in the Seattle-based suit.
Claims and counterclaims in California court
In a legal battle being played out in a California Superior Court, memory producer Rambus has sued alternative memory manufacturers Micron and Hynix, claiming they were part of a conspiracy to drive Rambus and its RDRam chip technology out of the market. Today, the lawyer for Hynix tried to put the blame back at Rambus' own feet. In his opening argument, the lawyer claimed that Rambus's problems arose not by any of Hynix's actions, but from Rambus' own design and technology problems.
Rambus destroyed documents key to case: court
Rambus has destroyed documents that relate to patent cases it filed, a US appeals court said. Despite this, judges asked a lower court to review its decision to throw out a lawsuit. Memory chip makers Micron and Hynix Semiconductor, both of whom were involved in a lawsuit against Rambus, accused Rambus of destroying documents that were relevant to the case.
Toshiba power outage hurts NAND flash, maybe Apple
Toshiba today said it had a power outage at its Yokkaichi plant that could affect flash memory supply. The failure at 5:21AM yesterday stopped production and won't be fixed until sometime Friday. Without the two days of production, the company said it could lose as much as 20 percent of its planned flash shipments for January and February.
Company dismisses "patent troll" label
Patent holder Intellectual Ventures has initiated lawsuits against a long list of tech companies that failed to establish licensing agreements. One of the suits targets security software makers Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and Check Point. A second suit is aimed at memory manufacturers Elpida Memory and Hynix Semiconductor, while a third suit has been filed against component makers Altera, Lattice and Microsemi.
iPod touch reaches FCC with new details
In sync with the launch of the fourth-generation iPod touch, the FCC has posted Apple's filing for approval in the US. The shots show that the iPod touch manages to have a completely internal antenna despite the lack of the black plastic covering from the back. It also notes that the antenna has an insulator to reduce interference, though this is more likely to be for internal interference since the steel back isn't known to be used for reception.
New tech promises to replace transistors
HP has announced a new partnership with Hynix Semiconductor that aims to commercialize its "remristor" technology. The memory resistors are said to be a potential alternative to existing transistors, promising speeds up to 100 times faster than flash storage. Project scientists also highlight power savings, as memristors reportedly use a fraction of the energy compared to current technology.
EU says Samsung and others kept prices high
The European Union today fined a collective of memory producers 331.3 million euros (about $404.4 million) for price fixing. Electronics giants Hitachi, Mitsubishi, NEC, Samsung and Toshiba as well as Elpida, Hynix, Infineon and Nanya admitted they artificially kept RAM prices high between at least 1998 and 2002 by secretly coordinating pricing between each other. Samsung faces the largest fine and will pay 145.7 million euros ($177.8 million), but Infineon will also pay a large 56.7 million euros ($69.2 million) for its involvement.
EU may make firms take plea to avoid huge fines
The European Union is about to fine nine companies a total of $370 million for allegedly fixing pricing on flash memory, leaks revealed on Monday. Samsung, Hynix, Toshiba and six other major companies are being pressed to admit to colluding on high prices in exchange for seeing a 10 percent drop in the fines levied against each company. An NYT contact believed a ruling could come as soon as Wednesday.
Company may also gain iPhone contract
Samsung has taken an order of 3 million LCD displays for use in the Apple iPad, an industry source tells the Korea Times. Identified only as a "high-ranking industry representative," the source says that the deal is worth about $240 million. The pricetag is said to stem from the wholesale cost of an iPad screen. "The most expensive component in the iPad is the display and touchscreen interface that costs $80 for all models," the source remarks. "The 9.7-inch display is more than twice the size of the iPhone 3GS screen and costs five times as much."
Rambus gets some patents upheld
Rambus late Thursday achieved a partial win in its ongoing patent dispute with NVIDIA. While an International Trade Commission decision in January found that NVIDIA had infringed on three of Rambus' patents for memory technology, a US Patent & Trademark Office verdict this week said that one of the Rambus patents was invalid and partially invalidated a second patent. NVIDIA plans to appeal the decision on the remaining patent.
Samsung deal worth $900 million; NVIDIA to appeal
In separate actions, southern California memory technology company Rambus has cleared a procedural hurdle in in its patent-infringement case against NVIDIA, and settled a claim against South Korean electronics giant Samsung.
Korea FTC finds NAND producers innocent
Korea's Fair Trade Commission on Wednesday cleared four major memory producers of charges of price fixing. The regulators said their investigations, begun in January of 2007, found no evidence that the unnamed companies were colluding to keep flash and RAM prices high. Agency officials added that the closure of a US investigation in August also supported their decision to end the case.
Apple NAND buying may hurt Samsung
Apple was accused on late Sunday by anonymous industry sources of 'bullying' NAND flash memory suppliers through its purchasing tactics. The company has allegedly, knowingly requested more memory from Korean firms Hynix and Samsung on a regular basis than it actually buys when the supply is ready. The iPhone and iPod maker is said by the Korea Times to regularly wait until the glut forces a price drop and then to buy only a smaller amount of stock that leaves excess inventory once again.
Rambus' 17 patent claims against NV denied
NVIDIA claimed a legal victory on Tuesday as the US Patent and Trademark Office again denied a slew of patent claims Rambus has been using to try and block sales of NVIDIA's products. Similar to 41 previous claims, 17 claims by Rambus spread across three patents have been ruled invalid and can't be used in the memory maker's case with the International Trade Commission. The motion had argued that NVIDIA should be banned from selling graphics processors with memory controllers allegedly similar to those Rambus uses.
Apple triggers holiday 09 flash shortage
Apple's new iPods and other flash-based devices have sparked an industry-wide shortage in the NAND memory they use, unofficial industry contacts claimed today. Samsung, one of Apple's primary suppliers, is claimed by DigiTimes as having cut its supply of flash memory to Taiwan companies in half. Other companies are faring worse, as Hynix and Toshiba have only promised "limited supply" while Micron has simply said it has no spare supplies at all.
New iPhone 3GS memory
Two more companies are set to join the ranks supplying memory for the iPhone 3GS, industry sources claim. Hynix's 41nm NAND flash is said to have recently passed 3GS validation, paving the way for future deliveries. Details of a Micron agreement have also allegedly emerged, pointing to volume shipments for Apple beginning in August. Unlike Hynix, Micron has 34nm chips ready to go, the sources say.
NVIDIA free of Rambus suit
NVIDIA on Tuesday announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has initially rejected 41 patent infringement claims regarding seven patents Rambus has filed against NVIDIA back in July of 2008. NVIDIA challenged these claims in November of 2008, when Rambus filed a complaint in an International Trade Commission (ITC) action. All patent infringement claims from Rambus relate to memory controllers in graphics processors.
FTC Quits Rambus Case
The US Federal Trade Commission today dropped its antitrust case against memory producer Rambus. The company had previously been found guilty of abusing its monopoly power but successfully won an appeal in 2008; the FTC's decision to quit follows after its own appeal was rejected in February and the government body considered its options. Officials say the departure comes after they decide it would "not be in the public interest" to pursue Rambus further.
Hynix 1Gb 54nm Mobile RAM
Hynix today revealed that it has produced the first 1-gigabit (256MB) mobile DDR2 memory based on a 54 nanometer manufacturing process. Shrinking the chip design has let the company simultaneously raise its maximum clock speed up to 1,066MHz -- the same as desktop memory -- but also to drastically reduce the power versus earlier mobile RAM. The denser memory consumes about half as much power as earlier mobile DDR2 and just 30 percent that of full-fledged desktop memory.
iPhone flash memory orders
Apple's preparations for the next-generation iPhone line is constraining worldwide supplies for leading flash memory manufacturers and may increase prices. A new analyst report says that Apple’s (unannounced) refresh of iPhones is putting increased pressure on flash memory manufacturers managing dwindling inventory. According to Cult of Mac, ThinkEquity analyst Vijay Rakesh is telling clients that Apple has begun placing orders for memory for a yet unannounced upgrade to the current iPhone 3G and the rumored "iPhone Nano" or a similar device. Most recently RBC analyst Mark Abramsky claimed that a $99 iPhone would appear later this summer, but that the device would not be a rumored iPhone nano, but instead a pared-down regular iPhone.
Hynix 1Gb DDR3 RAM Chip
Hynix has joined in launches at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference with what's billed as the world's first 1-gigabit DDR3 RAM chip. The storage is equivalent to about 128MB and was achieved by using a new 44-nanometer manufacturing process that Hynix notes is about 50 percent more efficient than the old 54nm technique it replaces. Power consumption should also go down with the advancement in storage.
Hynix 2Gb Mobile RAM
Hynix on Wednesday boosted its Mobile Memory line and said it has developed the world's first two gigabit (256 megabyte) mobile RAM chip. The use of a smaller 54 nanometer manufacturing process has let the company double its previous best capacity while also improving the performance over past chips. Bandwidth for the outside world has been stepped up to 400 megabits per second, while the chip can process 1.6 gigabytes per second internally.
Hynics Small 32GB Flash
Hynix today unveiled a new upgrade to its flash memory that it hopes will dramatically improve the capacity of portable media players and other flash-bound devices. The company's version of three-bits-per-cell technology lets the company stack data to offer as much as 32 gigabytes of data into a tighter space. Despite the capacity jump, the 32GB chip occupies 30 percent less area than a more typical two-bits-per-cell flash chip, the company says. The space would allow a single chip to hold as many as 8,000 average-size MP3 tracks.
Rambus Seeks Hynix Ban
Memory producer Rambus today revealed that it will petition for an injunction against industry rival Hynix, barring the latter from shipping RAM that allegedly infringes on Rambus patents. The action was requested after a federal court green-lighted legal efforts against Hynix as well as fellow memory producers Micron and Nanya, saying that the move to enforce patents would not tread on US antitrust laws. Rambus has said it would be willing to license the patents in exchange for royalties for memory sold.
Hynix and Samsung Bluff
Hynix and Samsung are gaming the market by claiming to have more orders from Apple for high-capacity memory than actually exist, according to accusations made by local rivals. While the two memory makers have reportedly both said they are taking large amounts of orders for the 32 gigabit (4GB) flash memory used in iPhones and iPods, the alleged sources claim that both suppliers are deliberately inflating the amount of memory ordered to artificially raise prices. By creating a perceived shortage, the two memory makers could reportedly take extra profits from other companies ordering at the same time.
Apple Yet to Order Flash
Apple is sending worrying signs that it hasn't ordered any significant amounts of the NAND flash memory it needs, say some of its Asian manufacturers. Although the company bought as much as $1.3 billion in memory over 2007, it hasn't started large orders since 2008 began and is effectively forcing its suppliers to sell flash below cost due to oversupply. Even the MacBook Air, which needs a large 64GB of memory for its solid-state drive, isn't enough to help clear stock due to its high price and low volume, according to the reports.
Hynix 8GB DDR2 RAM
Hynix this morning took a step towards expanding the RAM limits for many computers by targeting an upgrade its DDR2 line at a niche audience. The company has successfully developed an 8GB memory stick that offers registered, double-rank memory for previous-generation AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon-based workstations. Though clocked lower than today's latest memory, the new capacity is reached through controllers that can handle twice as many chips as before: this permits using inexpensive one-gigabit chips stacked together in place of two-gigabit models, according to Hynix.