ST-Ericsson jettisons much of its processor work
ST-Ericsson on Monday backed out of core app processors in an attempt to streamline its work. Research and development, and the matching staff, would be transferred to STMicro. In turn, STMicro would license back the technology it develops so that ST-Ericsson could implement it in modem-equipped processors for smartphones and tablets.
Products competitive with Qualcomm's Snapdragon
ST-Ericsson is expected to unveil its plans to restructure its operations within the next two weeks. Reuters sources now claim that the reorganization of the joint venture between Sweden's Ericsson and France's STMicroelectronics is in line with the company's plans to be acquired by another chipmaker. Potential buyers named include AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, and Texas Instruments.
STMicro STCF04 pumps phone camera flash power
STMicro this week unveiled a chip that could have a major impact on the quality of low-light photography in cameras and smartphones. The STCF04 elevates the peak power of an LED-based flash from a few Watts at most to over 40. To STMicro, the power is likened to that of a floodlight and could either compensate for a very dense and therefore dimmer camera sensor resolution or else reach much further than a typical phone flash.
WebM Community Cross-License guards video patents
The WebM Project took a defensive measure on Monday with the creation of the WebM Community Cross-License. The approach will see 17 companies and groups give licenses to any WebM-related patents they have to other CCL members. Google, Matroska, and Xiph.org form the core but are joined by AMD, Cisco, Huawei, LG, Logitech, MIPS, Mozilla, Opera, Pantech, Quanta, Samsung, STMicro, TI, and Verisilicon.
BlackBerry PlayBook gets iFixit dissection
RIM scored a minor victory on Tuesday after a teardown of the BlackBerry PlayBook by iFixit came down in its favor. The inaugural tablet's repair friendliness reached seven out of 10, higher than the iPad 2's four, for components that could be much more easily extracted. Despite the smaller and largely very thin design, the back cover, mid-plane construction, and individual components could all be swapped out easily if necessary.
Rambus sues NVIDIA and five others over DDR RAM
Rambus late Wednesday sued six semiconductor firms in a patent dispute that could jeopardize electronics. The multiple suits filed in a Northern District of California court accuse Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek, NVIDIA and STMicro of copying Rambus technology for DDR memory, including GDDR memory for graphics, as well as common connection standards such as DisplayPort, PCI Express, SAS and SATA. It claimed ownership of some of the techniques after having bought the patents from Velio Communications in 2003, EETimes noted.
Nokia, LG, Toshiba, others sued over patents
Last week, the California Institute of Technology filed a lawsuit against Nokia, LG Electronics and STMicroelectronics, among others, over allegedly infringing patents related to cellphone camera technology. Nine patents are under dispute, with handsets from the two electronics giants as well as Pantech allegedly violating its works. Caltech seeks unspecified damages for what it said in the suit was willful infringement.
iPod nano seen costing 45 US to build
Apple's sixth generation iPod nano costs just a third of its selling price to make, iSuppli estimated in a cost breakdown today. The bill of materials and manufacturing for an 8GB iPod nano reach only $45.10. The device is the second least expensive iPod to make so far, being beaten only by the fourth generation $40.80 nano.