Uses single LTE chipset for all US carriers
In spite of shifting to more advanced components, the iPad Air is actually cheaper to build than the third-generation iPad was, according to a teardown by IHS iSuppli. The cost is estimated to be between $274 and $361 per unit, depending on the exact configuration. The base cost is $42 less than it was for the third-gen iPad. One contributing factor is the A7 processor, which while costing $18 per unit, is still $5 less than an A5 processor was 18 months ago.
Microphone technology developed for sole Nokia use in the HTC One
In the Amsterdam District Court, Finnish phone maker Nokia has won a court injunction that will stop device manufacturer HTC from using microphone parts co-developed and manufactured by STMicroelectronics NV in the new HTC One smartphone. A statement released by Nokia notes that the components were invented by Nokia, with the intention of being used exclusively in Nokia devices.
Joint venture between Ericsson and STMicroelectronics
Manufacturing partners Ericsson and STMicroelectronics will be shuttering ST-Ericsson, its poorly-performing mobile chip joint venture, and will divide parts of the business between the two companies. The venture had been suffering from a large drop in orders from its largest customer, Nokia, as market share of the companies handsets plummeted against competition from Apple and Samsung. ST-Ericsson had not turned a profit since it was formed in 2008, despite one in four smartphones sold in 2011 having some form of its technology integrated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nokia in talks with many chipmakers for WP phones
The first Nokia phones running on Windows Phone software after a February deal with Microsoft will use Qualcomm processors, according to a Friday report. But the Finnish phone maker is in talks with other chipset manufacturers for future Windows Phone handsets. Microsoft will work with other chipmakers at the same time, with one strong candidate being ST-Ericsson, claiming today it will supply Nokia's handsets.
Attributed to mics, accelerometers, gyroscopes
Apple has become the second largest buyer of MEMS (microelectromechanical system) sensors in the world, claims research firm iSuppli. During 2010 the company bought approximately $195 million worth of MEMS sensors, a 116.7 percent increase over the $90 million spent in 2009. The new figure puts Apple ahead of Nintendo, which slipped 11.5 percent from 2009 to $123 million, and just $5 million shy of Samsung, which grew 46 percent to $200 million.
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.
Functionality to match iPhone 4
Apple is likely to integrate a three-axis gyroscope in the next iPad, according to a UBM TechInsights analyst. The company allegedly tested a component from InvenSense, however the production model is likely to use a similar component from STMicroelectronics.
Mutual agreement likely
Apple has obstacles in Europe to overcome if it wants to legally use the name iPad, news sources observe. A joint French-Italian company, STMicroelectronics, is already said to have continental rights to the name under two trademark classifications, covering print usage and electronics and components. An Apple front is recently believed to have filed for six European classifications, including the two which STMicro operates under.
iPhone 3GS iSuppli Costs
Apple's newest iPhone actually costs slightly more to make than the older version in spite of the more modest update, iSuppli says. The iPhone 3GS' total bill of materials amounts to $178.96 for a 16GB model, or slightly more than the previous $174.33 of the 8GB iPhone 3G. Some of the cost difference is attributed to recent rises in the prices of NAND flash memory; although 16GB costs less to make than it did a year earlier, a small rebound due to economy-driven supply cutbacks means Apple has had to absorb some costs to double its storage.
Toshiba 28nm Deal Extends
Toshiba and NEC together said today that they would extend their agreement with IBM to produce 28 nanometer chip technology. The deal sees the members of the larger alliance continuing to work on the smaller, more efficient technology with the intention of using it for home user products. They now also say they expected 28nm to be particularly useful for "mobile communication devices" such as smartphones.
IBM intros 28nm chips
IBM announced on Thursday that it, along with partners Chartered Semiconductor, GlobalFoundries, Infineon, Samsung and STMicroelectronics, are jointly developing a 28-nanometer low-power, high-k metal gate (HKMG) bulk complementary metal oxide (CMOS) semiconductor for use in future processors. The technology would be used in mobile and consumer electronics devices such as Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), where it would extend battery life. The 28nm chips would reportedly provide a 40 percent performance gain and more than a 20 percent power decrease compared to 45nm technology in a chip that's about half the size.
Ericsson, STMicro join
Ericsson and STMicroelectronics on Wednesday announced they are entering into a joint venture to make wireless chips and software, effectively becoming a supplier to four of the major five cell phone makers with its products. The recent acquisition of Dutch chipmaker NXP by ST resulted in the company becoming the world's third-largest chipmaker, while Ericsson is the largest global mobile telecommunications equipment maker.