Five year investment in research to look at 'seven nanometer technology and beyond'
IBM announced today that it is re-committing itself to the computer landscape, as the company intends to spend $3 billion on research into future chip technologies. Over the next five years, Big Blue will invest in two "broad research and early stage development programs" in search of an innovation in the field. The shift in strategy comes at a time when the company was rumored to be selling off its chip manufacturing business.
'Dozens' of former Texas Instruments workers recruited
After the announcement in September that Texas Instruments (TI) would be laying off up to 250 engineering jobs (out of a planned cut of more than 1,700 employees), Apple may be using the opportunity to recruit "dozens" of engineers and specialists for its research centers in Hertezliya and Haifa in Israel, according to reports. Many of the engineers came for TI's own Israel-based OMAP and other smartphone and mobile chips. TI is said to be shutting down all Israeli operations, creating a pool of available processor talent.
Company drops OMAP5 after seeing Apple's A6
Earlier this week, Texas Instruments announced that it was getting out of the consumer-product chip business and focusing on embedded industrial chip uses, a blow to rivals who had been looking at the company's forthcoming OMAP5 chip as a rival to Apple's speedy A6. TI had been supplying Open Multimedia Applications Platform (OMAP) chips based on ARM designs to phone and tablet makers such as Amazon, Motorola, Nokia, LG, RIM and other companies, but was feeling the heat of increased competition and pressure to keep pace.
AMD table chip plans revealed
The AMD tablet processor road map has been leaked. Like its C-series chips, which are aimed at Intel’s Atom line, the new Z-series chips for tablets will be focused on a low TDP while delivering strong graphics capabilities. According to the leaked slide, AMD aims to deliver “The Ultimate HD Tablet.”
Apple hires IBM chip exec
An ex-IBM chip design expert is expected join Apple next month, but is facing a lawsuit from his former employer that could block his employment with the Cupertino-based company. According to the complaint, former IBM executive Mark Papermaster will join in Apple as a senior executive in what could be an attempt to make new inroads into the server market and/or bolster the company's Xserve line up. Papermaster, expected to work closely with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, is being sued by IBM to block his employment at Apple and prevent him from divulging trade secrets related to IBM's Power chips and server products.
AMD Fusion chip details
AMD's upcoming CPU/GPU chip will extend its portfolio of products as its rivals continue to search for new markets. On the heels of the Intel's Larrabee GPU unveiling on Monday and news of NVIDIA's upcoming integrated chip potentially finding its way into Apple's notebooks, leaks have revealed more details on AMD's Fusion "half-node" CPU/GPU combo chip -- which was in large part, one of the largest justification in AMD's acquisition of ATI. Citing industry sources, the TGDaily report indicates that AMD's half-node chip, due in Q1 of next year, will be manufactured by contract chip manufacturer TSMC, whose manufacturing headquarters on the main island of Taiwan (called Formosa). As the successor to the Puma platform, the first chip based on Fusion technology, code-named "Shrike," will integrate a dual-core Phenom CPU and an ATI RV800 GPU core, rather than the previously rumored dual-core Kuma CPU and a RV710-based graphics unit.
Long-life Flash memory
A new type of flash memory is being developed, according to today's reports, which not only takes up less space and uses less electricity than the current flash memory technology, but also lasts much longer as well. The ferroelectric chips under development by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology as well as the University of Tokyo will outlive current flash memory by a factor of about 10,000. Today's flash memory chips have a life of about 10 years, and can be re-written only an average of 10,000 times.
TSMC raises chip pricing
The industry's biggest in independent contract chip manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, announced Tuesday it is considering raising prices for higher-performance chips due to the rising costs of doing business. While the supplier hasn’t announced which chips will face the price hike or how much prices would go up, its many customers, including ATI, NVIDIA and VIA, would likewise adjust their prices to reflect the change to the public at large.