Is Apple really that much of a chip hopper?
If Apple follows through and uses a chip designed by its latest acquisition, PA Semi, in a future product, the company will have made major bets on Power, x86, ARM, and Power again in just this decade. What, no love for SPARC or MIPS?
A PA Semi representative on Wednesday confirmed last night's news that Apple has paid $278 million for the low-power chip designer. Led by prominent chip designer Don Dobberpuhl, the two-and-a-half-year-old company makes chips for embedded devices based on IBM's Power instruction set.
So what might … Read more
Via Technologies is shipping samples of the new Isaiah processor targeted at low-cost compact computers.
Via's current C7 processor is already used by Everex in its CloudBook, by OQO in the Model 02, and by Hewlett-Packard in thin-client computers and in certain models that the computer maker sells in China. Both the C7 and Isaiah are x86-compatible processors, meaning they can run the same software that Intel amd AMD chips do.
Samples of the Isaiah-architecture-based x86 chips are now being shipped "aggressively" to customers with a release timeframe of May-June, said Glenn Henry, CEO of Centaur Technology, … Read more
SANTA CLARA, CALIF.--Intel CEO Paul Otellini sought to reassure major investors Wednesday that the world's largest chip maker is still poised for strong growth into new areas like mobile computers, and can maintain its current lead in PC technology.
Otellini reiterated much of Intel's pitch from the last six months that the world of handheld mobile computers and low-cost PCs can supplement the slowing-but-steady growth of the PC market. Intel is investing new products like its Atom processor and attempting to break into these new markets by reminding software developers and device makers that Intel's chips … Read more
Transmeta, the erstwhile x86 chip competitor, is coming under attack from shareholders.
The fact that the company posted revenue of only $44,000 in the third quarter, "which included $43,000 of services revenue and $1,000 of license revenue for royalty payments" may or may not have anything to do with Friday's proposed buyout by Riley Investment Management, which owns over 6 percent of Transmeta shares.
The investment firm does have serious questions about the business model based on the LongRun2 technology--described by Transmeta as a suite of technologies for advanced power management and "… Read more
Things are getting spicier in the effort to court Linux allies for networked mobile devices.
ARM on Wednesday announced a collaboration with six companies that's intended to improve Linux for the processor cores that ARM licenses to numerous other companies. It's a nice counterpoint to Intel's work to try to make a go with Linux for the x86-based mini-PCs it calls mobile internet devices (MIDs).
The companies--Marvell, MontaVista, Movial, Mozilla, Samsung, and Texas Instruments--"are all working to accelerate the enablement of truly always on, connected mobile computing (CMC) devices," ARM said in a statement … Read more
The ongoing tussle between Intel and AMD has dominated the news in recent weeks, but there's another potential battleground shaping up for Intel that could have a huge impact on personal computing.
A major topic I want to cover over the next several months is the looming showdown as the smart phone industry tries to develop more powerful computers, and the PC industry tries to build smaller and smaller computers. This week has provided a decent glimpse of Intel's vision of where it thinks the industry needs to go with its Silverthorne processor, designed for a new concept … Read more
I learned today that Intel has a Mobility Group and an Ultra Mobility Group. There's a sensible explanation for the difference: notebook PCs are defined as "mobile"; smaller systems are considered "ultra-mobile."
Intel further divides these ultra-mobile machines into two smaller classes: ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) and mobile Internet devices (MIDs). Traditionally, the former have 7" screens; the latter category goes all the way down to the tiny screens of smartphones.
Intel's Anand Chandrasekher, senior VP and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, took the stage for the second keynote of the day to talk about "Unleashing the Internet Experience."
His primary contention is that… Read more
Remember how I said that Moore's Law is "the full-employment act for computer pundits"?
In the smaller niche of microprocessor journalism, there used to be another topic that was always good for a column: RISC vs. CISC.
In the early days of computing, a CPU (central processing unit) was a series of refrigerator-size cabinets in the computer room. Memory capacity was very limited. Computer scientists would analyze how programs executed on these machines and look for ways to shorten and speed up their programs by defining… Read more
AMD is asking software developers to consider its new x86 instructions when developing games and media applications in upcoming years.
Intel and AMD keep adding to the venerable x86 instruction set with new instructions that anticipate the performance of future applications. Intel will release SSE4 extensions later this year with the Penryn chips, and now AMD has proposed adding SSE5 instructions to its processors around the time the Fusion chips are released.
The proposal would add almost 50 new instructions that give software developers more tools to work with in designing next-generation applications. More details can be found on AMD's developer Web site, … Read more