The Santa Clara, Calif., company, traditionally known for making graphics processing units found in computers and game consoles, has been counting on its Tegra mobile chip to help offset weakness in its core PC market. So far, it hasn't been enough. Nvidia is showing up in many tablets, but its presence in smartphones is minimal. In addition, the bulk of Tegra sales are for a couple of tablets, the Google Nexus 7 … Read more
So, does AMD have a solid Windows 8 tablet strategy this year? I'll let the reader decide, but AMD needs to be extra aggressive on the power-efficient chip front because it's not just an Intel-AMD fight now.
Windows 8 will bring ARM chip players like Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Freescale into the market, presenting AMD with plenty of heavyweight Windows competition.
Earlier in the week, I spoke with John Taylor, director of client product marketing and software at AMD, who cited two major chip designs for tablets, Hondo (2012) and Temash (2013). AMD now calls its chips … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Chip maker Freescale sees smartphone integration as the future of automotive infotainment systems.
Luke Smithwick, who runs the Driver Information and Infotainment Business section of Freescale, points out his daughters as an example of how young people's lives are on their smartphones. And no matter what regulations might be passed, those phones will find a way into the car. So Smithwick's mission is to work on technology that can safely integrate smartphones with driver information systems.
Among its displays here at CES 2012, Freescale had a head unit with its version of MirrorLink enabled, a new technology … Read more
While most Japanese wafer fabrication plants ("fabs") are located in the southern part of the country, hundreds of miles from the epicenter, at least one manufacturer is still shut down after last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami, according to Jim Handy, an analyst with semiconductor market research firm Objective Analysis. Some Japanese technology companies have curtailed operations.
But even plants in other parts of the country can be affected by rattling and, of course power glitches. "These are very sensitive plants because they are using extremely advanced optics to lay down lines as small as 25 … Read more
Chipmaker Freescale has designed a USB charger that knows when to stop working.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Freescale will announce availability of Watt Saver, a system that eliminates the "vampire" power draw of wall chargers for mobile phones and other small electronics.
Even when wall chargers are no longer plugged into phones, the chargers still draw a small trickle of electricity, ranging from less than a watt for efficient chargers to over 5 watts. The Freescale system can detect when a phone's battery is full or when it's been unplugged … Read more
IBM, Texas Instruments, Samsung, ARM, and others have formed a company to streamline development of products, such as tablets, on ARM processors.
Typically, companies wanting to develop for ARM processors--one of the most prolific chip designs in the world--need to wade through a morass of different operating systems and versions of those operating systems. Those include Google's Android and Chrome OSes, Ubuntu Linux, Palm's WebOS, and MeeGo from Intel and Nokia.
The new company, Linaro, is a non-profit software engineering outfit that intends to simplify the development process and is backed to the tune of "tens of … Read more
For about a year, a group of heavyweight automotive and technology companies has been working on a way to hasten development of in-vehicle entertainment systems. Their solution: share basic software development using the open-source Linux operating system.
Among the nearly 50 members of the group, called the Genivi Alliance, are automakers General Motors, BMW AG, Nissan Motor, and, as of February 17, Renault SA. Suppliers include Visteon, Delphi Automotive, and Continental AG.
The Genivi (pronounced jah-NEE-vee) Alliance is focusing on developing "middleware"--the layer of software that allows various kinds of information and entertainment applications to work together … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Before CES, one of our predictions as to what would be a big story on the show floor was the emergence of smartbooks, or mini-notebooks as they're sometimes called. The term was coined by Qualcomm in referring to tiny laptop-like devices using processors that are derived from smartphone-level CPUs, but are in many cases even more powerful. The two most common CPUs seem to be the Snapdragon from Qualcomm and the Tegra/Tegra 2 from Nvidia, both using ARM-based processors.
Consider the concept, ideally, as a device somewhere between a smartphone and a Netbook--hence "smartbook." Unfortunately, … Read more
Freescale Semiconductor has designs on new "smartbook" tablet computers and to prove it it's rolling out a second-generation reference design at the Consumer Electronics Show.
To say that tablet concepts are all the rage right now is, of course, an understatement. With a media frenzy over a reportedly imminent Apple tablet, companies like Freescale, which will supply the silicon guts of these newfangled computers, are eager to show concepts that they are peddling to device makers.
Freescale is pushing designs "with prices less than $200"--according to a statement--that integrate its version of the power-efficient ARM processor: the i.MX515 chip based on ARM Cortex-A8 technology.
Here's how Freescale describes the design: it will "provide instant-on functionality, persistent connectivity and all-day battery life." The tablet that the chipmaker will show at CES will run both the Android and… Read more
As a German company defends the "Smartbook" trademark, its actions underscore what happens when companies gratuitously heap new category monikers on top of existing--and perfectly adequate--naming schemes.
Question: what do Netbooks and smartbooks have in common? Besides looking pretty much the same to consumers (small, lightweight clamshell laptops), both terms have been the object of legal wrangling by companies claiming trademark infringement.
First, the term Netbook came under attack from Psion Teklogix. That dispute with Intel was settled in June. Now Germany-based Smartbook is claiming that Qualcomm's use of the term smartbook infringes on the eponymous company'… Read more