Chip wars: LG’s own silicon could debut in January

“Selling finished goods with good pricing is an old strategy.”

Korea Times has inside word that LG will show off its own ARM-based chip at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. The first such chip is anticipated for web-based television sets and future chips could be used for LG smartphones and tablets. LG reportedly has 550 engineers working chip designs for mobile devices. Engadget notes that¬†TSMC is reportedly making the chips for LG; good for the chip-maker, which could also make Apple’s mobile chips soon.

LG has long been a licensee of ARM chips and last year re-affirmed its use of such silicon with licenses for the latest ARM designs. Of particular note is a license for the Cortex-A15 design, which is just now rolling out: The next generation system-on-a-chip is used by Samsung for its $249 Chromebook.

apple-a5-featureWhy design chips and have someone else build them? It’s too much of an investment to build your own chip fabrication plant for starters. And by customizing a base ARM design, companies can create silicon that’s optimized for specific product features. Apple and Samsung both do this today and even HTC has gotten a little “chippy,”¬†designing its ImageSense digital processing solution for its smartphone cameras.

While these custom chips are kept to in-house products for Apple and HTC, Samsung is generating revenue through sales of its chips; something that LG may smartly be considering in the future.

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