Semiconductors

End of an era: Intel CEO Paul Otellini to retire in May

Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini will step down in May. So far no successor has been named, but the transition in leadership will occur as the entire chip industry deals with a transition from high performance general purpose computing to more special-purpose, efficient chips.

IBM has developed a new carbon nanotube-based chip making technology

By combining chemistry, processing and engineering expertise, IBM researchers have come up with a new chip technology that would allow the industry to get more powerful, yet smaller with lower power consuming chips. It may take more than a decade before the technology become commercially viable.

Want a terabyte iPad? Then you’ll want to read this

In the latter half of the 19th century, the introduction of elevators and steel trusses enabled us to put up taller buildings with denser cores. It changed urban landscapes forever–packing more people into small spaces. Now, chips are set to benefit from a similar design leap.

Intel’s 3-D transistors are now in production!

Intel has introduced its latest generation of processor cores at 22 nanometers. The new chips are up to 20 percent faster and consume 20 percent less energy, but the biggest news is that these chips are the first that will use Intel’s new 3-D transistors.

Top Chips! Intel hits a high as our gadgets multiply

Intel has taken the top spot when it comes to semiconductor market share, making 15.6 percent of the overall chips sold in the world, according to IHS iSuppli. This year it made more money on more products — achieving a market share it hasn’t seen since 2001.

Micron CEO dies in plane crash

Steve Appleton, chairman and CEO of semiconductor company Micron Technology passed away in a plane crash Friday morning. The small plane crashed near Boise, according to a company statement. Appleton, who joined Micron in 1983 and has been CEO since 1994, was 51 years old.

Intel’s dilemma: Whose problem do Ultrabooks solve?

At Intel’s CES press event, Ultrabooks were the focus, as were the six “experiences” these thin and light notebooks bring. But consumers are getting such experiences from smartphones and tablets, so who has a problem that could be solved by Ultrabooks? Intel itself comes to mind.

Roku in 2012: Is it time to sell?

There are two rumors about Roku going around these days: One says that the company is getting ready to be acquired, possibly by Intel. The other one says it’s getting more funding. Which one makes more sense for Roku? The answer may surprise you.

Report: Apple’s A5 processor now made in the U.S.

One of the key components of Apple devices — the iPad 2- and iPhone 4S-powering A5 processor — is apparently now American-made. A new report from Reuters Friday says that the A5 processor is now being made by Samsung for Apple at a factory in Austin, Texas.

IBM’s 3 big chip breakthroughs explained

IBM has made three breakthroughs that could help chips continue following Moore’s Law, resulting in more performance or memory at lower prices. These breakthroughs may also allow us to take advantage of new spectrum for mobile broadband and make better batteries.

Notable: LSI buys SandForce for $400M

Venture capitalists have generally given semiconductor startups the cold shoulder for years now in favor of the web and software spaces. But LSI Corporation’s $400 acquisition of VC-backed chip startup Sandforce could encourage more VCs to warm up to chip technology once again.

Quantance gets $11M for boosting battery life

Surprisingly there are still semiconductor companies getting funding out there, as Quantance, a chip maker proved Monday when it scored $11 million in third-round funding from TD Fund, Granite Ventures, InterWest Partners and DOCOMO Capital. This money will help it expand beyond the mobile market.

Apple’s A4 and A5 processors under fire in new lawsuit

Apple has another patent-related lawsuit on its hands, reports Bloomberg. VIA Technologies Inc., a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer, filed suit against Apple on Wednesday with the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del. over the alleged misuse of three of its microprocessor-related patents.

HTC buys graphics IP from VIA. Here’s why

Mobile phone manufacturer HTC has purchased VIA Semiconductor’s graphics business. The deal is indicative of the need for compelling graphics on mobiles as well as an admission that mobile device makers may get an edge if they can bring some silicon capabilities in house.

Aided by Apple, Bluetooth ready for health monitoring

Apple is joining the board of the Bluetooth standards organization as the group focuses the latest iteration of Bluetooth on the market for fitness and health sensor data from mobile devices. But can Bluetooth beat out a variety of other standards hoping win in bioinformatics?

Why cloud, not PC, drives chip innovations

For decades, innovation in the chip industry has largely been governed by the needs of personal computers. But thanks to the proliferation of connected mobile devices, the growth of the consumer web and services available online and on-demand, the PC’s influence on chip design is fading.

Stealthy chip startup’s technology is a big power play

Stealthy startup SuVolta has pioneered an improvement in the chip-manufacturing process that will help cut the power usage of semiconductors by half while maintaining their performance. The process, which it plans to license, changes a few of the ingredients used to make chips.

Mobile Software: Driving Innovation in the Multi-Core Era

Mobile hardware is progressing at a blistering pace, but to deliver the type of user experiences enabled by awesome hardware software must keep pace. This goes beyond the need for innovations in OSes and applications, to the underlying software that ties everything together.

Question Everything: A New Processor For Big Data

We are moving from the Information Age to the Insight Age, and as part of that shift we need a compute architecture that will handle the storage and processing required all without requiring a power plant hooked up to every data center. What architecture will win?

With 3-D Transistors, Intel Keeps Moore’s Law Ticking

Intel has managed to keep pushing Moore’s Law by developing a 3-D transistor that allows the chipmaker to deliver ever smaller chips that will be more powerful, yet consume less energy. The new chip moves Intel ahead of the industry and positions it competitively against ARM.

LG Joins the Mobile Chip Game

LG, the South Korean makers of phones televisions, household appliances and a variety of other consumer devices has licensed the ARM-based chip cores that can be found in devices from handsets to set-top-boxes. Once again, a vendor has forgotten to invite Intel to the party.

It’s No Joke. IPOs Are Back, Baby

Fourteen venture-backed companies went public in the first quarter of 2011 raising 1.4 billion, the highest number to go public since 2007, according to the NVCA. And many companies that did make it to the public markets are trading at or above their original offering prices.

Chip Makers Sacrifice Accuracy for Energy Efficiency

In a quest to make faster chips and deliver low-power computing, scientists have creating good-enough chips that instead of performing every calculation to its exact decimal point, are allowed to make mistakes. This field of computing could improve big data analysis, networking and even hearing aids.

Apple’s iPad 2 Makes Dual-Core Mainstream

Apple’s iPad 2 contains the Apple-designed A5 application processor, which is running two cores. Onstage, Apple’s Steve Jobs indicated it was the first dual-core chip shipping at volume, but the folks at Nvidia might disagree, given its dual-core Tegra 2 is out in handsets and tablets.

Intel’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Cost of Doing Business

Intel’s patriotic investment in American manufacturing news blast worked so well last year when it made a fairly big to-do over its planned capital expenditures that it’s taken a similar tactic this year, showcasing its $6 billion to $8 billion in planned manufacturing investments.

Intel’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Cost of Doing Business

Intel’s patriotic investment in American manufacturing news blast worked so well last year when it made a fairly big to-do over its planned capital expenditures that it’s taken a similar tactic this year, showcasing its $6 billion to $8 billion in planned manufacturing investments.

Holy Smokes! At 5.2 GHz IBM Chip is Super Fast

The z190, a brand new chip from IBM, runs at a breathtaking speed of 5.2 GHz and it is meant to power a new mainframe system that is trying to tame the flow of data emerging from modern enterprises and their customers.

Intel's Results Rocked, But It Can't Count On the Old Guard

Intel this afternoon reported fourth-quarter profits that rocketed past expectations, buoyed by a rebound in the PC market. But unlike the past two decades, the chip maker can’t count on continued growth in PC buying and other familiar benefactors to keep its momentum up.

MIPS Joins the Push to Move Android Beyond Phones

The chip company MIPS this morning threw its support behind Android in a big way, unveiling a variety of products and technologies based on Google’s operating system. It’s one more sign that Android is moving beyond mobile phones into a host of devices and mediums.

Report

How EV Battery Startups Can Cross the Valley of Death

The idea of launching a startup with some venture capital and going public or getting acquired within a few short years — in other words, cashing out — has its appeal for investors and entrepreneurs. In the cleantech sector, it has become clear that most venture-backed technologies will require considerably more time and capital to mature than their Web 2.0 predecessors.

For the first generation of battery startups developing technology for the nascent electric vehicle market, and their investors, exits may be especially hard to come by. Over the next several years, the initial wave of winners emerging from today’s venture capital and stimulus-fueled hotbed of battery innovation will likely be those that manage to finance the clunky, capital-intensive and lengthy business of manufacturing. With more standardization in the sector, however, a second wave of battery developers will increasingly be able to take cues from the semiconductor, telecommunications and biotech industries on the path to outsourcing manufacturing or selling their R&D.

Samplify Emerges with Good Enough Compression

Samplify Systems, a 2-year-old chip startup coming out of stealth mode today, has the potential to create faster data compression and simplified gadgetry for everything from wireless communications to ultrasound machines–as long as users don’t mind losing a little data.