Intel, ARM, nVidia Show Off Mobile Chops
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Monday is a national holiday in the U.S., but it will be a busy day in Barcelona, Spain, which is hosting GSMA Mobile World Congress -- one of the largest mobile phone trade conferences.
More than 1,300 firms will be represented at the show, and three chipmakers -- Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), ARM and nVidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) -- will be making announcements of new chip products or extended support.
ARM, best known as the developer of an embedded processor that licensees can modify for their own product needs, will announce it is making the move to 32 nanometers (nm) with a high-k metal gate process.
Both represent advanced technology that ARM can take advantage of because it's a member of IBM's IBM Common Platform alliance, which also includes AMD. ARM Partners will have access to the technology in 2009, with full production release in early 2010.
The 32nm design will be used in the Cortex-A9 processor, which can be tied together at a microarchitecture level to yield a multi-core configuration. ARM licensees can, if they want, connect up to four Cortex-A9 cores and make their own quad-core product, depending on where it is used. That could add even greater flexibility to a processor core already known for the large amounts that licensees already often add to it. nVidia's Tegra chip, for instance, uses the ARM 11 design along with many of nVidia's own ingredients.
"This new design means we can offer processors that are faster, smaller and consume less power," said James Bruce, manager of North American mobile solutions for ARM. "These process leaps really do help us and help the phone industry deliver features that weren't possible a generation or two before."
Cortex licensees get the Physical IP prototype libraries as well as test structures for validating the technology. The core IP includes logic, memory and interface products.
nVidia gets in on Google Android, cheap MIDs
Chipmaker nVidia is talking up its work with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and the Open Handset Alliance to qualify the Android open mobile phone software stack with nVidia's Tegra series of SoC processors.
The current Android phone by HTC, the G1, uses a Qualcomm ARM-derivative processor. Tegra offers additional, built-in features like high-definition video and Internet connectivity for access to Web content and services, as well as location-based applications.
"We welcome nVidia's support of Android on Tegra and we look forward to many more Android-based devices that deliver an outstanding consumer experience," Andy Rubin, Google's senior director of mobile platforms, said in a statement.
Page 2: Cheap mobile Internet devices, plus Intel's plans.