rick.merritt

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Editor at large

I am Editor at large for EE Times even though I maintain a fairly trim physique ;-) because I run around a lot covering everything from computers and communications to medical, the Internet of Things, intellectual property and--every great once in a while--analog. Note: I am an English major.

rick.merritt

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    • Amazon rolled out Greengrass, a Linux runtime for running AWS services on GHz-class embedded processors in the Internet of Things.

    • Lenovo, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, and Epson, along with basement startups, were among hundreds of exhibitors showing products for augmented reality.

    • Amazon released its Lex service to enable apps with speech recognition as several OEMs are ramping up systems using embedded voice services.

    • Moore's law may last longer than originally thought, although semiconductor revenues remain stuck in mid-single-digit growth, said speakers at ISS.

    • A new Khronos working group will define APIs for virtual reality products to ease writing and optimizing applications and device drivers.

    • Qualcomm said AT&T, Verizon and five module makers will use its chip for Cat-M1 and NB1 trials this year and commercial services in 2017.

    • The Open Connectivity Foundation and AllSeen Alliance will blend their open-source environments into a consumer alternative to Apple's Homekit and Google's Weave.

    • The Flash Memory Summit showed shifts NAND flash and other persistent memories including 3D XPoint are making.

    • Imec announced a low-cost chip supporting five low-power wide area networks for the Internet of Things and started work with Infineon on a car radar device.

    • Two experts share real-world experiences designing and securing wireless sensor networks for the Internet of Things.

    • Government, industry and tech experts were among those commenting on the Apple-FBI case and the future of cryptography at the RSA Conference.

    • The rise of the Internet of Things with more devices and data means many more security breaches are ahead but so are more secure SoCs, said an expert at DesignCon.

    • It's been a long, busy year and my crystal ball is flashing me warnings that its battery is almost spent, so take these few blurry visions for what they're worth.

    • Low power wide area networks for the Internet of Things have been attracting new entrants and investors at a heady pace with unannounced offerings still in the pipeline for 2016 trying to enable new IoT apps by undercutting costs and battery life for cellular and WiFi.

    • RTOS and MCU makers debated the expanding reach and partnerships for Mbed, ARM's free operating system for the Internet of Things.

    • Intel filled out its platform for the Internet of Things with a new SoC, two microcontrollers and software for end node operating systems as well as cloud computing and analytics.

    • Self driving cars are steering toward a 2022 market, fueling an emerging class of visual processors, said an analyst on the eve of an annual conference.

    • The Flash Memory Summit provided a look back at the start of the solid-state drive as well as the future for SSDs, flash and memory chips beyond.

    • The Internet of Things lacks a wide area network with broad coverage and low cost, according to a panel of experts who spoke at the recent ESV SV event.

    • With his company dominating the market for processor cores in mobile systems, ARM chief executive Simon Segars has his eyes set on the Internet of Things.

    • Plans for thousands of high end WiFi kiosks and low data rate Sigfox base stations were highlights of the Internet of Things World event here.

    • A new class of Ethernet chips and software will emerge next year, opening the networking technology up to use in time-sensitive applications in cars, factory robots and more.

    • ARM disclosed new details of its A72, including three functional units it shares with a yet-to-be announced high-end core, and defended its big.little approach to multiprocessing.

    • Security was in focus at RSA Conference with top cryptographers, the Secretary of Homeland Security and others sharing views on everything from IoT to policy.

    • Top technologists from Intel, IBM and TSMC who helped drive Moore's Law forward share their stories and opinions on its 50th anniversary.

    • The regional First Robotics competition in Silicon Valley drew hundreds of young people pumped up for the program that drives a love for engineering.

    • Micron and Intel have co-developed a 3-D flash NAND chip sampling now that is denser than the parts Samsung has been shipping since July.

    • The AMD-led Heterogeneous Systems Architecture Foundation has finished its 1.0 spec, turning attention to what SoCs will support it.

    • Epson, Google, Sony and others are seeking traction for their smart glasses among business users, according to exhibitors at an event on wearable devices.

    • With new proprietary graphics interfaces out from AMD, Apple and Microsoft, Khronos Group is previewing Vulkan as an open follow on to OpenGL.

    • Many at CES will show an iPad-alike, no one will have much to add to 3-D Web TVs, everyone will want to partner in home nets and the AMD/Intel war will take a new turn.

    • Holiday spending was down in consumer electronics, a maturing sector increasingly focused on profits, not growth, said one leading analyst

    • Despite a slow take-off, 1.7 billion USB 3.0 devices will ship in 2014, up from a slower than expected 14 million this year, according to an In-Stat report.

    • A slim majority of venture capitalists expect rising investments mainly in the U.S. with most enthusiasm for consumer, media and mobile sectors, according to a new survey.

    • The Ethernet chip market will expand to $3.4 billion in 2014 with most of the growth and shifts coming in 10G silicon, according to two new Linley Group reports.

    • DPJizer, a tool to ease the job of developing multicore software in Deterministic Parallel Java, was released by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    • Imagination Technologies has acquired for $27 million Caustic Graphics Inc., a developer of real-time ray tracing graphics, in part to compete with cores from rival ARM Ltd.

    • Broadcom Corp. is sampling a 40nm set-top box SoC it claims has twice the performance of its current products, thanks in part to a multithreaded MIPS core.

    • It took OnLive founder Steve Perlman eight years to get a patent he claims is fundamental to a new style of online gaming, a sign of hard times for innovators.

    • Companies including Atheros, Broadcom and Cisco have agreed to draft a standard that could help unify fragmented wireless and wired home networks.

    • Carriers bought a record number of edge router in the third quarter, sparking a historic high in growth and shifts in market share standings, according to a new report from the Dell’Oro Group.

    • Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics will collaborate with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to explore new ways to design and make nanowire sensors for test systems to detect cancer.

    • Broadcom is sampling a set of chips to enable a new IEEE standard for precise timing over Ethernet targeting a range of systems for service provider, data center and smart grid networks.

    • Hewlett-Packard is shipping a family of network switches it claims are the first to use the newly minted Energy Efficient Ethernet standard thanks to new physical layer Gigabit Ethernet chips from Broadcom.

    • The medical sector is no cure-all for an electronics industry seeking an infusion of growth, but it does promise plenty of headroom—along with its share of headaches.

    • A effort to set standards for home area networks has hammered out a co-existence mechanism for powerline networks, but declined to find a way to narrow down or make interoperable competing approaches.

    • Oracle retook the lead in database performance executing 30 million transactions/minute and announced an upgraded Sparc processor and progress on a next-generation chip.

    • In a sign of the rising importance of software in mobile and embedded systems, Mentor Graphics acquired assets of CodeSourcery the same day Research in Motion announced it has bought The Astonishing Tribe.

    • Rambus Inc. has filed multiple suits asking courts to bar imports of a wide range of chips—and systems using them--from Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek, Nvidia and STMicroelectronics it claims infringe its patents.

    • Researchers will describe at ISSCC a processor built on thin plastic foil as well as a 5.2 GHz IBM CPU an Intel Itanium chip packing 54 Mbytes cache.

    • Intel Corp. has rolled out the first six members of a new line of system-in-package products announced in September that include Atom and Altera FPGA die.

    • Medical electronics will be a focus at this year's International Solid State Circuits Conference which has chosen a theme of Electronics for Healthy Living.

    • A medium-sized computer maker has announced an ARM-based server using a dual-core Cortex A9 processor from STMicroelectronics.

    • Server motherboards will sport 10G Ethernet next year, marking the link's long-awaited volume ramp, said engineer and serial entrepreneur Andy Bechtolsheim.

    • The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission came under fire in an interview for not accomplishing enough in areas such as Net neutrality.

    • The new head of the European Patent Office wants to harmonize today's separate intellectual property systems—and he's starting at home.

    • The next version of the Android operating system will support near field communications, said Google's chief executive showing an unannounced handset.

    • ARM-based server chip designer Smooth-stone has changed its name to Calxeda, hired three new executives and moved into a bigger Austin office.

    • China kept its number one spot in the latest rankings of the world's supercomputers and is now second only to the U.S. in sheer numbers of Top 500 systems.

    • A startup hopes to get approval soon to sell the first of a family of neural implants it envisions, one part of an emerging neural device sector poised for growth.

    • The PC processor market was flat in the third quarter, but a pick up is starting that will lead to double-digit growth in 2011, according to a report from International Data Corp.

    • AMD wants to be in tablets, but it will require Wichita, a planned 2012 update of its Ontario processor, to get solid design wins in the rapidly emerging market.

    • AMD started shipping processors that merge graphics and x86 cores on a single die and predicted the end of the core wars after 2013.

    • Genband CTO, Fred Kemmerer, speaks out on the uptake of x86 processors and the logjam in regulations for today's data-centric services.

    • Cybersecurity will be the killer app for smart electric grids, and it will require a new generation of power electronics technology, according to Vinod Khosla.

    • A new crop of hybrid startups are on the rise, applying innovations in social, mobile, cloud and open source technology to business computing.

    • Engineers will get an eyeful of Internet-ready TV at the ARM Technology Conference when Yahoo shares the story behind its pioneering service.

    • Broadcom Corp. is sampling an Ethernet switch chip it claims can deliver throughput of 100 Gbits/second and up to 100 Terabits/s in some configurations.

    • China telecom giant Huawei is seeking a processor guru to whittle the wide variety of processors it buys down to two or three architectures from close partners.

    • Global sales of Wi-Fi gear exceeded 18 million units in the second quarter 2010, up six percent over the first quarter, but average selling prices slid one percent.

    • Vendors are expected to ship as many as 1.34 billion cellphone handsets this year with sales projected to hit 1.7 billion units a year in 2015, according to ABI Research.

    • A homegrown, ultrafast interconnect chip set was part of the secret sauce behind the Tianhe-1a, the first China-built system to be named the world's fastest supercomputer.

    • Samsung's Galaxy Tab reuses much of the hardware found in the company's smartphones, following a path Apple and other cellphone makers have pioneered.

    • Cadence Design Systems, Inc. rolled out a strategy to provide an end-to-end flow silicon and software design tools as part of a new EDA360 campaign.

    • The U.S. market for home health monitoring will more than double to $5 billion by 2014, and fitness devices are also poised for growth, according to recent studies.

    • Sigma Designs hopes to leapfrog separate coax, telephone or power line home networking chips with a new chip set that supports a mix of new and existing standards over all three wires.

    • The Federal Communications Commission released more details today about its plans for spectrum reallocation to an industry hungry for spectrum, but unsure where to find it.

    • U.S. politicians need to stop bashing China and enact more free trade legislation, said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association in an annual address laying out its policy agenda.

    • Texas Instruments is packing dual 1.5 GHz Cortex A8 cores, a DSP and high-end peripherals into new chip families aimed at a broad range of wired systems.

    • Atheros Communications is rolling out three consumer reference designs that use a combination of Wi-Fi, powerline and Ethernet links as the first step in its hybrid home networking strategy.

    • Standards for making consumer gear more accessible, measuring wireless power and sending stereo 3-D information over Bluetooth will be among the many issues discussed at an annual CEA event.

    • Broadcom Corp. has bid $316 million to acquire Beceem Communications Inc., a WiMax chip startup developing multimode chips supporting WiMax and LTE to speed its move into 4G.

    • Beceem has a solid team and solid financials, but not the products to get quickly into broad LTE markets quickly—but that may fit Broadcom's view and strategy just fine.

    • Intel chief executive Paul Otellini threw down the gauntlet in tablets, the one soft spot in an otherwise solid quarter for the microprocessor giant despite a somewhat sluggish market.

    • QLogic Corp. rolled out three 10 Gbit/second Ethernet products, two adapter cards and a chip supporting Fibre Channel over Ethernet, IP and iSCSI protocols.

    • LG Electronics rolled out a $49 Android handset, one of the most notable of a flood of devices using the Google software at the CTIA show.

    • The first GoogleTV device—the $300 Logitech Revue—is getting a thumbs up for its Web/TV integration and video conferencing but faces steep competition.

    • LSI Corp. has joined the 28nm club, disclosing details of two custom designs in the works using libraries and cores characterize for TSMC's high performance process.

    • Google proposed relaxing optical modules requirements in hopes of spawning a market for lower cost devices, but Brocade, Cisco and others expressed skepticism.

    • Consumers are interested in more energy-efficient homes, but utilities are moving slowly into home energy networks, opening a door for independent services, according to Parks Associates

    • Nokia's new chief executive needs to focus the company on fewer handsets supporting more operating systems and move its headquarters to the U.S., said a veteran mobile systems analyst.

    • A research center in the Netherlands has posted 20 job openings for technical people, particularly for those with experience in advanced lighting technology and body area networks for health and wellness monitoring.

    • The military, industrial and telecom markets for VME single-board computers are all underperforming, according to a report from the Vita trade association.

    • The Continua Health Alliance has expanded its suite of design guidelines with new personal and wide-area wireless interfaces for home health systems and added Microsoft Corp. as a member.

    • Research in Motion is using high-end media aimed at business users to differentiate its tablet computer in what is quickly becoming a crowded field.

    • A medical electronics trade group said a proposal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a Class IIb category of regulated medical devices is too broad and could create unneeded regulatory hurdles.

    • The TechAmerica industry group has come out in opposition to a draft bill in the U.S. Senate that claims it will end the practice of offshoring jobs.

    • PLX Technology, Inc., a designer of PCI bridge and switch chips, has signed a merger agreement to acquire Teranetics, Inc., a developer of physical layer chips for 10 Gbit/second Ethernet over copper.

    • ARM will triumph over Intel as smartphones and tablets disrupt the x86 PC industry, said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, speaking at the company's annual conference.

    • Qualcomm has teamed up with Synopsys to define a new data exchange format it believes could be critical for supporting 3-D chip stacks that use through silicon vias.

    • Intel's first implementation of Light Peak will not be broadly adopted by PC makers, but it opens a door to future optical interconnects, according to one PC engineer and an analyst report published today.

    • The average American family won't replace its car with an electric vehicle, but some kinds of hybrid EVs will see significant adoption, said one of the co-founders of Tesla Motors.

    • A unit of electronics giant GE has released hardware and software products supporting Nvidia graphics chips for general-purpose computing in military and aerospace markets.

    • MathWorks announced the first support for graphics processors in its parallel computing products, choosing Nvidia's processors and their CUDA version 1.3 software.

    • Medical electronics companies face increasing hurdles getting funding and regulatory approval to bring new technologies to market, according to executives at a medical device event here.

    • The GSA is expanding in Japan as it launches new initiatives in MEMS and 3-D silicon, a chip technology that faces many challenges but could be a game changer.

    • The Light Peak optical interconnect will be ready for systems in 2012, about the same time USB 3.0 ramps into high volume, according to engineers at IDF.

    • A group of 25 U.S. senators has called for a vote on the latest version of a patent reform bill, but a group of some of the largest high-tech companies in Silicon Valley were quick to oppose the move.

    • Intel Corp. provided more details about its latest set-top box and embedded processors and the system-on-chip program behind them in a technical session at the Intel Developer Forum.

    • The base specification for PCI Express 3.0 should be complete by November, opening the door to a flow of products for the fast interconnect in 2011.

    • Startup Ether2 is developing layer-two protocol software and a media access controller it claims can radically reduce the power consumption and boost the efficiency of Ethernet networks.

    • Intel has officially entered the race to heterogeneous computer processors, sketching out the first members of its 32nm Sandy Bridge family that will ship before April.

    • Intel showed PCs and servers running its next architecture, the 32nm Sandy Bridge which uses a ring bus to link x86 and graphics cores with cache and I/O.

    • Cable-TV operators are stepping slowly into stereo 3-D television, but it could take years before they can handle full high definition content.

    • Intel will describe its Sandy Bridge architecture, roll out at least one new Atom-based SoC and provide more details on its McAfee acquisition at its annual confab this week.

    • Nokia Corp.'s new president must make the cellphone giant more nimble, and refocus its efforts on high-end smartphones, applications processors, its app store and its U.S. business, said an analyst.

    • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is on track to chip away a small chunk of its historic backlog this year, but the agency still faces huge challenges, according to its new director.

    • SMSC rolled out a USB 3.0 display controller and plans an integrated docking station chip, driving adoption of the interface which has suffered so far from lack of support.

    • When Steve Jobs held up his $99 AppleTV box most people applauded it as a dirt cheap deal, but Ira Bahr got excited because he thought it was relatively expensive.

    • Intel has released Parallel Studio 2011, a new version of its parallel development tool suite for desktop PCs incorporating new capabilities Intel acquired with startups Cilk Arts and RapidMind.

    • Apple has designed out Intel and spread its A4 processor across all it non-computer products, lowering design and manufacturing costs.

    • An increasing number of low-cost Web video systems such as the new AppleTV box is driving toward an era when TV will become a Web-connected multifunction device with television just one of its applications.

    • Samsung vowed to spend about $70 million to establish its connected TV platform and showed a new app to control the TV using its Galaxy S Android smartphone.

    • Startup Xsigo Systems, Inc. rolled out a 10 Gbit/second switch that can handle Ethernet networking and Fibre Channel storage traffic for a fraction of the cost of Fibre Channel over Ethernet adapters sold by companies such as Cisco Systems.

    • Connected TVs and other networked digital home devices will grow to sales of more than 650 million units worldwide in 2014, signaling a gradual decline for DVDs and new opportunities still being defined.

    • A chief architect of China's microprocessor initiative described an ambitious set of new Godson CPUs including a server chip with vector processing and plans to leapfrog to a 28nm process for the next generation.

    • IBM engineers sketched out plans at Hot Chips for a petaflops-class supercomputer built from as many as 64,000 Power7 processors and delivering a terabit/second of optical links to the system's main processor boards.

    • Huawei Technologies has described a smart memory chip that is part of an emerging class of devices networking giants are designing to create smaller, faster line cards.

    • Automated design tools were the big hero behind the design of the 45nm integrated processor inside the latest Xbox 360 250G videogame console, based on a talk from Microsoft and IBM at Hot Chips.

    • Intel and Nokia are jointly investing in a small academic research lab to study future 3-D user interfaces and user experiences for mobile devices.

    • A prototype Android processor shows how an array of fine-grained, application-specific cores can relieve what one researcher called the growing problem of dark silicon lost to current leakage.

    • ARM Ltd. is developing extensions to the ARMv7 architecture for virtualization and 40-bit addressing, tipping two of the new advances it will put into its next0generation Eagle core expected later this year.

    • Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and other major U.S. high tech companies should be barred from doing business in China based on the logic of eight U.S. Senators calling for an investigation of Huawei Technologies.

    • Toshiba Corp. has successfully flown a recording head over a track on a disk that packs 2.5 terabits of data per square inch, stirring a debate about the future of hard disk drives.

    • A startup that is developing a microprocessor geared for calculating statistical probabilities has come out of stealth mode to introduce a product using its technology.

    • An informal poll of cable-TV executives voted a pico cell product by BelAir Networks the most promising new product shown at the group's twice yearly technical conference where home networking was a dominant theme.

    • Oracle suit against Google over Java patents won't chill the enthusiasm for Android which is seeing use in everything from iPhone-like smartphones to insulin pumps.

    • Oracle suit against Google over Java patents won't chill the enthusiasm for Android which is seeing use in everything from iPhone-like smartphones to insulin pumps.

    • Seagate and Samsung have struck a deal to co-develop and cross-license controller technologies for server-class solid state drives, using Samsung's 30nm multi-level cell flash technology.

    • Oracle will continue developing Sparc microprocessors but focus on chips based on a single core design at a time, probably packing 32 of them in a single chip by 2015.

    • Jon Rubenstein (shown) may be on short lists for a top slot at both Apple and Hewlett-Packard following the exits of Mark Papermaster at Apple and Mark Hurd at HP.

    • Low-end and emerging markets are the next fertile fields for growth in smartphones, and Symbian and Android are the best positioned platforms to harvest them, according to ABI Research.

    • A former top U.S. federal judge said he may create a small but high-level lobbying group that could press for more funding for the U.S. patent office and try to counter patent reform efforts he said were driven by a small group of mainly Silicon Valley companies.

    • Intel is the most likely buyer for Infineon's wireless business now up for sale, though Broadcom is a better fit and Samsung is clearly interested, according to market watcher Will Strauss.

    • NetLogic Microsystems has formally announced the XLP8128S, a four-chip module that links four of the company's quad-threaded, eight-core XLP832 network processors on its proprietary Inter-chip Coherency Interface for high-end networking systems.

    • The recent U.S. health care reform bill will extend health insurance to more people and put more doctors online, but device makers are concerned the growing market won't offset a new tax and increasing risk factors are driving away venture investments.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy will give California researchers a five-year, $122 million grant to work on artificial photosynthesis, said Kristina Johnson, Under Secretary for DoE, who shared her call to action in a video interview.

    • Flash drive maker Fusion-io has rolled out virtualization software to enable servers to use it adapter cards as either storage or virtual main memory as one step in its effort to drive flash to the PCI Express bus.

    • Apple's quarterly results announced today included a clarion call to hoards of iPad product imitators in and beyond Taipei.

    • Nokia Siemens Networks' bid to acquire the majority of Motorola's wireless network infrastructure business for US $1.2 billion is the penultimate step in the dismemberment of one of the old icons of the U.S. high tech business and creates a new top tier competitor in carrier systems.

    • Startup Nimbus Data Systems has announced its S-class appliances, flash-based storage systems for high performance computing and database applications that it claims can deliver faster throughput and lower power consumption than the hard disk arrays.

    • The computer industry will create new categories of mobile and desktop products, according to Phil McKinney, head of HP's personal computing group.

    • PG&E is seeking regulator's approval on standard power purchasing agreements for solar plants that generate less than 20 megawatts, one tiny step in trying to ease the convoluted path to market for photovoltaic solar panels.

    • As vendors race for revenues on wireless networks, expect to see smartphones that try to replace PCs, handsets hosting separate consumer and business clients and much more mobile video.

    • GE unveiled an electric vehicle charging station, a home energy monitoring station and joined a group of venture capitalists to launch a $200 million fund and a challenge competition for smart grid startups.

    • The success of tablet computers will drag down sales of notebook and netbook computers, shifting some business away from x86 chips and Windows toward ARM-based processors and Google Android, according to Barclays Capital.

    • Virginia Tech has launched a beta version of the Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse, an online guide to the smart grid that provides information on technologies, standards, legislation and active projects in the U.S.

    • International Data Corp. projects semiconductor revenues to $344 billion in 2014, an 8.8 percent five-year compound growth rate, but it sounded a warning about the possibility of slowing growth in the second half of 2010.

    • Perceived problems with cellular reception on the Apple iPhone 4 are not due to a poor antenna design, but a faulty formula for reporting reception levels to users, according to a statement issues by Apple Inc.

    • What would you do if the government of one of your biggest emerging markets was using your products to restrict free speech of its people, and maybe even violate their privacy?

    • Windows 8 could be one more uninspiring, stepwise improvement from a software giant increasingly following trends set by other vendors if a set of Powerpoint slides available online reflect Microsoft's thinking.

    • Hewlett-Packard is adopting new Fibre Channel over Ethernet chips from Emulex and QLogic in its latest round of data center systems, giving a much boost to the upcoming suppliers who face competition from entrenched chip designers including Broadcom, Intel and Marvell.

    • In a slim 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court decided not to endorse or define a test of what can be patented, instead, it issued a narrow decision in the case of Bernard Bilski vs. the U.S. Patent Office.

    • Celebrating as if greeting a firstborn, a group of PhDs flung open the door of a factory building in Shenzhen and let loose a giant hooah.

    • You could call the new Apple iPhone 4 an iPad Nano because it uses at least six chips from the popular Apple tablet, according to analysts from UBM TechInsights that have done a teardown of the new smartphone, revealing it uses a MEMS gyro from STMicroelectronics.

    • The PCI SIG has released an interim 0.71 version of the PCI Express 3.0 specification that supports up to 8 GigaTransfers/second and aims to start testing products for compliance in early 2011, about a year later than originally anticipated.

    • AMD is expected to steal the limelight at the annual Hot Chips conference when it describes two new x86 cores that mark the first major architectural advance for the company in several years.

    • A team competing for $2.5 million in the Automotive X Prize is in the final stages of developing a battery management system for their entry that they hope someday will power a range of commercial electric vehicles.

    • Multicore processor designer Tilera Corp. announced it plans to ship a 200-core device in 2013 and demonstrated a 512-core server made by partner Quanta Computer Inc. using Tilera's current 64-core chip.

    • Freescale Semiconductor has designed its first 64-bit Power core and two integrated communications processors using it, likely outrunning Mips-based competitors such as Cavium and NetLogic, but still slightly behind in raw performance Intel's Xeon which is gaining market momentum.

    • The Multicore Association has formed a new work group to tackle the problem of incompatible software development tools for multicore processors and expects to have a draft standard for one or more common data format and a Linux-based reference implementation of its work within a year.

    • The Multimedia over Coax Alliance ratified its version 2.0 specification for home networking over coax cables that when fully revved up will exceed a Gbit/second, using a combination of new channel-bonding and point-to-point features.

    • Philips Research is exploring the horizon for wearable sensors that measure an increasing number of vital signs to deliver devices that make meaningful predictions about health care while keeping a lid on the devices' power consumption.

    • Startup SeaMicro announced a server that packs 512 Intel Atom processors in a 10U chassis to deliver the same performance at a fraction of their power and space as systems using conventional server CPUs, aiming to address the needs of the large data centers limited by the cost and complexity of the power and space they consume.

    • Celebrating as if greeting a firstborn, a group of PhDs flung open the door of a factory building in Shenzhen and let loose a giant hooah.

    • We captured a handful of images of the people and prototypes at IMEC during an annual two-day technology conference that spanned topics from extreme ultraviolet lithography to body area networks.

    • Korea's Samsung provided the ARM core at the heart of the Apple A4 processor that powers the iPad, reinforcing the growing competition between both Samsung and Intel and the ARM and x86 architectures.

    • Europe's Imec research group plans to produce before the end of the year a short range RF transceiver ten times more power efficient than today's Bluetooth and Zigbee chips and demonstrated discrete blocks capable of sending 1,024 Kbytes/second over five meters while consuming less than one milliwatt.

    • Researchers in Europe announced a design for a highly sensitive yet low power vapor sensor that can be tailored to detect a variety of gases for use on wireless networks in applications ranging from health care to the food industry.

    • Arch Rock is releasing software based on Internet Protocol standards for a new generation of radio chips from companies such as Analog Devices and Texas Instruments aimed at supporting wireless mesh neighborhood networks to link smart meters to utility networks.

    • Hewlett-Packard has climbed to the top of the market for blade systems, one of the few bright spots in what has become a slow growth server market, but the question now is whether it can hang on in the face of new dynamics and competitors.

    • The United States Patent and Trademark Office proposed a new three-track system for patent applications, the boldest suggestion yet from the new agency director, David Kappos, for dealing with an increasing backlog of applications.

    • Do we need another mobile Linux consortium? That's the question posed by the launch of Linaro, created by ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments to develop Linux software for ARM-based SoCs. We'd like to hear what you think.

    • Hewlett-Packard researchers are exploring ways to make their memristor the centerpiece of a future server design and have determined low power processors such as those based on ARM cores are superior for some data center workloads.

    • Intel Corp. announced at Computex Oak Trail, its next-generation Atom processor for tablets and netbooks that will sample in early 2011, and Acer said it will make systems using it running Intel's MeeGo version of mobile Linux.

    • The trade group behind the Infiniband interconnect is adding new 50 and 100 Gbit/second milestones to its road map, claiming its members will deliver products for them by early 2012 as the technology revs up to compete with the next wave of Ethernet.

    • Using Intel and Nvidia processors, a Chinese computer maker has installed in Shenzhen what experts say theoretically is the fastest supercomputer in the world, an indication both of the rise of China and of graphics processors as a growing ingredient in high-performance but relatively low power systems.

    • Engineers aim to deliver within a year a broad suite of standards needed to build smart electric grids and reported on stepwise progress at the end of Connectivity Week here.

    • Developers have agreed on a process to define by the end of the year a "seed" standard describing how to present data to devices that monitor smart electric grids, breaking a logjam that has drawn attention from Obama Administration officials and others trying to drive the move to a digital networked grid.

    • Unexplained in the restructuring of Microsoft's consumer division is where it will get the new blood to replace J Allard at a time when the consumer device sector is exploding with creative ideas and the Windows giant has been playing catch up.

    • On the same day Dell Inc. announced an ARM/Linux tablet, a panel of mobile experts—including a designer of the Dell device—suggested alternative platforms for tablets and netbooks are on a road of slow but steady growth.

    • Competing powerline proponents used the platform of the Connectivity Week event to fire off competing announcements to position themselves for success in the emerging smart grid market that has huge potential, but sees no end in sight to years of fragmentation over technical approaches.

    • In separate keynote addresses in Silicon Valley, Vint Cerf, co-developer of the Net's TCP/IP protocol, shared his thoughts with developers of the smart electric grid and Larry Roberts, who helped launch the forerunner of the Internet, explained his ideas for remedying the congestion that plagues the Web today.

    • Cisco Systems has rolled out its first router and switch designed for the needs of electric utility substations, the first of a broad set of offerings expected from a business group set up late last year to extend Internet Protocol networks to the emerging smart grid.

    • Intel Corp. announced Core 2010 notebook processors geared to create a new class of ultra-thin, ultralow power portables expected to power as many as 40 systems designs less than an inch thick and weighing just two to five pounds.

    • Freescale Semiconductors has rounded out its line of integrated microcontrollers targeted at use in smart utility meters with two new families targeting low and mid-range meters but communications modules remain separate given the fragmented state of that market.

    • A day after the announcement, we spoke with Vincent Dureau, the engineer behind GoogleTV about the genesis and outlook of the project, its technical specs and why he doesn't see it as a problem that GoogleTV does not have any cable-TV partners yet.

    • Two big pieces were missing when Google rolled out its picture of the future of integrated Web and TV services at Google I/O—cable TV providers who deliver most of the broadcast content and MIPS Technologies that powers many of the sets.

    • Google officially rolled out its GoogleTV initiative at its annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco, promising its designs for set-top boxes and related software and services will reshape television by integrating the Web and TV.

    • A handful of mobile chip makers--including ARM, MIPS, Nvidia and Texas Instruments--said they will support Google's move to establish V8, a video codec it acquired with On2 Technologies in August.

    • Engineers appear to have struck a quick compromise in meetings in Beijing this week to hammer out the future of Wi-Fi in the IEEE 802.11ad group that includes members from two opposing camps in 60 GHz wireless technology.

    • Dell Inc. will test this summer multicore ARM processors from Marvell for possible use in low-power servers for large data centers, a trend for which an IBM executive also expressed support in more general terms.

    • Nvidia Corp. eked out minor gains in revenues and profits in its latest quarter, but the graphics chip designer said it expects revenues to be down three to five percent in the next three months based on seasonal trends.

    • The next-generation Apple iPhone could have a bill of materials cost between $169 to $175, a significant increase from $156 for the current iPhone 3GS, according to analysts from UBM TechInsights.

    • Reactions to plans to create a mesh standard for home networks have been mixed as backers praise the effort as the future of whole home coverage, competitors from the Zigbee Alliance critique it as a late comer, those with who have worked on other wireless mesh standards indicate it won't be easy -- and some still haven't heard about it.

    • Cavium Networks formally rolls out two new members of its Octeon II family upgrading and doubling to 32 the number of cores available on the communications processors, highlighting the trend to use of multicore architectures to handle increasing processing needs in broadband networks.

    • Marvell Technology Group Ltd. aims to supply silicon for ARM-based servers with 40-nm multicore processors it will ship this year and is working with multiple partners including one that hopes to port a server version of Microsoft Windows to ARM.

    • The Wireless Gigabit Alliance has struck a deal with the Wi-Fi Alliance to have its specification for 60 GHz networking considered as the next generation of Wi-Fi and persuaded a chief competitor, SiBeam Inc., to be the first to deliver silicon for its spec.

    • Cable TV companies are gearing up to offer networked digital video recording services this year, driving what some say could be a five-fold increase in the market for chips based on the standard set by the Multimedia over Coax Alliance, sparking support from chip makers Broadcom, Entropic, STMicroelectronics, and possibly NXP.

    • Medtronic has started clinical trials in the U.S. for a novel implant that uses a custom-designed three-axis accelerometer to fine tune how it delivers electrical stimulation to reduce chronic pain.

    • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is clawing its way back slowly from cutbacks driven by the recession, but it still needs to increase patent application fees to reduce its historic backlog, according to Congressional testimony by the office's newly appointed director, David Kappos.

    • A draft patent reform bill in the U.S, House of Representatives contained post-grant review provisions that would let infringers "subject valid patents to lengthy and repeat challenges," according to a statement from the Innovation Alliance which represents a diverse set of electronics and biotech companies.

    • Intel Corp. rolled out its latest Atom chip set, the 45nm Moorestown platform geared for use in the burgeoning market for smartphones and tablets, but observers said the PC giant's next-generation 32nm chip set will compete more effectively for handset design wins.

    • A group of 100 startup companies sent a letter petitioning the U.S. Congress to support the current one-year grace period for filing a patent application, a provision that a moves toward patent reform in the Senate may eliminate.

    • ARM Ltd. has been running a part of its Web site on ARM-based servers for about nine months as a real-world trial of its technology and at least one partner is exploring server applications using two- to four-core versions of the ARM Cortex A9.

    • Atheros Communications is trying to rally interest in a standard for using mesh technology in home networks, an effort that would help the company merge and add value to its Wi-Fi and powerline chip products.

    • An array of hurdles ranging from making communications gear secure to understanding consumer behaviors stand in the way of flipping on smart electric grids, according to a panel of experts at the Embedded Systems Conference.

    • A growing set of nano-scale devices are emerging from the lab that someday will power handheld devices that can provide custom health care advice by marrying novel bioengineering components with existing computer and consumer technologies, said Luke P. Lee, professor of bioengineering at a talk at the Embedded Systems Conference.

    • Multicore processors should be ideal for wireless base stations, but so far both the chips and their tools fall short of meeting engineers needs, according to a senior developer at HuaWei speaking at the Multicore Expo.

    • Virtualization and security technology could be the focus of the next round of consolidation for an embedded software sector that is increasingly adopting Linux, according to Inder Singh, chairman of LynuxWorks, Inc.

    • Wind River Systems is rolling out at the Embedded Systems Conference its Network Acceleration Platform for telecom system designers, the first of a family of integrated software development packages that bundles multiple operating systems and tools and the first of a set of algorithms Wind River is developing for higher-level features.

    • Netronome will debut at the Multicore Expo two PCI Express Gen2 adapter cards and a chassis-based system using its 40-core network processor announced late last year at a time when rival Cavium Networks is expected to announce a 32-core device.

    • Freescale Semiconductor will announce partnerships with embedded software companies Enea Systems, Green Hills Software and Mentor Graphics just one day before Wind River Systems, software supplier to the lion's share of Freescale's customers, is expected to release the first of a family of embedded software packages initially only for the Intel x86.

    • MIPS Technologies and Imagination Technologies will announce at the Embedded Systems Conference a non-exclusive marketing alliance geared to support chip designers using cores from both companies in a shot across the bow to their mutual competitor, ARM Ltd., which is developing its own graphics cores.

    • In 10 years as many as a third of all new cars sold could be battery-operated electric vehicles, according to startup Better Place that will sketch out its vision in a keynote address at the Embedded Systems Conference.

    • Advanced Micro Devices will roll out at the Embedded Systems Conference embedded versions of PC chip sets, graphics and as many as seven x86 processors, including AMD's first embedded chips to support DDR3 memory and the HyperTransport 3 interconnect.

    • Apple Inc. reported results of its last three months, its best non-holiday quarter to date with revenue of $13.50 billion and net profit of $3.07 billion compared to revenue of $9.08 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.62 billion in the same period last year.

    • The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is expected to create a study group to help pick a transport for a future gigabit-class version of the short-range wireless technology, and the leading candidates are the two rival flavors of 60 GHz technology promoted by the WirelessHD Consortium and the Wireless Gigabit Alliance.

    • The race toward converged networks took a step forward as a trade group announced a capability for layering Infiniband's low latency features on top of Ethernet for high performance computing applications running on large clusters.

    • Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc., Sony and Toshiba Corp. have formed the MHL Consortium. The group has created a draft specification for the Mobile High-Definition Link originally announced by Silicon Image in 2008 for sharing high-definition video between mobile devices and televisions.

    • The multi-billion dollar battery industry is poised for huge growth, but lithium ion, today's fast rising technology, faces significant limits and a race is on to find better chemistries, according to a panel of experts.

    • Electric vehicle maker Zap has licensed technology from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to build user-programmable EV chargers Zap plans to use in future vehicles and chargers for the U.S. and Asian markets.

    • The WiMax Forum has launched a so-called Open Retail Initiative under which it will open in May a set of labs to help test, certify and activate WiMax devices sold via retail or direct to customers in an effort to simplify the job of getting many devices and subscribers on WiMax networks and generate the kind of open mobile networking environment WiMax backers envision.

    • A handful of entrepreneurs hope to turn Silicon Valley into Detroit 2.0 by supplying key subsystems for next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles but they disagree about how the new market they see for electric and hybrid vehicles will emerge.

    • Microsoft debuted Kin, its long-rumored smartphone, a handset focused on social networking using Microsoft's Zune media player interface and cloud computing services as speculation mounted Google is preparing an Android-based tablet to compete with the Apple iPad.

    • Apple Inc. released a beta version of its OS 4 mobile operating system that will support multi-tasking as well as application programming interfaces to support an online game site it will open later this year.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a total of nearly $100 million in grants to train an estimated 30,000 workers in smart grid technologies with awards going to a diverse group of 54 colleges, universities and companies for programs to train electricians, line workers, technicians, system operators, power system engineers, cyber security specialists and transmission planners.

    • Handset makers are confirming reports that MEMS-based gyroscopes are being built into next-generation smartphones to provide new twists on user interfaces, mobile gaming and location-based services.

    • The Obama Administration needs to create new regulations, incentives and education programs to spark consumer use of smart grid technologies, according to a letter to the U.S. President from nearly 50 companies and organizations.

    • Big telecommunications providers are hungry for higher density systems, but they are concerned about the high costs of the first 100 Gigabit Ethernet systems coming this year and the need to transition to IPv6, according to an NTT chief technologist who shared details of a recent evaluation of core routers.

    • The pool of available Internet Protocol addresses could run out before the end of 2011 under today's IPv4 software, prompting a widening circle of companies and organizations to press for support for Internet Protocol version 6 in anything connected to the Net.

    • Samsung and Broadcom are among the major silicon suppliers for the Apple iPad which sports an unusually high processor-to-memory channel, an abundance of touch-screen silicon, a novel case design, according to a teardown performed by UBM TechInsights, a sister division of EE Times.

    • At least two more WiMax handsets are expected to emerge this year, according to the company that designed silicon inside the EVO 4G handset recently announced by Sprint, and they will be joined by prototype phones for the Long Term Evolution network that will be demonstrated as early as May by China Mobile.

    • A jury in a Salt Lake City Federal court ruled that Novell, not the SCO Group, owns the copyrights to the Unix operating system, at least temporarily protecting a wide range of Linux users whom SCO claimed owned it royalties.

    • Intel Corp. officially rolled out its new high-end x86 server processors, the Xeon 7500 family, using up to eight dual-threaded cores with support from more than twice as many OEMs as Intel's previous high-end server CPUs, including an SGI system delivering a up to 256 processors.

    • Legal experts expect the Supreme Court will issue a decision any day upholding the Bilski ruling that limits business-method and software patents but may call for the Federal Circuit court to broaden a test of what can be patentable it set in that case.

    • Nvidia Corp. has officially rolled out adapter cards using its latest high-end graphics processor, code-named Fermi, to a cool reception from analysts and reviewers who say the chip does not have a dramatic performance advantage over graphics processors rolled out last fall from archrival Advanced Micro Devices, although Fermi could make deeper in-roads into supercomputers than AMD's offerings.

    • The ESC-Silicon Valley Conference will add fuel to the effort driving Google's Android software into a wide range of embedded systems beyond the smartphone by hosting three presentations on using Android in embedded systems.

    • Advanced Micro Devices has officially rolled out its latest Magny Cours sever processors a day before archrival Intel Corp. is expected to announce its competing Nehalem-EX CPUs with Hewlett-Packard and SGI among companies announcing plans to use the AMD chips in servers.

    • With its 3G binge over, China's three major telecom operators will cut their spending on capital equipment by more than 20 percent in 2010, a greater than expected decline, driving analyst to anticipate lower revenues for system and chip makers including Ericsson.

    • Members of the ad hoc U-Snap Alliance hope to field this summer the first products based on its specifications for carrying smart grid data over home networks, one of a handful of new efforts seeking ways to unite today's fragmented wired and wireless technologies for emerging energy applications.

    • Archrivals Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices are gearing up for the next round of battle in the lucrative server microprocessor market, but due to shifting strategies on both sides the battle between Intel's Nehalem-EX and AMD's Magny-Cours will be in some ways a tie.

    • A handful of organizations have formed the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, a non-profit group that aims to engage consumers in the evolution of the smart grid by conducting consumer research, education and establishing best practices.

    • Metrico Wireless Inc., a company that conducts private tests on handsets for wireless carriers and hardware vendors, will launch a subscription service in July reporting real world performance of handsets and wireless networks to anyone who is interested.

    • PC demand is starting off the year better than expected with Acer, Apple and Hewlett-Packard benefiting from the trend, and in smart phones Samsung and LG Electronics are poised for a major push into handsets using Google Android, according to analysts from Barclays Capital.

    • With its latest 10 Gbit/second chip, the four-port T4, Chelsio Communications Inc. aims to push ahead of a pack of competitors seeking design wins in data center systems expected to converge networking, storage and clustering functions on to Ethernet.

    • Researchers at the University of Illinois detailed progress on three many-core processors among several small steps they have taken on a long and complex journey toward creating new parallel programming models to harness tomorrow's many-core processors.

    • Eighteen months after launching a software initiative for Internet-connected TV's with Yahoo, Intel is reportedly at work on a bigger, better deal with Google and Sony.

    • Wireless carriers will buy as much as $240 million in gear for the 4G Long Term Evolution networks this year, surging to $5 billion by 2014, according to Dell 'Oro Group.

    • Former media processor startup MicroUnity Systems Engineering filed suit Tuesday alleging 22 of the world's top cellphone companies including chip, system and service providers infringe 15 of its patents, one of the broadest suits in recent memory.

    • Intel, Qualcomm and a trade group supporting the move to a smart electric grid were among the first industry voices to come out in support of a U.S. national plan for broadband service released online Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission.

    • Startup Dockon announced a novel antenna technology that combines electrical and magnetic elements to achieve new levels of efficiency for a brand range of wireless systems, showing single-frequency reference designs for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi that hit up to 97 percent efficiency.

    • Mobile systems using Google's Chrome software will be more expensive than competing mini-notebooks using Intel processors and Microsoft Windows--one reason why Chrome will not be successful in an expanding mobile systems market that will see multiple winners, according to an International Data Corp. analyst.

    • Charles Thacker won the 2009 Turing Award for his work in the early 1970's on the Xerox PARC Alto, a forerunner of the Apple Macintosh and IBM PC, and is now a Microsoft researcher testing out parallel programming concepts on a multi-core FPGA development system he designed.

    • Cisco Systems announced its next generation core router, the CRS-3 which can route 100 Gbit/second streams and sports an aggregate throughput of up to 322 Terabits/second.

    • Systems and semiconductor companies have a handful of opportunities for growth in mobile data networks despite the fact most carriers will keep a lid on capital equipment spending over the next two years, according to analysts from Barclays Capital.

    • The Department of Energy awarded a $72 million loan guarantee to Sage Electrochromics to build a smart window that uses electronically controlled inorganic coatings to save energy.

    • Whether Apple can put a chill on iPhone imitators or set a new standard is one of the big questions for the smartphone sector in 2010 after Apple sued Taiwan smartphone maker HTC, the first shot in what could be the next big mobile patent war, according to a report from Nomura Securities.

    • Moving beyond the PC, Skype released a client for a wide range of Nokia smartphones using the Symbian^1 operating system, just weeks after the mobile OS became available in an open source version.

    • Representatives of Cisco Systems, Google and the Media Access Project--a non-profit lobbying group--share their views on what ought to be the U.S. National Broadband Plan due from the Federal Communications Commission by March 17.

    • Plenty of money will be made selling stereo 3-D televisions over the next few years, according to two market research reports issued this week, but whether any of it funds research on the health impacts of broad use of such novel systems remains to be seen.

    • Advanced Micro Devices released its 890GX chip set that it claims offers higher performance and throughput at significantly lower costs that current chip sets from its archrival Intel Corp.

    • An Intel Capital executive who helped organize the recently launched Invest in America Alliance is bullish on new opportunities for semiconductor startups and their potential to tap into funds VCs have been sitting on.

    • There are plenty of reasons why no one has stepped up yet to use an Intel Atom core in their SoC, but if Intel really wants to be in this business it should take off eventually.

    • Experts in human perception are expressing concerns stereo 3-D TVs now hitting the market could cause eye strain and related health problems, a sensitive topic industry groups are actively discussing, but in their rush to get systems out the door vendors have yet to fund any major studies of the issues.

    • A U.S. Senator leading the charge for patent reform suggested a Senate committee has struck a rough compromise keeping a draft bill alive by balancing calls for lowering damages in patent infringement suits with calls for improving the quality of patents.

    • The VITA Standards Organization, a leading standards group for military and aerospace markets, will announce as early as next week a call for participation in a group to explore the feasibility of deploying in 2012 products with optical backplanes and system interconnects.

    • The Invest in America Alliance, a group of 25 venture capital and 17 high tech companies led by Intel Corp., pledged to invest $3.5 billion in U.S. technology startups over the next two years and hire as many as 10,500 college students in 2010.

    • In an effort to break through electronics-industry logjams, U.S. government policy makers are launching a blog to consumers for comment on a range of questions about smart electric grids including issues about gateways and networks that speak to systems engineers.

    • Apple and software are in the driver's seat in the mobile market but platform fragmentation may be ahead, according to analysts from Barclay's Capital who shared their observations from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

    • A Microsoft Corp. spokeswoman issued a "no comment" today on another flood of rumors that the software giant plans to roll its own smartphone, amid a flurry of news and heighted competition for a stake in the smartphone software platform around this week's Mobile World Congress.

    • Intel researchers are exploring nanoscale materials that could be used to create ultracapacitors with a greater energy density than today's lithium ion batteries as part of work in a new lab dedicated to work on microgrids.

    • PLX Technology, Inc. announced it has working PCI Express Gen 3 silicon that it will demo to key customers before the end of March and aims to sample a range of PCIe Gen 3 switches made in 40nm process technology before the end of the year, starting with server and storage switches sampling before July.

    • Greg Winner has been named chief executive of embedded Wi-Fi chip startup GainSpan Corp., fresh from closing a deal in January to sell its competitor startup ZeroG to Microchip Technology Inc.

    • Intel Corp. has joined the patent aggregation service of RPX Corp., a move the startup claims comes at a time when patent suits are on the rise.

    • Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley gave an update on their work to find new programming models for tomorrow's many-core processors and announced two new research centers—one focused on low-power circuits and another on cloud computing.

    • Today Google took another giant leap announcing plans to provide gigabit/second-class Internet access, but I'm getting a bit concerned about how big, broad and fast the Googleplex is expanding.

    • What did you think was surprising or significant at this year's ISSCC? We invite you to chime in whether you were in San Francisco or just browsed stories from the conference online.

    • Toshiba described Wednesday (Feb 10) a novel mobile media processor it is now sampling using stacked custom DRAM, one of a handful of such devices discussed at the International Solid State Circuits Conference.

    • Medtronic has developed prototype implant that uses light to alter the behaviors of nerve cells in the human brain, one of a handful of papers at the International Solid State Circuits Conference seeking more refined electronic techniques to diagnose or apply therapies to neural conditions.

    • A researcher from Keio University in Japan showed a way to put an entire solid-state disk in the footprint of a single chip using inductive coupling in a talk at the International Solid State Circuits Conference.

    • Claiming it sees a new opportunity where server and networking chips converge, IBM Corp. unveiled what it hopes will be the first of a new line of wire-speed processors that essentially puts it back into the network processing business.

    • IBM Corp. rolled out its first systems using its new Power7 processor, widening its lead over competitors and stealing thunder from Intel and Hewlett-Packard who announced a new Itanium processor.

    • After two years of delays due in part to DDR3 memory, Intel Corp. has launched Tukwilla, its Itanium 9300 server processor, and re-drawn the road map for its only chip not to use an x86 core.

    • Intel Corp. has a significant, if temporary, edge over archrival Advanced Micro Devices based on news and papers emerging here Monday at the International Solid State Circuits Conference where Intel launched a 32nm six core server processor and described an existing x86/graphics chip.

    • Electronics engineers are bumping up against the limits of their tools and techniques—and perhaps even physics--to keep pace with the rapidly expanding needs of an Internet-driven society as they coalesce around a move to 25 Gbit/second chips and ponder what comes next.

    • The future of medical electronics could turn on the arrival of a new class of nanoscale chips that can monitor and deliver personalized therapies to human cells, according to a Berkeley researcher who will discuss the latest work in one of several sessions on medical electronics at the Embedded Systems Conference in April.

    • A Federal Communications Commission director suggested the agency is exploring new ways to use a swath of spectrum to serve multiple users including utilities building smart electric grids as part of a national broadband plan the FCC will release March 17.

    • The Symbian Foundation is officially making available as open source code the Symbian version 3 smartphone operating system which has the broadest use of any smartphone OS, but trails the wildly popular Google Android environment by more than a year in being available as open source.

    • Marvell is making its first foray into home broadband terminals, launching a new family of chips for passive optical networks as the number two player in the PON market, startup Teknovus Inc., is expected to be acquired by Broadcom Corp. or Cavium Networks.

    • MoSys Inc. said it will make memory chips using a novel high-speed interface for a broad range of networking and storage markets as the first of a planned family of standard parts for the company that is expanding beyond its roots as a supplier of silicon cores.

    • The Optical Internetworking Forum has successfully demonstrated a 25 Gbit/second backplane, more than twice the speed to today's typical systems and reported on it at an open workshop hosted by the Optical Internetworking Forum that is drafting a standard for 25G interconnect.

    • Chatter in the rumor mill says Broadcom Corp. or Cavium Networks may be about to acquire startup Teknovus Inc. for its passive optical networking technology, just as Marvell is expected to roll out its first PON products this week.

    • A blue-ribbon panel convened by the Obama Administration must answer within two years the question of how the latest science and technology can provide safe methods to handle the waste from nuclear power plants. We'd like to hear what you think.

    • DirecTV said it is testing versions of Wi-Fi and aims to test wired links based on the ITU G.hn standard days after the company debuted the first satellite TV set-top boxes to use the home networking technology of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance.

    • Apple's new iPad is a runner but by no means a winner in an ongoing race to a convergence system that is a great color e-book, great Web browser and great portable media player.

    • Oracle and Sun Microsystems will discuss their plans for the combined company just four days after the European Commission approved the merger, an event that needs to answer a range of questions about the future of the company's microprocessors, systems, software—and staff.

    • Speculation is running high the day before Apple Inc. is expected to roll out a tablet computer some say could help launch a new category, but it's unclear if the key component needed to drive the category forward—a high-resolution, low-power color display—is ready for prime time.

    • Apple Inc. executives gave no hints on the expected launch of an Apple tablet in a conference call in which it reported record sales and profits, however, they did give fresh insights into the iPhone, its apps, and Apple's sales in emerging markets such as China.

    • DirecTV will use home networking chips from Entropic Communications Inc. in a deal that adds support from a major satellite TV player for the technology of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance which to date has mainly been used in set-top boxes for Verizon's Fios IPTV service.

    • Apple, Disney and a broad coalition of companies are working on cloud-based services that analysts say will usher in the next phase of the digital media era, aiming to let users safely store movies, songs and e-books they can access anytime on any device—or almost any device.

    • Startup Oculus3D detailed its technology for showing stereo 3-D movies through 35mm film projectors just days before it is expected to debut its capabilities to a broad group of customers, partners and investors.

    • LSI Corp. has added a new Power PC processor and fast embedded DRAM cores to its library, claiming demand for custom silicon is on the rise in its core networking and storage markets as it moves into 40nm technology and targets the transition to 10 Gbit Ethernet.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy plans to start conducting its own tests soon to determine whether products are in compliance with the Energy Star program, the latest step in a broad initiative under the Obama Administration to crack down on an electronics industry that has been lax in adhering to the requirements of the energy efficiency program.

    • Stereo 3-D movies could be shown on many more screens at lower costs if startup Oculus3D is able to sell its new lens and print format to retrofit for stereo 3-D the existing 2-D 35mm projectors used in today's theaters.

    • The IEEE has launched a new Web site that consolidates information about smart electric grids from it various societies. The portal is one of many activities from an IEEE smart grid initiative coordinating the organization's work on the transition to digital, networked power systems and services.

    • In another move toward consolidation in business computing, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft said they will spend as much as $250 million over the next three years in a new collaboration to deliver integrated systems, software and services for cloud computing.

    • Private equity fundraising in the U.S. hit a six-year low in 2009, according to a report that comes as one veteran investor is calling for greater transparency in venture capital investing.

    • In the wake of the Consumer Electronics Show, analysts are upbeat on the outlook for consumer systems, especially those tied to emerging mobile devices and 3DTV, and singled out Apple and Qualcomm as two of the big winners from the trends at the show.

    • Here's our take on what was hot and what was not at CES. If you attended, or have strong opinions based on what you have been reading, we invite you to chime in with your own picks and pans.

    • In a panel discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show, a handful of content providers said they will deliver stereo 3-D services in 2010, but their paths to getting there are still diverse and uncertain.

    • Chanting a mantra of "doing business and doing good," cellphone giant Nokia announced at the Consumer Electronics Show it will invest a million dollars in the winner of a contest for the best hardware, software or service for improving the well being of poor countries.

    • The vice president of product engineering at Plastic Logic told EE Times the story behind the design of the potentially ground-breaking e-book, gave us a virtual tour of its internals and shared his thoughts on the state and future of mobile consumer design in an interview on the CES show floor.

    • TV makers want to morph the big-screen HDTV into a 3-D capable, Internet-connected video phone, but details on how they will do it were scarce in a series of back-to-back press events before the official opening of the Consumer Electronics Show.

    • A consumer drone that could be the next big thing in gaming, a handhald radar device, broadcast TV on the cellphone and a smartbook were four of the hot new gadgets we saw at CES Unveiled--a loud, crowded cocktail party that marks the beginning of a press tour at the Consumer Electronics Show.

    • While I slept last night, more than a dozen of the companies fired off press releases about new or improved platforms at the Consumer Electronics Show that could change the way something happens for the average Joe--two days before CES even begins.

    • Vizio Inc. will announce at the Consumer Electronics Show plans to use the 60 GHz chips from SiBeam Inc. in a high definition TV and Blu-ray player that will ship in June a move the startup says is a sign its technology is leading a hotly competitive race to enable wireless video in the home.

    • Lenovo has become the first top tier PC maker to announce an ARM-based netbook, the Skylight which uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at a gigahertz and Lenovo's own variant of Linux.

    • Vizio Inc. will announce at the Consumer Electronics Show plans to use the 60 GHz chips from SiBeam Inc. in a high definition TV that will ship in June a move the startup says is a sign its technology is leading a hotly competitive race to enable wireless video in the home.

    • In a video preview of the Consumer Electronics Show, editor-at-large Rick Merritt shares his thoughts about what to look for at CES this week including analysis of 3DTV, e-books, smartbooks and wireless video.

    • Eleven Engineering Inc. will jump into the pool of providers of wireless audio streaming technology at the Consumer Electronics Show with a set of dongles and speakers using its proprietary 2.4 GHz technology.

    • A combination Apple media pad, e-book and netbook anticipated by some observers could steal much of the thunder about mobile systems expected at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

    • The HDMI standard is getting an update to support broadcast stereo 3D content on new and existing links, one of many pieces of the puzzle still being put in place for the roll pout of 3DTV which will be a major focus at the Consumer Electronics Show.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy is evaluating dozens of proposals from universities and others seeking $100 million in grants to train tomorrow's engineers and technicians for as many as 30,000 new jobs that could be needed over the next few years as today's electric grid transitions to a digital network.

    • Intel Corp. is shipping new versions of its Atom processor that integrate graphics and a memory controller on the same die as the x86 CPU in hopes the new chips will help expand its lead in the rapidly growing market for netbooks.

    • Intel Corp will announce 17 new processors at the Consumer Electronics Show including two 32 nm parts with graphics in a package with an x86, however it has no design wins to announce yet for its digital TV chips.

    • The U.S. government fueled significant work on smart electric grid this year, but the hard work of making the transition to a digital power network is just beginning, according to Steve Widergren, a principal engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently named to head a broad new smart grid standards effort.

    • Broadcom Corp. is sampling its first 40 nm chip, a cellphone media processor capable of recording full 1080-progressive high definition video, the company said at its annual meeting with Wall Street analysts where it positioned itself as poised for a return to profitable growth that will outpace its markets.

    • Startup ProVision Communications is giving customers a sneak peak of its wireless video technology that will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January using software and an antenna design based on 802.11n that it claims can deliver video wirelessly throughout a home.

    • Experts working to enable a new era of personalized medicine based on genetics say they need much more computing umph and new specialized hardware to harness the molecular agents behind diseases and envision a future in which consumers use a new class of personal devices to track their health by monitoring proteins in their blood.

    • Auto makers hope to ratify in 2010 the first draft of a suite of five standards that will link electric vehicles to the smart grid and home networks.

    • The Wireless Gigabit Alliance, an ad hoc group that includes top Wi-Fi chip makers, gave the first peak into its specification for 60 GHz links capable of sending data at rates of 1-7 Gbits/second and aimed at addressing a wide variety of computer and consumer applications.

    • The world's biggest hard disk drive maker is jumping into the crowded market for solid-state drives as Seagate Technology is shipping Pulsar a 200 GByte, 2.5-inch flash drive aimed at servers.

    • The WHDI Consortium has completed its specification for wireless video over a 5 GHz variant of Wi-Fi based on technology from startup chip designer Amimon, one of at least four major approaches to delivering wireless video in the digital home.

    • Graphics processor makers Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia Corp. may have gotten long- as well as short-term reprieves from Intel Corp.'s decision not to release the first version of its Larrabee chip.

    • Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC Corp. has become the twentieth company to join startup RPX Corp. a defensive patent pool service started a year ago in a sign the hunger to lower costs and risks of patent infringement litigation is still keen among established electronics companies.

    • Cray Inc. has announced three European partners for a new program aimed at delivering by the end of the decade a supercomputer capable of performing an exaflop, a quintillion calculations per second.

    • The U.S. government is grappling with one of the first big snags in the wake of awarding $4 billion in grants to build a smart electric grid—how to find a standard that would let consumer appliances plug into an intelligent power network.

    • The U.S. government has announced a second and final round of economic stimulus grants aimed at accelerating the transition to a smart electric grid with Boeing and two up-and-coming battery makers among the winners of a total of $620 million in grants from the Department of Energy to 32 projects mainly organized by electric utilities.

    • Researchers will describe at the International Solid State Circuits Conference a nuclear magnetic resonance device that could slash the size and cost of medical diagnostic systems, one of many papers at ISSCC suggesting advances in medical electronics on the horizon.

    • Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices will face off with separate papers on their next-generation 32nm processors at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in February, but IBM's Power7 and Sun Microsystems' Rainbow Falls will be among the most aggressive multicore architectures described at the event.

    • In between takes of guest appearances on TV's "30 Rock," Nobel prize winner and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore swept into Silicon Valley Thursday to stump for the smart electric grid and help hand out awards to technologists honored for their work in social justice.

    • Cisco Systems is looking for a few good power engineers—including a chief technology officer for its new smart grid business unit.

    • Google, Honeywell, Intel and Panasonic are among the companies elected to a seat on the board of a broad new group chartered to help manage the evolution of smart electric grids.

    • The smart grid promises to be in some ways similar to and even bigger than the Internet, according to veteran venture capitalist John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers who helped fund Google and Amazon.com but now focuses on green technology.

    • Electric utilities need to cut a path to open smart grid networks and China's burgeoning energy sector could lead the charge, said an executive from a large electric utility as the U.S. Department of Energy is gearing up to release details on a second round of grants for smart electric grids.

    • In separate moves, ARM Ltd. has launched a new Web site and contract design company Aricent Inc. has announced a new development team both dedicated to helping engineers design systems with Google Android in further indications of the intense interest in Android and the challenges using it.

    • Advanced Micro Devices powers the world's three largest supercomputers according to the lasted version of the Top500 list, but archrival Intel Corp. still dominates the list with processors now in 80 percent of the systems.

    • The IEEE Standards Association has revised its membership rules in an effort to ease the financial hurdles to participating in the group's many standards efforts.

    • The ongoing mobile free-for-all took another interesting twist Friday as PC maker Dell announced a Google Android cellphone it will initially sell in China and Brazil, the same day smartphone chip maker Qualcomm showed an ARM-based netbook made by Lenovo.

    • Hewlett-Packard's $2.7 billion bid to acquire 3Com Corp. marks another step in the consolidation of data centers and the vendors who serve them in a sector where bigger is often better and cost has replaced performance as the main market driver.

    • AMD sketched rough outlines of two new x86 cores—including a rival to Intel's Atom--the company plans to put in products for 2011 and said it has working versions of its first 32nm Fusion chips that integrate x86 and graphics cores and will sample them before June.

    • The HyperTransport Consortium aims to disclose extensions to the HyperTransport physical layer before the end of the year, enabling a new class of systems using HyperTransport to link a mixture of processors and systems using both coherent and non-coherent links.

    • The recently installed director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office used his first blog to lobby for a patent reform bill now being debated in Congress.

    • Intel's digital health group released the Intel Reader, a paperback-sized device that can take a picture of printed text with its 5 megapixel camera and convert it to speech for the dyslexic and visually impaired.

    • Supreme Court justices struggled with the complexities of setting a test of what could be a patent and expressed some aversion to setting any new and broad standard as they heard oral arguments in the Bilski case Monday.

    • The Zune HD, Microsoft's latest answer to the popular Apple iPod, is a reasonable alternative to the iTouch player, but users need to be willing to climb what were for me some pretty steep and frustrating hurdles in setting up and figuring out how to use the Microsoft device.

    • The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday (Nov. 9) that go to the heart of what is a patent as it examines the case of Bernard Bilski.

    • A secret side project for a Hewlett-Packard engineer has quietly spawned an ultra-sensitive accelerometer that the PC giant hopes to leverage to propel it into sensor networks, an emerging market it sees as the next big wave of computing.

    • Contract design company Moto Development Group (San Francisco) has announced a family of three reference platforms for the Google Android operating system aimed at giving OEMs a leg up on hardware engineering based on Moto's enhancements to the Texas Instruments Beagle board.

    • Improvements in Windows 7 will make it less likely notebook makers will adopt Linux-based operating systems, said a technology executive at Lenovo, but the notebook giant will evaluate new alternatives including Google's Chrome OS.

    • Startup FXI Technologies AS hopes to bring the Nintendo game cartridge into the cellphone era with a vengeance when it releases in early 2011 mobile games packaged with their own acceleration hardware on microSD cards.

    • Startup 3Leaf Systems has released an ASIC that can link 32 Opteron processors into a single server and is working on a version that could do the same for 64 Intel Nehalem processors.

    • MIPS Technologies Inc. is upgrading two of its cores and introducing a new instruction set architecture to expand the company's relatively small presence in 32-bit microcontrollers and leverage its strength in wired consumer systems to attack sockets in wireless devices.

    • Atheros Communications debuts a Wi-Fi chip for cellphones that supports a single-stream version of the latest 802.11n standard, attacking giants such as Broadcom and Texas Instruments who have been winning sockets in handsets with .11g chips that have integrated Bluetooth and FM radio features.

    • In a splashy New York City event, Juniper Networks announced its next generation of silicon, systems, software and partnerships around a family of networking products geared to serve businesses and service providers and attack archrival Cisco Systems.

    • The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has shelved any plans to use the ultrawideband technology it acquired from the WiMedia Alliance when that group decided in March it would fold, and in its place is conducting due diligence on 60 GHz technology as a possible transport for a future high-rate Bluetooth.

    • Verizon Communications Inc. will require OEMs starting in July 2010 to supply thermal models for circuit boards and cabinets for any equipment they want to sell to the carrier as part of a new energy-saving strategy.

    • Proposals from chip designer Intellon Corp. and white goods giant Whirlpool were among a broad group of 100 projects selected Tuesday to share $34 billion in federal funds to accelerate deployment of smart electric grids.

    • Eighteen million homes—13 percent of all U.S. households--will get smart electric meters within three years as part of $3.4 billion in U.S. government grants to upgrade the country's aging electric grid announced by President Barack Obama in remarks at one of the country's largest solar farms in Arcadia, Florida.

    • A group of university organizations has sent a letter expressing its concerns in the ongoing debate over patent reform in a letter that said the group believes the current Senate patent reform bill is tied up in "negotiations underway within the Senate Judiciary Committee."

    • Qualcomm Inc. announced Monday it has set up a separate wholly-owned subsidiary to work on open source software for mobile systems, the Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc. with a dedicated group of engineers led by Rob Chandhok, senior vice president of software strategy for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

    • Tilera Corp. will announced plans for a 100-core embedded processors at the Many-Core Virtual Conference this week where system maker Top Layer networks will discuss its use of Tilera's architecture.

    • I think Microsoft owes it to the PC industry from which it—along with Intel--sucks the lion's share of profits to do better than it has with Windows 7, so let's start our wish list for Windows 8.

    • Seeking to differentiate itself in a competitive market, SP AusNet, a utility company in Australia, has agreed to install by December 2013 more than 680,000 smart meters riding a WiMax network as part of a government plan to deploy more than 2.5 million smart meters over the next four years in the state of Victoria.

    • Without fresh innovations, designers could find themselves by 2020 in an era of "dark silicon," able to build dense devices they cannot afford to power, according to the chief technology officer of ARM Ltd. at the company's annual tech conference where FPGAs and netbooks were also hot topics.

    • ARM Ltd. opens its annual Silicon Valley technical conference announcing the Cortex A5, a new core to anchor its high-end line of mobile and embedded processors as well as plans to bolster its nascent position in graphics, extend its progress in microcontrollers and take a step in a potentially new direction with FPGAs.

    • Description: Intel's decision to wait until 2011 to support USB 3.0 in PC chip sets will put mainstream adoption of the interconnect on hold for a year, said a senior technology manager at a top tier PC maker who also called for separate 60 GHz industry groups to unite in the wake of the failure of wireless USB.

    • The Universal Plug and Play Forum has set up a smart grid task force aiming to set standards for how home networked devices monitor and manage electricity consumption and promote UPnP technology as a part of emerging smart grid standards worldwide.

    • At a press conference, I saw a senior engineer when not needed to address a question hammering away at Facebook chat, I assume staying in touch with colleagues (not his teenage kids), but I wondered if that was really a secure way to communicate.

    • I would love to hear tales of unsung innovators. Celebrate someone you know here or send me an email at rick.merritt@ubm.com

    • So STM is joining Broadcom, Marvell and Atheros as recent acquirers of powerline technology, all more or less triggered by the rising need for hybrid home nets and the completion of IEEE 1901 and start of 1905.1. Looks like powerline will start happening--but such a low price suggests the opportunity may be seen as small for awhile.

    • @Duane: Good point. Maybe MS could create a streamlined version of Windows and Office for the tablet, one that ran fast and wasn't such a memory and power hog, ditching many features

    • @Duane and @Frank. The FCC press release just out said the difference is because wireless broadband "is an earlier-stage platform than fixed broadband," there's more competition in wireless and "existing mobile networks present operational constraints that fixed broadband networks do not typically encounter." Makes sense to me

    • I just ran into Or-Bach at an event last night. He now believes this technique could be of use to any digital semiconductor fab for any product and says it is compolmentary to through silicon vias.

    • @t.alex: Honeycomb is the next version of Android after Gingerbread which was announced this week as the OS for the Nexus S. Few details are available yet beyond what Rubin said in the conference.

    • Google is taking the Apple approach which is becoming increasing popular (with HP/Palm, too) of full hardware/software vertical integration, but Google seems to be getting far less punch with this effort.

    • Indeed there are many ways to manipulate benchmarks and I am sure the big three know them all. The good news to me inm this story is that Oracle continues to back Sparc, Solaris and Java, keeping those techs viable.

    • I checked the abstract again and all the numbers are correct. Here it is: "The Intel 32nm Poulson processor contains 3.1 billion transistors integrated onto a single 544mm2 silicon die size. Eight processor cores and a total of 54MB of on-chip cache are linked by an on-chip ring-like interconnect bus."

    • Logitech is already shipping its Intel SoC based GoogleTV set top box (see http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4209393/Logitech-Revue-gets-mixed-reviews) and Sony has at least demoed an Intel SoC based TV, so it's not likely ARM would oust Intel. However, Google will make the GoogleTV software open source next year and it or third parties including ARM, Mips or their SoC partners could do ports.

    • My speculation--and it is just speculation--is that the total amount of wafers in these two deals combined on a good day with the wind at their backs is less than a drop in Intel's very big bucket. I suspect the foundry parts of the deals are incidental, not strategic. If Intel can help accelerate the development of better batteries, that is strategic.

    • The RIM CEO is right. The whole apps craze was created by Apple as a way to drive value to its proprietary iOS platform. But in the era of Web servcies it's a step backwards. Do we really want an (iPhone only) app for that?

    • Some say China is already replacing the Ethernet/Infiniband interconnect chips with its own designs and anticipate it could replace the x86 processors with its own Godson parts in the not too distant future.

    • You can find more details and links in our story from yesterday at http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4210531/Marvell-debuts-quad-core-ARM-for-servers

    • No one expects the FCC to provide regulations about what home network to use. The ARE expected to set rules to help drive open pay-TV ready gateways into retail markets...as for MoCA, coax is the one well sheilded wire that exists broadly in the home to handle copy protected HD video for multiroom DVR, thus Dish, Cox, TWC, Comcast and Verizon are adopting it.

    • @Dr. Divakar: They use an optical media, but that's all I know. It would be great to get a tech paper on the Galaxy interconnect, but I have no connections with the Tianjin researchers--yet!

    • To answer the questions above, the Tianhe-1a is fast becasuse 1) It has this 2x advantage in interconnect throughput and 2) it is using the very latest fast Intel and Nvidia processors (something others will leverage, too). As for the future China supers, some are expected to use China's Longsoon-3, a 16-core processor probably available in 2011. I have not yet heard about any China graphics chips. Maybe someone else can chime in on that.

    • Oracle, like IBM and others, has a big stake in Infiniband and Mellanox is the only company making chips for it. Infiniband will never big as big as Ethernet, and Mellanox has been embracing Ethernet products to fuel its growth. I keep wondering why Mellanox has not gone public.

    • I think tablets are the bell bottoms of the mobile era. They will be really hot for a short time. When the enthusiast rush is over, most people will use a notebook and a smartphone--not a too-big-to-carry-too-underfeatured-to-compute tablet.

    • I love that we let young people do teardowns at our booth, and the idea of a living Einstein you can interact with brings up find memories of Hal Holbrooke as Mark Twain.

    • I only met Jack a few times on the tech reporter beat, but I too saw that mixture of curiousity, tenaciousness and humility others here have noted. He was something of the Columbo of our world with the seeming disorganization of his pocketful of notes and pens masking a penetrating intellect. I have never been scooped so often by such a genuinely nice guy as Jack. Mark's excellent and thorough insider report is a fitting tribute to a reporter who set the standard in our field.

    • @Larry: Good point. Apple could be innovating by putting SSD on PCI Express bus. Does anyone know? And yes 64 Gbytes is about the same amount of storage on a high end iPhone these days.

    • @Ken: An MIT person on a panel at yesterday's FCC event talked about using shared spectrum in the future which sounds like a similar idea to what you are proposing. I'd like to hear more about the concept and any electroncis behind it.

    • An earlier version of this story INCORRECTLY said these chips use two Cortex cores. In fact, they use one ARM Cortex A8. My apologies for my error.

    • HDDs are expected to remain the lowest cost per Gbyte solution for the foreseeable future and as such be the workhorse of high capacity applications. But the OEM community has driven this buisness to very slim margins and HDDs have unique and complex tech requirements to stay on their areal density growth path--while SSDs steal away some high margin biz in high performance niches--so its a tough business.

    • I may have "a profound ignorance of the fundamental differences between Windows CE and the Windows x86 code bases" but I note that Linux is available on ARM, x86, MIPS and Power. MS ought to follow its lead.

    • Qualcomm told me this morning that the first Win7 phones are based on Qualcomm QSD8250 or QSD8650 SoCs which include a gigahertz-class apps processor and separate modem block--and I added that to the story above.

    • @Kris: LSI used to be the big soup-to-nuts ASIC supplier in Silicon Valley. Now they have gone fabless but still try to attract top networking and storage customers like Cisco etc. to build ASICs with them, using LSI IP and a one-stop service. It's a money maker and helps build relationships for sales of standard products.

    • I dunno. Pay significantly more for a TV that requires new chips to deliver slightly less 3-D resolution for small-medium-sized displays with limited viewing angles--and a benefit of no glasses. Seems too small a gain for me. The fact that Toshiba is not doing this for big screens is significant.

    • I agree with Luis and Mark. 1. It should have had stylus input an handwriting recognition capabilities great for several biz apps. 2. It should have been called Blackberry Slate and be a true Blackberry able to run Blackberry apps as the iPad runs iPhone apps.

    • I agree with Dylan. PC makers will eventually go to something like LP, but not now when they are in the midst of a transition to USB3. LP has to build an ecosystem of devices to make it valuable to users, costs need to come down and we could use some apps that really need 10+Gbits/s. The report, by the way, has tons of details...but unlike news stories, you have to buy it ;-)

    • I have not heard of Nvidia licensing its GPU cores for use on anyone else's processors, but 2011 will be a big year for heterogeneous processors from Intel, AMD and others--so this will be an important space to watch.

    • @Kiran: Agreed the process needs to get streamlined, but there are many, many small and medium sized medical electroncis companies out there. Many are choosing to focus only on Europe an Asia--at least in their early stages.

    • My opinion is in the 3-D era--if it comes--systems engineers will need to get much more intimately involved in semiconductor design. This could be a huge shift, one of many the technology could bring.

    • I would expect Intel will make Light Peak royalty free if it owns the IP. It just wants to enable people to buy fast and expensive CPUs--but if someone knows the facts, please chime in!

    • I am told Liberty Media, a cable-TV operator is specifying sokme boxes using Groveland. As for USB 3.0, Dadi Perlmutter declined to say whether it will be supported in Sandybridge chip sets shipping in Q1 ;-(

    • Give Ellison and Hurd credit for speed and boldness. Hurd is already listed as the main keynoter at OracleWorld on Sept. 20. Perhpas he can just reuse some HP slides ;-) See http://www.oracle.com/us/openworld/keynotes-143370.html

    • Cool stuff. The plan to lease batteries is similar to the model of Better Place. See http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4088692/ESC-Keynoter-sketches-out-vision-for-electric-cars

    • Apple has been rumored to be on the verge of shipping an iPhone on Verizon's network for about a year. I'll believe it when I see it.

    • I know contactless payment was happening in Hongkong public transit in a big way when I was there more than a year ago--but where else is it taking off? The US has been stuck on mag stripes for years. I don't see anything that says retailers will swap in contactless cards to save the effort of a mag swipe anytime soon. So who will pay for this infrastructure upgrade and why?

    • My big question is how's the USB 3.0 roll out going? I know there have big concerrns for sometime with the lavck of support in Intel chip sets an Windows

    • Good point. The PentiumM combo no doubt sucked tons more power--and Intel will still have non-computer design wins at Apple with its new wireless unit from Infineon. But what about that notebook with a next-gen A4, possible or just a wild idea?

    • Good question. I am sure that's in the report but it wasn't made public. I would expect the vast majority to be SFP+ given the still high costs and power consumption of 10GBaseT. Anyone else know?

    • Skyhigh and JG: What's the Russian fab that's seeking the 90nm ban? CLiHsing: Hu told me his next big focus is developing the software ecosystem.

    • Feory: Interesting story on India. I'll try to look into it. It suggests US an Euro companies don't want to let go of their high margins and proprietary software while a hungrier China will be more competitive. All: Agreed China has a poor record in IP and human rights. But the proper response from the US gov't is not to try to shut its companies our of US markets.

    • HP has offered to spend the equivalent of two-thirds of its annual corporate R&D to gain one small company. If Dell matches HP's bid it, would cost nearly four times its annual R&D budget. Is this as out of whack?

    • Apple, now the darling if Wall Street, would be hated by financial markets and investors if they took on the huge capital expenses and risks of a fab.

    • Samsung may have the right balance of long term planning and government support. Intel has too little and China too much. The interesting bit to me is how the Samsung vs. Intel competition will shape industry dynamics in the new decade. Mobile will be a head on collision for the two.

    • Gary: As I underdtand it, data moves through the Huawei array flexibly in various ways depending on which of about 16 functions it is performing.

    • Interestingly, Huawei took an active role among organizers and presenters at Hot Chips and the Multicore Expo in recent months. Cisco and Alca-Lu did not.

    • Renasas has been driving an aggressive IP strategy for a couple years at least. But this may be one of the first times a large established silicon company has partnered with what many would call a patent troll.

    • Indeed "dark silicon" and "utilization wall" are buzzwords. But the real juice here is that hardware accelerators are getting to the level of specific application workloads--and a group of college students can craft the design tools to generate them.

    • Neither HDDs or SSDs are likely to die or become niche in the next ten years. In fact, both are likely to continue to expand as digital technology expands with new products and markets and both technologies improve. I wrote a couple stories this week about the long term road map for HDDs. See http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4206326/Decision-time-looms-for-hard-drive-makers The upshot is drives have a major tech transition ahead in about 2015 and much is still uncertain. Still HDD makers have been through this sort or re-invention before, there are plenty of ideas on the table and drives are likely to continue costing a few pennies per Gbyte into the foreseeable future.

    • Yeah powerline has problems, but the underlying technology can be used to send data over coax (competing with Moca). In addition, Atheros is trying to develop a mesh technology to use Wi-Fi in a room and powerline to go from room to room where through-wall penetration is an issue. And some carriers prefer powerline to Wi-Fi, so you have to have it all.

    • I wonder if there is a pull back going on in PCs and, if so, how much of it may be due to just skittishness about the macroeconomic slowdown attributed to lackluster consumer spending. Sometimes these things seem to be rooted in self-perpetuating moods.

    • It will be interesting to see if Intel can get an edge over AMD with "hardware-enhanced security," but I don't see it. Unlike the Wind River deal that helps dribve Intel in embedded, McAffee won't extend Intel's traditiponal business into new markets.

    • I'd be interested to hear from anyone who is attending the magnetic recording conference in San Diego this week about what papers made the biggest impressions on them.

    • Based on talks at InterSolar last month, micro-inverters do indeed representa big share of the future. I don't know if there is anything in the full repport here about them, biut I suspect they are a tiny emerging piece of the current market.

    • It's interesting and a little scary that the Oracle suit says Android system makers need to obtain licenses to the Java patents. Will Oracle follow up with suits of Motorola and HTC?

    • I'm no economics PhD, but I suspect what we are seeing here is what's happening in the overall economy. We are still in a recovery and there is still growth but growth is slowing...not a big retrenchment or double dip recession, just a slowdown in growth.

    • Neo: All the server players are becoming more integrated selling bundles of computers, network gear, storage and software wrapped in services. The microprocessors are more and more incidental, but its good to see Oracle is giving Sparc a future.

    • Intel is the third big processor architecture in comms these days, and have a lot of momentum. Whenever ARM rolls out a 64-bit architecture, it will become a more significant player here too.

    • The patent office is also one of the few U.S. agencies that lacks regional offices that would let it tap into a broader pool of technically-savvy examiners than it can find in the Washington D.C. area.

    • I confess I attended and covered the high profile Que launch on the showfloor of CES in January. The company had button-down management, working systems and a story that made sense. But the realities of the "instant commodity" market for ebooks and whatever other problems that cropped up the company is not discussing apparently blew a big hole through all that.

    • Hi all, Sorry for any confusion. The simple answer is: ABI sees the next wave of growth coming from lower cost more mainstream priced smartphones. ABI is not redefining the smartphone, just noting the trickle down of Moore's Law. Hope that clarifies things

    • I'd love to hear more comments from folks like BobbyTsai on whether access to PCI interfaces is enough to open the door for third-party graphics--or do they need access to cache coherent interconnects like Intel's QPI.

    • CamilleK has a good point. Other big partnerships could be in the offing here to capture what will someday be a significant market but will take a lot of investment in regulatory missionary work and knowledge of consumer systems, sensor networks and health care markets. Philips, Cisco and many others are in the possible partner pool.

    • Dear KB3001: Laptops are the new desktops and desktops are the new mainframes. Eventually you will consider somnething that fits in your pocket your primary computer and communicator--but we need to solve this little problem of small mobile displays and "keyboards." Meanwhile, iPads are a fun diversion.

    • The fact Intel must offer a PCI interface on its processors should open the door for Nvidia to sell graphics and chip sets for all Intel parts without needing to license Intel's new QuickPath Interconnect, an agreement Nvidia had not been able to secure. That's big in itself.

    • What mobile device are you smoking these days, and what does it make you think about the future?

    • Intel's Digital Health group has been doing excellent missionary work for the last five years in this field, including helping form and drive the Continua Allaince. I expect this deal--telegraphed in the earlier alliance with GE--is an admission from the business side that this market is still in a very early state and not something Intel wants to keep pumping money in alone. There's more services and software than silicon needed here and the chips that are needed are at the very low end of Intel's product line.

    • I suspect the architectural license is motivated by a desire to make next-gen Zunes and Kins to compete with Apple and establish its mobile software...i.e. to create a Microsoft version of the A4. Windows on PCs and servers is something I suspect Microsoft will explore but resist for many more years.

    • I hear every branch of the U.S. armed services is developing more kinds of drones than you can shake a stick at these days, seeing them as a very effective tools. I guess the next step is making sure the other guy doesn't have them or can't use them effectively. Drone wars indeed. The next generation of young people may not have to don uniforms and go overseas, just man the videogame consoles in the den!

    • I don't see mobile TV taking off in the US where there are big screen TVs in airports, bars, car back seats and homes and no place else anybody spends much down time. I think Feory is right about clouds ahead for ATSC mobile, too. I suspect Qualcomm's Flo spectrum may be useful for other apps, perhaps part of the white spaces?

    • Yes, the Internet has created a "best efforts" culture we now accept in consumer behavior. We get 500 HDTV channels and Webphones in our pockets, and we get a basic understanding of how all our set-tops, cellphones and home WiFi routers sometimes need to be rebooted!

    • Dear Relentless, We never reported anything but the facts. Some users were complaining about dropped calls when the phone was held in certain ways. Teardown experts saw a novel antenna design. Had there not been a flood of reports, Apple never would have had a press conference. As it was I could not even get into it because I was not on a pre-approved list of reporters. The long and short of it is all across our industry there is a shortage of frank information. We do the best we can in this difficult environment. As Steve Jobs said, "We are not perfect."

    • Good points, Bob. One of the big issues is how to set standards when there are so many ways to do stacking. But I think the benefits are clear and people like Qualcomm are "hot" on the tech, if you will. I wasn't able to post a picture of a silicon interposer approach Xilinx talked about. It seats die side-by-side on an interconnect layer--perhaps addressing heat.

    • Good, common sense points, Bolaji. Indeed the mainstream PC business remains robust and Msoft makes money hand over fist there, and does OK in its other side businesses, I suspect. But the crack in the wall is what is happening in everything below notebooks. It could take a decade, but given the lack of innovation from M'soft lately and the amount of it from Google and others it is starting to feel like a pivot point to me.

    • I did not put in the story Verizon's comments about "doubling down" on a bet on Google Android for business and consumer phones. We all do Windows...but for how much longer?

    • I wonder if this is a similar amount GE and these VCs would have spent anyway? Also, GE is playing a bit of catch up with smaller companies who have rolled out EV chargers and home energy monitoring equipment.

    • I disagree with Andy Grove. Google rose from two guys at Stanford with an idea to become one of the big Silicon Valley employers, and it will not be the last. There will be many more in IT, clean tech, biotech and other tech branches that haven't even been invented yet.

    • I believe Intel has already acquired at least 3G modem expertise separately about a year back--anyone recall the details?--so they may not have been that hungry for the Nokia tech, and Nokia may want to seed many gardens so their supplier base is healthy and diverse

    • I was living in Hong Kong during the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. We faxed newspaper accounts of what happened to every fax number in China we had. I would hope faced with Google's situation I would find the same kind of creativity and courage to respond.

    • I was living in Hong Kong during the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. We faxed newspaper accounts of what happened to every fax number in China we had. I would hope faced with Google's situation I would find the same kind of creativity and courage to respond.

    • I'd love to hear from anyone evaluating comms processors for a next-generaiton design what you think about these new QorIQ parts versus a Xeon, Cavium or NetLogic chip.

    • Intel is clearly gotten back to its roots with an x86 only philosophy which makes sense for it. But it is also creating an opportunity for a multi-company ARM ecosystem to compete...and others

    • I now some teens who struggled for months to put together the money for an Xbox, and are veeeerrrrry happy. Maybe Msoft needs to follow Apple in hiring more smart semiconductor people.

    • Hi Mike, The value for us TV watchers is we can start accessing any video content (Web or broadcast) more easily, it's better navigation than today's EPGs and its a way to help use the TV screen as a photo viewer and player of mobile and Web apps. And yes, Google and Intel and others hope to make some money on it reaching more eyeballs.

    • Dear Herman: The short answer is--to support a much larger, higher reslution display than on the iPhone. Dear Richard J: Maybe you are one of the few who wants the Tablet PC Microsoft spearheaded a few years back.

    • Don't forget Walt Mossberg's glowing review that came out this week in the WSJ at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304252704575155982711410678.html?mod=WSJ_PersonalTechnology_RightTopCarousel

    • I invite any savvy developers to weigh in on the fine points of how Android differs from standard Linux. I understand it also varies from standard Java. According to Wikipedia: Android uses a version of Linux as its kernel (albeit tweaked by Google to fit Android needs and separated from the main Linux kernel tree),[94] but it is not a conventional Linux distribution; it does not have a native X Window System, nor does it support the full set of standard GNU libraries like its system libraries (GNU C Library). This makes it difficult to reuse existing Linux applications or libraries on Android.[95] Google no longer maintains the Android code they previously contributed to the Linux kernel, effectively branching kernel code in their own tree, separating their code from Linux. The code which is no longer maintained was deleted in January 2010 from the Linux codebase.[4][5][96]

    • IMHO, CEVA has a good opportunity selling programmable chips in this transition when no what quite knows what a 4G handset should be, but by 2011-2012 when the system design gets more clearly defined dedicated chips will emerge and win the day as most cost effective.

    • Am I hearing an underlying debate here about whether we should support Web animation and video via Adobe Flash or try to create similar structures in HTML5 that don't depend on a single vendor(Adobe)?

    • I have to admit I am no antenna expert. They did provide other figures of merit. Perhaps I failed to capture the most significant ones. I would love to hear what anyone thinks after reading through their spec sheets online as inducated above.

    • Dear Jade: Good point about controlling the memory footprint as a way of ensuring system stability. I suspect this is why the iPhone is not multitasking-enabled--why risk thread contention if you have good-enough performance.

    • Dear Ughhh: Good point, there likely is a big savings from an Atom to a Tegra for example...and yes more data is going to the cloud although there is still a strong desire for lots of local flash and even a disk.

    • Everyone's been wanting to use mobile consumer Linux for a long time. Now there's finally a well organized offering with all the needed parts plus plenty of app layer goodies--Android. Symbian is a year late to this party, but offers OEMs a choice. Question: Where's the Symbian App Store? Answer: Some of its at Nokia Ovi, some with Samsung, some with carriers...Oi vay!

    • I don't think I have ever seen so many ISSCC papers that had power figures prominently featured in their titles. MIPS and megahertz have given way to milliwatts and picojoules as the new figures of merit. Power is the new performance.

    • For me there were two big things. IBM actually launched a whole new microprocessor at ISSCC--how often does that happen! And it remains the best social gathering of chip designers I've ever seen.

    • I'm hearing the sound of several commenters straining to defiend AMD. Face it guys, they are a year behind Intel fielding 32nm and more than a year fielding a combo x86/grpahics chip of ANY kind. It's a great company, but they are behind.

    • Dear EFJ: So are you saying there are no longer any significant risks with spent fuel, but the public just needs to be educated about that? Dear jg: Indeed, it sounds like there are many unsolved problems beyond waste. Anyone else have perspective on these issues?

    • I'm not an engineer but I grew up during the Cold War and Three Mile Island and like everyone else I've lived through 9/11, so I understand the many fear factors here. What I want to know is, what's the reality of the science and technology?

    • Someday a tablet may be a third must-have product for the affluent people who already own smart phones and notebook PCs. It may even be the future of newspapers, books and TV for many people. But today the iPad is only a must-have for a small slice of Apple's dedicated fan base. And there are a few dozen more important problems in the world technology can address than defining new and fun ways to consume more media more often.

    • I agree the entiee news media--us included--are being sucked into a feeding frenzy of coverage on the hunch a new category of products may be emerging in mobile consumer systems, a frenzy that benefits Apple most of all.

    • As one of the Barclays analysts noted, Apple was not exhibiting at CES but there was a lot of talk about the company there from its suppliers and competitors. They cast a big shadow from Cupertino to Vegas, especially since the launch of the iPhone.

    • Hey Nirav: I love your idea for a MEMS stylus! Jeff Hawkins tried and failed in a big way to do the smartphone companion product you mention. See http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml;?articleID=201804047 And we need to tell "The Atlantic" that Philips pulled its autostereoscopic tech from the market last year because it won't be ready for prime time until we get 4x higher res displays. See http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml;?articleID=216500606

    • Larrabee which uses 16+ x86 cores in its own right is far too big to be a core on a PC processor today. However in say five years it might become viable. Thus long term AMD and Nvidia want GPU and x86 cores on a chip while Intel wants only x86 cores--a big strategic difference in the many core future. Watch this space.

    • The ADI experience sounds similar to that of National Semi. Former CEO Halla tried to turn it into a processor company buying Cyrix, but it didn't work and eventually he had to go back to National's roots as an analog company. It made sense for Halla to try to get into higher ASP products, but when the strategy failed, he took a long time letting go of it.

    • Your graphic cuts like a knife into a business practice that has long needed to be examined. Twenty years ago work went to Taiwan and Singpaore. When they got too pricey it moved to Malaysia. When prices went up there it went to India and China. Ten years from now we will be offshoring to Africa. Then what? When will this industry think about building a sustianable and fair model? I suspect about the time the ocean waters are rising in New York and San Francisco and we start thinking we better take action on that global warming thing, too. Until then, hey we are helping other countries raise their standard of living. It's just good business.

    • A transcript of today's oral arguments at the Supreme Court in this case should appear soon at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts.html I will try to file a story as soon as something pops.

    • There are many, many issues around patents today. The main one the Bilski cases raises is whether there needs to be some physical implementation of a concept to make it patentable. Thoughts?