BARCELONA, Spain--One of the more jaw-dropping tech demos on view at this year's Mobile World Congress, new touch-screen technology from chipmaker STMicroelectronics lets you control your smartphone or tablet without actually touching the display.
Using it, you can swipe, drag, and prod at your touch-screen device, replacing the fear of fingerprints with the feeling of controlling a spaceship's navigation system.
There's nothing special about the touch screen itself, but rather about the controller chip that manages the panel. Rather than monitoring contact with the screen, the chip observes the electrical field that the tablet's touch screen … Read more
Hybrids with start/stop engines may be better for the environment, as the engine stops at intersections instead of remaining at an idle. But the feature can cause unwanted interruptions with in-car entertainment systems. STMicroelectronics is working on a line of chips that will allow stereo systems to continue to run.
STMicroelectronics just introduced the TDA7850LV, a 4x50W audio power amplifier. According to the company, this is the first start/stop-compatible IC to be produced on a mass scale.
Onboard electrical equipment can fall to as low as 6V when the engine is turned off in start/stop vehicles because … Read more
Globalfoundries, the manufacturing concern spun off from Advanced Micro Devices, plans to announce Wednesday that it has signed up STMicroelectronics--its first true outside customer.
Globalfoundries was created last year in order to eliminate the crippling overhead that AMD was incurring to manufacture its processors. Globalfoundries now conducts business as a contract chip manufacturer, commonly referred to as a foundry.
AMD owns 34.2 percent of the company, while Advanced Technology Investment Co. owns the rest. ATIC is an investment company wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates.
Last week, Globalfoundries broke … Read more
The iPhone, of course, is more than the sum of its parts, but the cost of individual components adds up--to $178.96, to be exact.
A new analysis by iSuppli details the cost of the iPhone 3GS and the motley collection of chips inside.
The entry-level (16GB) version of the iPhone 3GS carries a BOM (bill of materials) cost of $172.46 and a manufacturing expense of $6.50, for a total of $178.96, said Andrew Rassweiler, director and principal analyst, teardown services, for iSuppli, in a statement.
Service providers are paying more for the low-end iPhone 3G S than the original iPhone 3G, according to Rassweiler. "Although the retail price of the 16GB iPhone 3GS is $199, the same as for the 8GB version of the original iPhone 3G, the actual price of the phone paid by the service provider is considerably higher, reflecting the common wireless industry practice of subsidizing the upfront cost of a mobile phone and then making a profit on subscriptions," he said.
And what are the major cost drivers? The 16GB flash memory chip is the priciest at $24--and reflects the rising cost of flash chips due to supply constraints, according to iSuppli. This part is also available from Samsung. So there could be some second-sourcing (sourcing the part from a second chip supplier) in the future.
The next rung in the cost ladder is the 3.5-inch display module and touch-screen assembly, at $19.95 and $16, respectively.
Below this, is the main Samsung applications processor. Priced at $14.46, it is the fourth most costly component in the iPhone 3GS.… Read more
IBM, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, and others are teaming up on the development of next-generation chip technology for small, low-power devices with one wary eye on Intel, which is expediting its move to chips with smaller geometries.
IBM and its semiconductor technology alliance partners are announcing the availability of 28-nanometer (nm) chip technology, a little more than a generation beyond the 45nm technologies currently used by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices in their latest chips.
The first products using chips based on this technology are expected in the second half of 2010, an IBM spokesman said. Devices will include smartphones and … Read more
It's been a long haul for phase change memory, but the goal is in sight.
Numonyx, the memory joint venture between STMicroelectronics and Intel, is already shipping samples of phase change memory (PCM) chips to customers and will start shipping PCM chips commercially later this year, CEO Brian Harrison said at a press conference Monday.
"We expect to bring it to market this year and generate some revenue," Harrison said. "It is one to two years before it becomes widely commercially available."
Hearing a CEO talk about existing samples and near-term commercial shipments is a … Read more
The offspring of Intel and STMicroelectronics, Numonyx, is ready to open its doors amid a volatile market for its flash-memory chips.
Numonyx is the combination of Intel's NOR flash memory business and STMicro's NAND business, which will make it the largest provider of NOR flash memory in the world and the largest flash supplier to the mobile phone market, said Brian Harrison, the former head of Intel's flash memory group and the new CEO of Numonyx. "We have a very broad product line that's not typical of a start-up company by any means," he … Read more
AMD is doing something Intel can't do: compete in the massive mobile phone market. AMD processors and mobile graphics technology were disclosed at the 2008 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.
The Imageon A250 applications processor is used for video recording/playback and photo imaging, among other applications, and can be programmed for multimedia and high-level graphics, referred to as vector graphics.
The Imageon D160 mobile TV solution is a hardware and software package that allows mobile phone makers to receive over-the-air broadcast TV signals in a USB-powered device. The chipmaker also introduced the Imageon M210 audio processor … Read more
Intel and ST Microelectronics have come up with a way to put multiple bits of data in a single memory cell in phase change memory, a breakthrough that effectively doubles the technology's density.
Now if they could only get the stuff to market.
Phase change memory is a type of memory made out of materials similar to those used to make CDs and DVDs. A tiny laser rapidly heats up a small bit, and in the process transforms the structure of the bit from crystalline to amorphous. Reversing the process can change the bit from having an amorphous character … Read more