Intel rivals gang up to make mobile chips

A host of chip makers, including IBM, have announced a partnership to develop low-power chips for mobile devices, which could challenge Intel's burgeoning presence in the space.

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A host of chip makers, including IBM, have announced a partnership to develop low-power chips for mobile devices, which could challenge Intel's burgeoning presence in the space.

IBM is allying with companies including Samsung and GlobalFoundries, which makes chips for AMD, to develop smaller chips for devices like smartphones and mobile internet devices. IBM wants to enable customers to design more power-efficient chips as the internet and other applications become prevalent on mobile devices.

Shrinking chips to smaller sizes generally reduces power consumption while boosting performance. The companies are partnering for the development of chips using an advanced manufacturing process, which shrinks existing chips by half the size, said Jeff Couture, an IBM spokesman.

The chips will be manufactured using the 28-nanometre process, an improvement from the 45-nanometre process widely used to make chips. The 28-nm process will enable chips to deliver a 40 percent performance improvement and 20 percent reduction in power consumption.

Sample chips will become available in the second half of 2010, but Couture couldn't provide a date when mass production would start. IBM is expected to move to the 32-nm process later this year, and could move to the 28-nm process sometime next year. Other partners in the alliance include Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Infineon Technologies and STMicroelectronics.

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