Nvidia Acquisition of Arm Faces FTC Probe, Big Tech Critics

As Nvidia moves to close its $40 billion deal to acquire Arm Holdings, tech companies Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm are saying the deal will harm competition and are asking for regulatory intervention. The UK-based Arm, which licenses its chip technology to Amazon, Apple, Huawei Technologies, Intel and Samsung Electronics among others, is known as the Switzerland in the semiconductor industry because it licenses its technology to companies rather than competes with them. Critics fear that Nvidia would change this policy or raise the cost. Continue reading Nvidia Acquisition of Arm Faces FTC Probe, Big Tech Critics

Biden Administration to Review Semiconductor Supply Chain

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order for a 100-day review by the National Economic Council and National Security Council on the manufacturing and packaging of semiconductor chips, with a focus on supply chain blockages that have created shortages. The government review will also examine supply chain issues for other critical goods including minerals, medical supplies and high-capacity batteries. Later this year, supply chain assessments for other critical products will be conducted. Continue reading Biden Administration to Review Semiconductor Supply Chain

Samsung Looking to Launch Chip Manufacturing Plant in U.S.

Samsung Electronics may build an up-to-$17 billion chip manufacturing plant in Arizona, Texas or New York, according to sources, and is reportedly scouting two locations in the Phoenix area, two locations in the Austin vicinity and an industrial campus in New York’s Genesee County. The decision to build in the U.S. hinges on the availability of federal government incentives to balance out cheaper costs and government incentives elsewhere. Samsung’s plant would employ up to 1,900 people and open by October 2022. Continue reading Samsung Looking to Launch Chip Manufacturing Plant in U.S.

CES: Seoul Robotics, Mobileye Enable Lidar for Smart Cities

During the all-digital CES 2021, lidar (light detection and ranging) technology was presented as a key tool for building autonomous vehicles, smart homes and infrastructure for smart cities. Lidar, which senses what an object is based on its shape, first appeared in the 1970s but, up until now, has been too expensive and complicated for broad industrial use. Seoul Robotics, Intel’s Mobileye and Blickfeld were among the companies at CES showcasing real-world lidar applications. Lidar is predicted to triple to an almost $3 billion market by 2025. Continue reading CES: Seoul Robotics, Mobileye Enable Lidar for Smart Cities

CES: Razer and Acer Offer QHD Screens for Gaming Laptops

At the all-digital CES 2021, Razer’s Blade 15 gaming laptop was introduced with the option to add a QHD screen, one of a few manufacturers adding these screens to gaming machines for the first time. Gamers who use desktop computers favor QHD screens for their 1440p resolution, affordable price, multiple features and compatibility with high-end AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. Until now, gamers could opt only for a 1080p or 4K screen (which reduces frame rate to unplayable levels) — or output to a separate 1440p monitor. Continue reading CES: Razer and Acer Offer QHD Screens for Gaming Laptops

CES: Pulitzer Winner Details Megashifts Impacting Our World

Thomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning author and columnist for The New York Times discussed his latest thesis that the world has moved from the Industrial Revolution to a world that is “Fast, Fused and Deep.” During CES 2021, Friedman spoke with Professor Amnon Shashua, president and CEO of Mobileye, the Israeli subsidiary of Intel that develops autonomous and assisted driving AI solutions. Friedman framed the discussion by describing the Industrial Revolution as establishing “Walls” to govern the transfer of trade and human beings, a “Floor” as a social safety net to cushion people, and a “Ceiling” on the pace of change. Continue reading CES: Pulitzer Winner Details Megashifts Impacting Our World

Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

The Wi-Fi Alliance began its Wi-Fi 6E certification program for devices built to transmit signals on the newly launched 6GHz band. Introduced just before CES 2021, the program comes in time to certify next-generation devices that can take advantage of the fastest speeds ever available with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6, which began its rollout in 2019, adds access to the 6GHz band after the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to open it for unlicensed use. Until now, Wi-Fi use has relied on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

Chipmakers Intel, Nvidia Now Compete with Their Customers

Companies such as Intel and Nvidia have long dominated the design and manufacture of semiconductor chips, but they are now facing competition from their own customers. Amazon, Google and Microsoft, all of which have seen strong growth in cloud computing, are looking to create their own chips to ensure better performance and lower costs. Amazon, for example, debuted a chip intended to speed up AI algorithms. Traditional chip manufacturers are creating specialized processors to retain their long-time customers. Continue reading Chipmakers Intel, Nvidia Now Compete with Their Customers

Apple Begins Working on Its Own Cellular Modem for Devices

Apple has begun building its own cellular modem for smartphones, to replace those now purchased from Qualcomm, according to Apple senior vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji. He added that it is one of the few wireless chips that Apple designs, along with the W-series in the Apple Watch and U1 Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip in the iPhone. In addition to reducing costs, moving the modem in-house could eventually lead to cellular connectivity becoming a standard feature for the iPad, Apple Watch and other devices. Continue reading Apple Begins Working on Its Own Cellular Modem for Devices

Chinese Researchers Create Quantum Computing Benchmark

China’s top quantum research group said its Jiuzhang quantum computer produced results in minutes that would take 2+ billion years by the world’s No. 3 powerful supercomputer. That exceeds Google’s prototype quantum computer which, last year, came up with a result in minutes that it estimated would take a supercomputer 10,000 years. The two quantum computers work differently: China’s University of Science and Technology’s computer manipulates photons, whereas Google’s builds quantum circuits via super-cold superconducting metal. Continue reading Chinese Researchers Create Quantum Computing Benchmark

Amazon, Apple Lead Movement to Develop Their Own Chips

Amazon and Apple are abandoning Intel chip technology in favor of their own Arm-based products. Last month, Apple introduced Mac computers with its own chips and, in June, Amazon began marketing a new computing service based on its Arm chips that the company contends is 20 percent cheaper and faster than its Intel-based services. Amazon is also creating the foundation for building its own quantum computer and its cloud computing division is adding products to allow customers greater local control of their data. Continue reading Amazon, Apple Lead Movement to Develop Their Own Chips

The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

Apple unveiled a new M1 microchip, designed in-house, which chief executive Tim Cook said is “by far the most powerful chip that we have ever created.” Aimed at offering faster performance and longer battery life, the company said that the M1 integrated into the new super-thin MacBook Air (priced starting at $999) will run 3.5 times faster than the past generation. Without a fan, the device will run silently. The M1 will also be installed in a 13-inch MacBook Pro, starting at $1,299, and the Mac mini, starting at $699. Continue reading The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

Increasing Demand for 5G Lifts Qualcomm Earnings, Revenue

A major supplier of 5G chips, Qualcomm predicted shipments of 450 million to 550 million 5G smartphones in 2021, a number at least double of what’s expected by the end of this year. Chief executive Steve Mollenkopf revealed that sales of smartphones was a significant part of the company’s latest quarterly earnings. He also noted that Qualcomm is already seeing benefits from Internet of Things devices and networking gear using 5G chips. In addition, Apple’s 5G-enabled iPhone 12 is expected to be a boon for Qualcomm’s modems. Continue reading Increasing Demand for 5G Lifts Qualcomm Earnings, Revenue

AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) agreed to pay $35 billion in stock to acquire Xilinx, which will enable it to diversify into chips for 5G wireless communications and automotive electronics. The company, which has some of the strongest sales in its 51-year history, has traditionally been Intel’s rival for computer chips. With Xilnix, AMD could also provide components for data centers and compete with Nvidia in that space. The all-stock deal is still topped by Nvidia’s plan to purchase UK chipmaker Arm for $40 billion. Continue reading AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

Intel agreed to sell its memory unit to SK Hynix — which makes flash memory components in South Korea — for 10.3 trillion won (about $9 billion). The sale, which includes Intel’s solid-state drive, NAND flash and wafer business and a production facility in the Chinese city of Dalian, will occur in stages through 2025. The deal is expected to improve Hynix’s position in the chip industry, which has boomed after COVID-19, and rids it of one competitor. SK Hynix’s primary rivals are Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology. Continue reading Intel Sells NAND Memory Business to SK Hynix for $9 Billion

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