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Major semiconductor foundry TSMC is glad to report today that all prior issues regarding chips built on a 40nm process have now been resolved and yield rates are far improved. Mark Liu who is the senior VP of Operations has stated that the quality of its 40 nm node production is now almost as fine as its 65 nm one.
As TSMC is the supplier for both NVIDIA and AMD's graphics cards, this is certainly good news with AMD having been using 40 nm GPUs since its pre-gen HD 4770 and NVIDIA set to release its first billion transistor 40nm GPU in the GF100 towards the end of this quarter.
Further to the above good news, TSMC has also just finished construction of another new factory situated at the Hsinchu Science Park (HSP) in Taiwan; this a part of the company's Fab 12. The new factory is for the purposes of 28 nm volume production by as early as Q3 of this year.
The global economy is down, but it is starting to pick back up. Computer sales increased this holiday season and spending is expected to pick up significantly in 2010 for the computer market and technology in general.
Intel has announced its Q4 2009 quarterly net revenue and the company did very well. Intel posted Q4 revenue of $10.6 billion with an operating income of $2.5 billion and a net income of $2.3 billion. Earnings per share were 40 cents.
For all of 2009, Intel posted revenue of $35.1 billion and a full year operating income of $5.7 billion with net income of $4.4 billion. Intel made a large portion of its yearly income in the last quarter of the year.
The rumors of that Apple tablet continue to make their rounds. The latest rumor has the tablet set to hit the market in the March or April time frame.
According the latest scuttlebutt, the need to make the 10.1-inch screen of the tablet stronger is what forced the tablet to be delayed to a Q1 launch. DigiTimes reports that Innolux will be the screen supplier for the tablet, at least for the initial shipments.
Later devices will reportedly have screens made by Wintek. Foxconn subsidiary G-Tech Optoelectronics is providing a glass strengthening process for the device and Foxconn will provide assembly of the tablet.
This past week rumors have been circulating around the good ole Internet that DFI is quitting the enthuaist and retail motherboard business.
We have heard plenty of rumors on the story that both claim that DFI is quitting and ones saying that DFI isn't quitting the business. I'll put it out in the open that we had it from a reliable source last night over an IM chat that DFI is indeed quitting from January 2010, but is trying to kills the rumors as it still wants to sell the rest of its stock and use the parts its ordered from the likes of Intel and Foxconn.
To be honest, I don't know what to believe. However, we just received an email from Alex Cheng at DFI reiterating that no such decision has been made for DFI to quit the business. Here is what we got from Alex:
We are surprised to hear the rumor, although it's not the first time to see the news. We never heard such decision and were told to do so. Besides, RD still keeps developing new products and releasing new BIOS. Our recent product plans are as follows:
1. Releasing BIOS for X58 to support Intel 6-core 32 nm processor, code-named Gulftown.
2. Promoting and developing Hybrid system and technology.
3. After launching MI P55-T36, we are planning and developing more MI products.
4. For high end market, our product design of AMD 890 was just rendered to AMD for review.
From these plans, it is clear to tell that DFI LANParty is still developing and preparing more innovative products in the market. Such rumors should be just ignored.
We will have to wait and see what happens. These rumors have floated around about DFI in the past and they didn't turn out true. I visited the DFI HQ here in Taipei only a little while ago to get an exclusive look at its Hybrid motherboard (P45 + ION - Two Systems, One Mobo) and things looked pretty active around the office to me, not like a business unit that was about to be shut down. Things change, though...
More to come as the story develops!
Even when the economy was at its worst, sales of some mobile devices were still very robust. Smartphones and netbooks continued to sell very well despite the economy. Research firm ABI Research has released a new report that claims mobile device shipments will almost double by 2015.
ABI reports that 1.2 billion mobile devices will ship this year in all categories of wireless devices from mobile phones to netbooks, and other consumer electronic devices. By 2014, the shipments of these devices will have almost doubled to 2.25 billion.
Cellular modems are expected to grow at a rate of 40% annually and ultra mobile devices will grow at 67%. "The next five years will see a shift in the breakdown between types of mobile devices shipped," comments industry analyst Michael Morgan. "Today, wireless handsets rule the roost, with other mobile devices accounting for only 40 million shipments and cellular modems only 60 million. While handset shipments did actually decrease between 2008 and 2009 due to the global recession, the other two segments in fact grew very aggressively.
If you have a gadget hound or avid reader on your Christmas list that you haven't bought for yet, it's not too late to get them something really cool. Amazon has announced that the Kindle is still available and now has free shipping.
The free shipping is two-day priority and will get the Kindle to your door in time for Christmas as long as you order by December 22. Amazon also says that the Kindle has broken another monthly sales record.
Personally, I wish Amazon would just keep that to themselves. If they won't say home many devices they are actually selling, telling us it broke a record is irrelevant. I just don't understand the secrecy and think if it were selling in huge volumes, they would want to brag.
The poor economy has put the computer industry in quite a bad place over the last year or so. Many of the quarters in 2009 had some of the lowest sales levels in years. Over the last few months, the industry has started to turn a corner.
IDC reports that the computer industry is set to return to growth and is predicting in 2010 that portable computers will grow 18.1%. In Q3 2009 the industry grew 2.3% after three quarters of decline. Portable systems grew the most with a 33.5% gain from the same quarter of 2008.
The netbook market grew the most increasing to 28% of the consumer portable market from 14% the previous year. Net growth for 2009 is predicted to be 1.3%.
So the winners of the Intel Custom Desktop Challenge have been announced. The competition was open to modders around the world from October 5th to December 14th. Each contestant was required to build either a Core i7 or Core i5 system. This idea behind this was to show the range of possibilities open with the new Intel CPUs.
The overall winner was one called "Duck" it looks like a Liquid Nitrogen cooled system with a rather overabundance of high gloss red paint. Still this was a very interesting entry. PCGames hardware has a nice gallery of some of the top builds. My favorites are; "The World's End" and "Project COOL"
eBook readers are huge right now with an unprecedented demand for them this holiday season meaning that many of the new devices are unavailable. As eBook adoption grows, the demand for more content is growing as well.
Borders has announced that it is investing in Kobo, an eBook store, and will be investing in a new eReader. The eBook service will be built into the Borders.com website starting in 2010.
So far, Kobo plans to offer about 1.8 million books from the Internet that are available free. It will also have 200,000 other books starting at $9.99 each. What the eReader itself will look like is unknown, but Borders said that it hopes to reach the reader who only buys a few books each year. The device would have to be cheap to do that.
As you might have expected; Intel has just released their comments on the suit filed against them by the FTC. Intel claims that this suit will cost the tax-payers money and that the FTC failed to work with Intel towards a settlement.
"Intel has competed fairly and lawfully. Its actions have benefitted consumers. The highly competitive microprocessor industry, of which Intel is a key part, has kept innovation robust and prices declining at a faster rate than any other industry. The FTC's case is misguided. It is based largely on claims that the FTC added at the last minute and has not investigated. In addition, it is explicitly not based on existing law but is instead intended to make new rules for regulating business conduct. These new rules would harm consumers by reducing innovation and raising prices."
Intel senior vice president and general counsel Doug Melamed added, "This case could have, and should have, been settled. Settlement talks had progressed very far but stalled when the FTC insisted on unprecedented remedies - including the restrictions on lawful price competition and enforcement of intellectual property rights set forth in the complaint -- that would make it impossible for Intel to conduct business."
"The FTC's rush to file this case will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to litigate issues that the FTC has not fully investigated. It is the normal practice of antitrust enforcement agencies to investigate the facts before filing suit. The Commission did not do that in this case," said Melamed.
The suit also comes on the heels of Intel's announcement to invest $7 billion dollars in their US manufacturing operations earlier this year.