in The New York Times today, is over chips for the coming generations of hand-held mobile devices. As the article aptly begins, "The semiconductor industry has long been a game for titans." The going rate for a state-of-the art chip fabrication factory is about $3 billion. The plants typically take years to build and the microscopic size of chip circuitry makes for challenging engineering in order to keep up with Moore's Law.
The next phase of chip wars will focus on smartphones along with tablet and notebook sized devices. Intel, which until now has had a very small presence in the smartphone market, is joining the fray. The current market leader is ARM Holdings. Global Foundries, a spinoff of Advanced Micro Devices, this year plans to start making chips at one of the most advanced factories ever built in Dresden, Germany. Global Foundries has been helped by close to $10 billion in current and promised investments from the government of Abu Dhabi.
Other competitors in this industry include Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, United Microelectronics and, of course, Samsung Electronics.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The Eurasia Review and other sources are reporting, not surprisingly, that the North Korean government is again attempting to crack down on the use of Chinese cell phone services. One recent defector from North Korea reported that the North Korean authorities were jamming cell phone signals and that it was practically impossible to make a call. He said that "you can switch phone cards and the call appears to go through, but nobody in North Korea picks up." North Korea also appears to have made overseas purchases of expensive cell phone tracking and jamming equipment which it has installed at various locations in Shinuiju, Hyesan, and Hweryong in the border area near China, according to North Koreans living in border areas as well as those in South Korea.