Monday, February 22, 2010

Chipmakers to Battle in the Smartphone Market

The next big battle in the semiconductor industry, as described by an article 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.

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