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UMC joins IBM chip alliance for 10 nm process development

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and United Microelectronics Corporation (NYSE: UMC; TWSE: 2303) ("UMC"), a leading global semiconductor foundry, today announced that UMC will join the IBM Technology Development Alliances as a participant in the group's development of 10nm CMOS process technology.

"Established over a decade ago, the IBM alliance allows the partners to leverage our combined expertise and collaborative research and innovative technology development to address the demanding needs for advanced semiconductor applications," said Gary Patton, VP, IBM Semiconductor Research & Development. "UMC is a strong addition to the alliance."

DLNA, HomePlug, MoCA and Wi-Fi Alliance Present Connected Living at 2013 CES

The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), HomePlug Alliance, Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) and Wi-Fi Alliance will together promote and demonstrate the connected home during 2013 International CES, January 8 – 11. Demonstrations in South Hall 1, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth 20300 will showcase how these technology standards from the four alliances create the ultimate connected home experience.

The market is experiencing exponential growth in the demand for connected home devices and applications. Trends toward ultra-high-speed broadband access, pay TV, and OTT services and device-to-device connectivity are changing the way consumers play, watch and listen to media. This evolution, combined with an influx of digital devices in every room, is expanding the scope and requirements of the connected home. As the connected home environment continues to evolve and expand, DLNA, HomePlug, MoCA and Wi-Fi Alliance, combined with their more than 650 member companies, play a crucial role in delivering a seamless and rich experience.

Leading Technology Companies Form Cyber Security Research Alliance

Today, leading technology companies announced the creation of the Cyber Security Research Alliance (CSRA). The CSRA is a private, non-profit research consortium formed in response to the growing need for increased public-private collaboration to address complex problems in cyber security. The founding members of the CSRI are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Honeywell, Intel Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and RSA/EMC.

President Obama has prioritized cyber threats as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation and a dependency to America's economic prosperity in the 21st century.

CSRA seeks to achieve coordinated industry participation to address national cyber security research and development (R&D) imperatives and bridge the gap between government funded R&D and commercially available products and solutions in cyber security. CSRA will focus on challenges that are bigger than any one company, consortium, sector or nation and ensure that government, industry and academia collaborate on in-depth problem understanding and definition.

AMD Appoints Jack Harding to Board of Directors

AMD announced today that Jack Harding has been appointed to the company’s board of directors. Harding currently serves as president and chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of eSilicon Corporation, a privately-held semiconductor design and manufacturing services provider he co-founded. eSilicon designs and manufactures complex, custom chips for a broad and growing portfolio of large and small firms. Harding brings more than 25 years of management experience in the semiconductor industry to the board, especially in the area of ASIC and system on a chip (SoC) design, productization and manufacturing.

“Jack’s wealth of industry experience and familiarity with evolving industry trends make him a perfect choice to join the AMD board,” said Bruce Claflin, chairman, AMD Board of Directors. “As AMD establishes itself as a more nimble, flexible semiconductor design innovator, Jack’s operational experience, strategic expertise and business acumen for bringing SoC and custom integrated circuit solutions to market should add tremendous value for AMD’s future business.”

Easy-To-Use Wi-Fi An Essential Offering For Service Providers

Seamless connection to Wi-Fi on the go is the overwhelming preference of smartphone and tablet users, according to a new survey released today by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Ninety percent of those polled said they would likely stick with their current service provider if it offered the ability to connect automatically in Wi-Fi hotspots, and 72 percent said they would pay more for it. Seventy percent said they would switch providers if necessary to access this type of offering.

Conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the Wi-Fi Alliance, the poll results indicate that easy-to-use Wi-Fi can drive loyalty and impact service providers' bottom line. It comes at a time when providers worldwide rely on Wi-Fi to ease exploding data demand on their networks, and consumers gravitate to it to stay connected. A new certification program from the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint, is poised to transform Wi-Fi into a true extension of service provider networks.

Global Technology Power Players Unite to Form Alliance for Wireless Power

Wireless technology leaders Samsung and Qualcomm Incorporated have joined other technology leaders to form the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), it was announced today.

The independently operated organization's mission is to promote global standardization of a wireless power transfer technology that offers spatial freedom, to develop product testing, certification and regulatory compliance processes, and to foster industry dialogue with regulators on wireless power policy development. The alliance is targeting a broad base of consumer electronic devices to establish a worldwide wireless power technology ecosystem.

Spansion and SK Hynix Announce Strategic NAND Alliance

Spansion Inc. and SK Hynix today announced an alliance to deliver Spansion SLC NAND products at the 4x, 3x, and 2x nodes to the embedded market. The first Spansion SLC NAND products resulting from this alliance will be available beginning in the second quarter of 2012. As part of the relationship, the companies will enter into a patent cross-licensing agreement.

Spansion's NAND products complement its NOR offering and complete its product line, which is targeted at embedded applications such as automotive, industrial and telecommunications. Spansion's high performance and high reliability SLC NAND product portfolio will come with Spansion's recognized customer support and commitment for longevity of supply, which is highly valued in the embedded market, where Spansion has established relationships. Spansion will apply its stringent process for qualification, testing, extended temperature support and packaging to its NAND products. The company plans to introduce a family of NAND products over the next few quarters.

Report: PC Gaming On The Rise

This may not be a surprise to the PC enthusiast community but, the PC gaming market has never been healthier, according to a report from the not-for-profit consortium PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA). The report claims that in 2011, the industry reached a global record $18.6 billion, a growth of 15 percent over the prior year. The report cites burgeoning foreign markets and social games as large factors in the findings. The results of the PCGA's third annual "Horizons" research report found that China is growing at almost twice the rate of the global market, bringing in $6 billion for a total growth of 27 percent. The US, UK, Korea, Japan, and Germany saw increased revenue of 11%, by comparison. Asian companies, in general, are noted for spurring on sales in their markets.

The report also cites Zynga and Nexon (of MapleStory fame) as frontrunners in the PC space. Zynga in particular doubled its revenue to roughly $1.1 billion, putting it on-par with Nexon. Zynga and the German company Bigpoint were noted for pushing the free-to-play model, already popular in Asian territories, into North America and Europe. The report also notes the movers and shakers of big-budget PC games from the western market, like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Rift, along with multiplatform titles like Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Looking forward, the report speculates that the industry will grow to $25.5 billion (37 percent increase) by 2015, thanks to increased broadband penetration and digital delivery. The report is from a PC gaming coalition with a vested interest in trumpeting the industry's health, but even so, the rumors of PC's death have greatly exaggerated.Source: Shacknews

WiFi Alliance Working on Passpoint Technology; FON Providers, Rejoice

In many markets, people and businesses with WiFi hotspots have began monetizing their idle internet bandwidth by sharing it with others via middleman service providers such as FON. While the business model itself is a solid one where everyone wins, it is faced with technical hurdles. Unlike cellular ISPs that use 3G HSDPA technologies, where the size of a "cell" is much larger than the coverage area of a WiFi hotspot, and where moving between cells is seamless, with close to no drops in connectivity (providing there are no dead-zones between the cells), WiFi hotspots have the issue of logging out of one hotspot before logging into another.

This issue makes moving between multiple FON hotspots result in temporary connectivity loss, which can be unacceptable in some situations (such as downloading something important when moving in a bus). No less than the WiFi Alliance is taking interest in eliminating this technical hurdle, by working on what's known as "Passpoint". Simply put, WiFi Passpoint technology lets clients move between physical hotspots without renegotiation (security and DHCP), making the movement seamless, and resulting in little or no connectivity loss, again, provided there's no dead-zone between the coverage areas of the hotspots users are switching between. A novel concept, which will improve wireless internet service.Source: ComputerWorld

Intel and Cavium make WiDi Deal

Cavium, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM), a leading provider of semiconductor products that enable intelligent processing for networking, communications, and digital home applications, today announced a technology and marketing collaboration with Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) to offer Intel(R) WiDi-based products designed to enable superior wireless display consumer experience. The resulting end-to-end solution will combine Intel(R) WiDi's ease-of-use and innovation with Cavium's super low latency technology and advanced video processing techniques to further enhance Intel(R) WiDi's interactivity and broaden its target applications. As a part of the marketing collaboration, Intel and Cavium will work together to expand and grow the market for wireless display products. A range of OEMs will soon be offering Intel(R) WiDi compatible receivers with Cavium's PureVu(TM) media SoC. Live demonstrations of Cavium's new Intel(R) WiDi receivers are available at Cavium's suite at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, between Jan 10th and 13th.

Sony and Samsung Shift to New LCD Panel Business Alliance

Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (“Samsung”) today announced that the two companies have signed agreements to transition the current business relationship with respect to LCD panels.

Under the agreement, Samsung will acquire all of Sony's shares of S-LCD Corporation (“S-LCD”), the two companies' LCD panel manufacturing joint venture, making S-LCD a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung. In consideration for the share transfer, cash consideration of approximately KRW 1.08 trillion* will be paid to Sony by Samsung. Concurrently, the two companies have entered into a new strategic agreement for the supply and purchase of LCD panels with a goal of enhancing the competitiveness of both companies. The agreement also allows Sony and Samsung to continue cooperative engineering efforts focused on LCD panel technology.

R&D: TDK Uses Lasers To Double Hard Disc Capacity, Helping Save HDs From Extinction

Here’s a development that will bring joy to those that prefer to hear mechanical noises from their hard discs instead of the inky silence of the new solid state drives. The current perpendicular magnetic recording technology used in today’s hard discs are due to hit a brick wall within a couple of generations or so. This will finally give SSDs the chance to make mechanical drives obsolete once and for all when their capacities increase and the prices drop. To get around this, TDK intend to use lasers coupled with a high coercivity material to achieve this capacity improvement. The coercivity value of a material is a measure of how difficult it is to magnetize ie how strong the magnetizing field needs to be. A material with low coercivity, is easy to magnetize, but it can also lose its magnetic imprint (north and south domains) easily, especially with densely packed data and is easy to erase with stray magnetic fields and to some extent, physical shock. Conversely a material with a high coercivity value can be damned hard to magnetize, but will keep its magnetic imprint much more stably and crucially for data storage, can retain much smaller magnetic domains, giving rise to greatly increased storage capacity for all that ever increasing avalanche of crucial data, such as music files, dodgy videos and humungous video game installs.

HP and Microsoft Expand Alliance in Unified Communications and Collaboration

At Interop Las Vegas 2009, HP and Microsoft today announced a four-year strategic global initiative to deliver an end-to-end unified communications and collaboration solution.

As part of their Frontline Partnership, the two companies expect to invest up to an additional $180 million in product development, professional services, as well as joint sales and marketing, to help organizations lower costs and improve productivity.

The solution, which is planned to span software, hardware, networking and services, would enable customers to improve business output and reduce travel, telecom and IT operating costs. This would be accomplished by streamlining communications across messaging, video and voice with connected applications and devices. HP and Microsoft also plan to provide the flexibility and control customers need to manage their communications infrastructure efficiently.
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