Chip Tussles for iPod

Apple’s iPod is not only the hottest consumer electronics device, but it is also one of the hottest chip design wins in the business, so much so, it can make or break companies. Portal Player went to the public markets on the strength of its partnership with Apple. The company had a little set-back when it was replaced by Samsung in iPod Nano. (Sigmatel provides chips for iPod shuffle.)

That is why the chip insiders are watching who will get designed into Apple’s next video iPod. The latest company said to be winning is Nvidia, which may get its chips designed at the expense of Broadcom Corp.

“Based on our analysis, we believe Nvidia is designed into the next-generation vPod socket at the expense of Broadcom,” Satya Chillara, an analyst with American Technology Research Inc. writes in a recent note. “We believe the Nvidia chip adds 3D graphics functionality in addition to all of the existing features (such as H.264) that Broadcom supported with the existing vPod.”