Smart Meter System On a Chip: The Pros and Cons

Smart meters, smart thermostats, smart appliances and other smart grid devices have lots and lots of chips in them. Putting all those functions together in one system-on-a-chip can save lots of money and time spent on integration — if they give device makers the right combo.

Technology Vendors Go to Hollywood

Comparison_Raising_American_Flag_largeIt seems technology vendors just love the movies. Nvidia (s nvda) today said its graphics chips played a role in compiling and restoring footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing — a feat of image processing. Also today, Analog Devices (s adi), a maker of micro electromechanical machines (MEMs),  said its accelerometers and gyroscopes would be used in motion capture suits for the final “Harry Potter” movie. And last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a story touting the use of graphics processors in the most recent “Harry Potter” movie. Many blockbuster movies combine two elements the computer industry loves — a need for processing power and a way to show off what the latest sliver of silicon can do. Read More about Technology Vendors Go to Hollywood

As TI Dumps Wireless, Mind the Gap

[qi:gigaom_icon_chip] Texas Instruments (s txn) last year said it would exit the wireless baseband business (it will still make custom radios for clients, but will dump its catalog of wireless baseband chips), and today the Wall Street Journal notes the effect this is likely to have on TI’s earnings. The consensus is that with TI dumping radios and betting on applications processors and analog semiconductors, baseband revenue will fall faster than its new core lines of business can grow — leading to a potential gap in revenue and profits. Wireless baseband chips currently make up about a fifth of TI’s 2008 revenue.

These chips are rapidly becoming a commodity, and so it makes sense to cede the market to larger players like Qualcomm (s qcom) and MediaTek, but TI is still placing a huge bet that it can make up the lost revenue on sales of its applications processors, analog chips and digital signal processors. Read More about As TI Dumps Wireless, Mind the Gap

MEMS the Word

Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, have been around for a while, measuring everything from the air pressure in tires to the moisture in clothes dryers. But each new innovation leads to the possibility of selling millions of chips into popular consumer devices — and when it comes to applications or innovations, the market is wide open.