Apple’s Billions and Billions

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article examining what it refers to as the upcoming “war” between computer chip manufacturers. It’s an interesting read if you’re desperately into that sort of thing, but what’s most compelling is the assertion that Apple (s aapl) probably invested at least a billion dollars in the iPad’s custom silicon.

As we reported here, Apple bought chip manufacturer P.A. Semi back in April 2008 for a cool $278 million, ostensibly to acquire the company’s engineering talent and manufacturing expertise, and, perhaps, the use of its existing facilities to produce its own custom-designed chips. Perhaps this helped save Apple a little money up-front, if the NYT’s is correct about the development costs of the chips alone;

Even without the direct investment of a factory, it can cost […] about $1 billion to create a smartphone chip from scratch.

Does this mean Apple saved a cool seven hundred million dollars when it bought P.A. Semi? If you’re a company with almost forty billion dollars in the bank, finding the ready cash to develop your own groundbreaking processor doesn’t seem quite such a mammoth undertaking. And I’ll be the first to admit I’m likely oversimplifying the whole thing, but y’know, that Jobs fellow is a wily old fox… Read More about Apple’s Billions and Billions

Soon to Be Made In China: Electric Vehicle Charge Points

Nearly half of the electric car charging equipment installed worldwide by 2015 will be heading to China, according to a recent report from Pike Research. Today an announcement from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based charging infrastructure company ECOtality indicates that China’s role in the electric car charging boom will encompass not only installing the equipment domestically, but also building it for international deployment. Down the road, when you pull up to a charge point, there’s a good chance it could have been made in China.
ecotality-china-factory
ECOtality, whose subsidiary eTec snagged a nearly $100 million federal stimulus grant last month to support what the company describes as “the largest deployment of EV chargers and vehicles ever” (12,750 charging systems in five states for 5,000 Nissan (s NSANY) LEAF electric vehicles), says this morning that it has formed two joint ventures with China’s Shenzhen Goch Investment, or SGI, in order to manufacture, assemble and sell EV charging equipment in China.
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Would You Strap a Phone to your Thigh for $30?

thiphoneTired of holding that phone when you’re sitting, but have no place to put it down? Yup there’s an app a solution for that. The Thiphone straps a handheld to your thigh, so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot to place your handset. I can see how it frees up your hands in a situation where there’s no flat surface nearby and you still need to see your screen. The Thiphone holds a phone by using a suction cup, so it ought to work with bunches of devices. It also angles your phone so that it’s not flat on your thigh. Actually, leaving it flat might have had another benefit — you could lift your leg to get an ab crunch going. 😉
Even though I run, my thighs are small, so I could probably use a large armband with my phones. That would save me the $29.95 for this accessory. But I’m likely in the minority on that, so if you’ve got thunder thighs and want to put down the phone, hit up the Thiphone store.