TSMC reportedly getting mobile chip tryout with Apple

Reports about Apple and TSMC striking a contract for mobile chip production have floated around since summer. In October, supply chain analysts in Asia said Apple was moving to TSMC. Now, reports peg the Taiwanese chipmaker with a first-quarter 2013 production trial for the A6X.

Chip wars: LG’s own silicon could debut in January

“Selling finished goods with good pricing is an old strategy.”

Korea Times has inside word that LG will show off its own ARM-based chip(s armh) at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. The first such chip is anticipated for web-based television sets and future chips could be used for LG smartphones and tablets. LG reportedly has 550 engineers working chip designs for mobile devices. Engadget notes that TSMC(s tsm) is reportedly making the chips for LG; good for the chip-maker, which could also make Apple’s mobile chips soon.

LG has long been a licensee of ARM chips and last year re-affirmed its use of such silicon with licenses for the latest ARM designs. Of particular note is a license for the Cortex-A15 design, which is just now rolling out: The next generation system-on-a-chip is used by Samsung for its $249 Chromebook.

apple-a5-featureWhy design chips and have someone else build them? It’s too much of an investment to build your own chip fabrication plant for starters. And by customizing a base ARM design, companies can create silicon that’s optimized for specific product features. Apple and Samsung both do this today and even HTC has gotten a little “chippy,” designing its ImageSense digital processing solution for its smartphone cameras.

While these custom chips are kept to in-house products for Apple(s aapl) and HTC, Samsung is generating revenue through sales of its chips; something that LG may smartly be considering in the future.

GE’s grand solar plan: A 400 MW factory in Colorado

General Electric has been plotting a solar empire for several years now, and it has settled on a place for the crown jewel of the plan: a 400 MW factory in Colorado to produce solar panels and compete with the likes of First Solar.

As Solyndra falls, Stion scales up

Silicon Valley solar thin-film startup, Stion, on Friday officially opened the door of its factory in Mississippi, marking a milestone for the company as it seeks to expand production quickly in an increasingly competitive market.

Report: iPad 3-powering A6 won’t be ready until next year

Those hoping for iPad lightning to strike twice this year might be disappointed by a new report out Friday. The A6 processor, cited as the central component for a new, more powerful iPad won’t hit the public until next year, sources say.

Could Apple divorce Samsung for iPhone chips?

Apple may rely less on Samsung as an iOS hardware partner, as TSMC is reportedly testing new chips it’s building for future Apple mobile products. This could be due to the current lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, but even if not, it simply makes sense.

Ditch Solar Manufacturing, Look to Software, Services

Where can solar startups find opportunities when their playground is increasingly dominated by giants from other industries? That’s a question that some Silicon Valley solar company executives and investors have pondered for some time now. The answers are software and services.