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July 28, 2014

  • LTE Unlicensed Rocks the Boat (NWR/MCR)
    A controversial proposal to extend LTE into unlicensed spectrum offers performance benefits, but initial coexistence features may not adequately protect Wi-Fi users. 
  • Vitesse Switch Takes Industrial Aim (NWR)
    Vitesse has sampled a new SparX-IV switch with features normally reserved for carrier markets. This product serves what the company says are emerging applications in industrial Ethernet and SMB platforms.
  • ST Sensor Hub Sleeps Soundly (MCR)
    STMicroelectronics' new 32-bit microcontroller combines signal-processing and sensor-hub control functions for applications such as voice-command recognition and multiple-input pedestrian geolocation.
  • Editorial: MHz Isn’t a Number Anymore (MPR)
    In a power-constrained era, frequency is a variable and no longer a simple number. SoC vendors should adapt by providing frequency-versus-power curves for critical components like CPUs and GPUs.

July 21, 2014

  • Intel Customizes Server Processors (MPR)
    New cloud-computing workloads are driving the need for application-specific processors. In response, Intel disclosed a semicustom processor program and a Xeon processor with an integrated FPGA.
  • TI Slashes Sitara Power (MPR)
    Texas Instruments' new Sitara AM437x embedded processors upgrade to ARM's Cortex-A9 and consume much less power than Cortex-A8-based Sitara processors, but some compromises were required.
  • Greyhound Brings 10G to SMB Market (NWR)
    Broadcom has announced a 10G Ethernet switch targeting SMB, embedded, and industrial applications. Greyhound is also the company's first announced 28nm Ethernet switch.

July 14, 2014

  • Mellanox Upgrades Switch to 100Gbps (NWR)
    Mellanox is sampling a 100Gbps upgrade to its SwitchX-2 architecture, which it dubs Switch-IB. The chip is the company’s seventh-generation InfiniBand switch and features 36 EDR ports.
  • ARM and Linaro Boost v8 Design (MCR)
    ARM's new Juno is a hardware/software-development platform for designing application processors that integrate ARMv8 CPUs. It includes a test chip that boots to 64-bit Android or Linux

July 7, 2014

  • LPDDR4 Doubles Power Efficiency (MCR)
    The next generation of mobile memory doubles bandwidth at similar power but requires changes to the system design. Future alternatives include WIO2 and more radical approaches.

June 30, 2014

  • LTE-Advanced Gets CoMPed (NWR/MCR)
    3GPP Release 11 extends LTE with a number of features that emphasize performance and network efficiency, including carrier aggregation and coordinated multipoint (CoMP) transmission.

June 23, 2014

  • MediaTek Targets Every Thing (MPR/MCR)
    The highly integrated MT2502 targets smartwatches that sell for less than $30. MediaTek also rolled out two IoT processors with integrated Wi-Fi: the MT7681 and the MT7688.
  • PLX Touts Unified PCIe Switching (NWR)
    PLX Technology has taped out the first member of a long-promised ExpressFabric family of switch chips intended to unify server, storage, and interconnect domains using PCI Express.
  • Editorial: Bailing Out of Smartphones (MCR)
    Broadcom is the latest processor supplier to exit the market, and Nvidia no longer targets mainstream smartphones. This consolidation leaves only a few vendors fighting for third place.
  • MediaTek Readies for 4K Race (MCR)
    The new quad-core MT8127 and dual-core MT8117 tablet processors are MediaTek’s first devices to implement an H.265 video decoder in hardware.

June 16, 2014

  • Rockchip Steps Up Its Game (MPR/MCR)
    The RK3288 is the first production device to integrate Cortex-A17 CPUs. Rockchip hopes the new application processor will help it move up to high-end tablets.
  • AMD Steamrolls PCs and Embedded (MPR)
    AMD has revamped its notebook and embedded processors using its Steamroller CPU and GCN GPU, which offer significantly greater performance than their predecessors.
  • Synopsys Floats New ARC DSPs (MPR)
    The ARCv2DSP ISA brings more than 100 DSP instructions, complemented by optional hardware accelerators, to the ARC EM series, the tiniest licensable CPUs from Synopsys.

June 9, 2014

  • Compass-EOS Lights Up Routers (NWR)
    Compass-EOS has invented a chip that packs more I/O bandwidth than any other device. Using this chip, it has developed unique routers that are being deployed by Tier One operators.
  • Wireless Charging Resonates (MCR)
    Broadcom has shipped a wireless-power receiver chip for multiple standards, but the battle between the Powermat, Qi, and Rezence standards is just starting to heat up.

June 2, 2014

  • Marvell's Armada Reaches 28nm (MPR/NWR)
    Marvell's new dual-core Armada 385 and single-core Armada 380 are the first Armada-family processors manufactured in 28nm high-k metal-gate (HKMG) technology. Their 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores are the fastest in the Armada 300 series.
  • Andes Adds Configurability (MPR/MCR)
    Like Tensilica and others, Andes now offers its customers the ability to add custom instructions and logic to its licensable CPUs, delivering big performance and power-efficiency improvements.

May 26, 2014

  • Transactional Memory Accelerates (MPR)
    Transactional memory is a promising technique that can greatly improve performance in systems with many CPUs and threads. Initial implementations from IBM and Intel set the stage for broad adoption.
  • CMOS Moves to the RF Front End (MCR)
    By combining devices built in more-analog-friendly CMOS processes with the advanced digital capabilities of mobile processors, engineers are finding ways to reduce costs while increasing the flexibility of mobile devices.
  • XLP Automates Packet Processing (MPR/NWR)
    Offloading the main CPU cores, Broadcom's XLP processors perform fully autonomous packet processing, delivering scalability and wire-rate performance in networking and communications applications.
  • Kinetis Microcontrollers Climb K2 (MPR)
    In the biggest expansion of its microcontroller lineup in four years, Freescale rolled out second-generation Kinetis products that add new features, expand memory capacity, and reduce power.

May 19, 2014

  • Millimeter Wave Seeks Best Home (NWR/MCR)
    Qualcomm's reported $300 million offer to acquire Wilocity underscores the excitement surrounding IEEE 802.11ad. The 60GHz millimeter-wave standard now has applications in serial links and small-cell backhaul, as well as high-throughput wireless LANs.
  • Intel Doubles Down on NFC (MCR)
    Intel continues to expand its mobile-connectivity portfolio, paying $19 million to acquire an NFC design team, products, and technology from Inside Secure, an early leader in that field.

May 12, 2014

  • QuickLogic Powers Down Sensor Hub (MCR)
    QuickLogic's ArcticLink 3 S1 enables low-power monitoring of sensors. The company also supplies the FFEAT development tool for simple conversion of sensor algorithms to its FPGA hardware.
  • Editorial: What's a QorIQ to Do? (MPR)
    Freescale's communications processors have little connection to its microcontroller business. The company could benefit by selling its QorIQ line to another ARM vendor. 
  • Lattice ECP5 Complements SoCs (NWR)
    Lattice has found a market for FPGAs with fewer than 100k lookup tables, befitting its low-density products. The company's ECP5 family complements NPUs, communications processors, and large systems-on-a-chip.
  • Marvell Expands 28nm Prestera DX Line (NWR)
    Marvell has refreshed its line of Ethernet switch chips for SMBs and carrier access with new 28nm models. Most surprisingly, the company added low-end 10G Ethernet switch chips targeting SMBs.

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