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Texas Instruments exits consumer phones, lays off 1,700

Texas Instruments is officially getting out of the consumer smartphone business, as major phone suppliers like Apple turn to internal chip designs.

"TI...will reduce costs and focus investments in its wireless business on embedded markets with greater potential for sustainable growth. Cost reductions include the elimination of about 1,700 jobs worldwide," TI said in a statement today.

While TI didn't mention any names, one of the most telling statements alluded to companies that are now designing their own chips. That would include Apple, which designs processors for its iPhone.

"Large customers are increasingly developing … Read more

Microsoft to take on Apple with own Windows 8 tablet?

Microsoft will announce its own tablet next week at an event in Los Angeles, according to reports, taking a page from Apple's playbook.

If true, this is not the typical Microsoft business model; usually it leaves device announcements to device makers. The PC industry is the classic example of this.

And, so far, that has been the case for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Companies like Acer and Asus demonstrated Windows 8 tablets and hybrids at Computex last week, for instance.

But a report at The Wrap and another at AllThingsD say Microsoft has other plans.

Microsoft reportedly … Read more

A quad-core iPad 3? Not so fast

Will Apple's next iPad reach performance nirvana with a monster quad-core chip? Nirvana, maybe, but not necessarily via quad-core.

But let's put aside whether Apple's latest chip will be quad-core for a minute and look at what others are doing. (See a post at The Verge on this topic too.)

One of the leading lights among ARM processor suppliers is Texas Instruments. They've made it clear that they're not going quad-core this year and not even next year (necessarily) with their first next-gen OMAP5 chips.

In a CES demo, TI showed off the next-gen OMAP5 … Read more

TI offers rare demo of Windows 8 Explorer on newest ARM chip

LAS VEGAS--Texas Instruments is offering one of the most revealing demos of Windows 8 on ARM yet at CES.

That's not saying a lot, though, as demos of Microsoft's next operating system on ARM processors have been extremely restrictive, if nonexistent to date in public (Nvidia's untouchable, relatively static CES demo is behind closed glass). But TI pushed the boundaries a bit in a demo for CNET at CES.

The demo tapped TI's freshly minted OMAP4470 ARM processor, according to Bill Crean, an OMAP product marketing manager.

Needless to say, I was not permitted to take … Read more

TI whips out latest ARM chip for Windows 8 tablet

LAS VEGAS--Texas Instruments is showing its latest and greatest ARM processor inside a Windows 8 tablet at CES this week.

TI's OMAP4470, the latest version of its dual-core chip now inside Android tablets, will be shown running on a pre-release version of a Windows 8 tablet, the chipmaker said today.

"The OMAP4470 processor's...powerful multitasking capabilities prove the ideal match for Windows 8 key features including a fast & fluid touch-first user interface," TI said in a statement.

TI ARM chips are being used today in high-profile Android tablets such Motorola's XyBoard and Toshiba's ultra-skinny Excite X10. The 4470 is a performance upgrade of the 4460.

"The company calls it the OMAP 4470, but it is more than just a faster speed grade of the OMAP 4460; the new design includes significant graphics and memory improvements as well," mobile chip analyst Linley Gwennap wrote in a blog last year. … Read more

Amazon Kindle lights Fire under Android, RIM

The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire is expected to put pricing heat on tablet market. And it's not just the iPad that will feel the pressure, according to an analyst and a cost analysis report today.

"It establishes a new price point for the low to mid-range tablet. Apple will likely have to respond," Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, said in a phone interview.

A report today from UMB TechInsights says Amazon will make a profit on hardware sales of its Kindle Fire "but probably only a third to a quarter as much as the Apple iPad and [BlackBerry] Playbook," according to estimates from TechInsights that show the Kindle Fire's bill of materials at $150.

That kind of profit margin loss-leader stance "can be viewed as a major blow to all Android tablet manufacturers who really have no way to compete since the channel mark-up would require [that] companies put their tablets at or below cost to beat the Kindle Fire price--and they still all lack the content that the Amazon storefront has," according to the report, citing Jeffrey Brown, vice president of business intelligence at TechInsights. … Read more

Archos G9 tablets offer high storage at low prices

Editors' note: This post was updated with new pricing information.

Last month we briefly covered Archos' two new tablets, and now the company has seen fit to provide us with more details. Some of them are quite juicy.

Today, Archos officially announced its new Honeycomb 3.1-based tablets, the Archos G9 series. The G9 series will come in both 8-inch and 10.1-inch sizes, named simply the 80 G9 and 101 G9, respectively. Rather than designing yet another cookie-cutter Honeycomb tablet, though, Archos has decided to change things up a bit.

The company forgoes the obligatory inclusion of the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU and has instead included the Ice Cream Sandwich-approved 1.5GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor. According to Archos, the OMAP 4 reduces Web browsing speed over the 1GHz Tegra 2 by up to 50 percent.

Each tablet will also come stocked with 250GB of storage via a built-in 250GB HDD from Seagate. The 8-inch G9 has a 4:3 aspect ratio screen at 1,024x768-pixel resolution, while the larger 10.1-incher provides a full 16:10 1,280x800-pixel screen.

Archos boasts that its tablets will be the only ones on the market able to decode 1080p H264 High Profile videos, and I for one can't wait to get review units to put that claim to the test. … Read more

250GB Android tablet coming--interested?

Here's something you can't get with an iPad: 250GB of internal storage. Archos' upcoming Android "Honeycomb" 3.2 tablet will pack a 250GB hard disk drive that's been tweaked to perform more like a flash drive.

The Archos G9 will sport a 250GB Seagate Momentus Thin 2.5-inch hard drive--a mere 7 millimeters thick. Though not as compact as a 1.8-inch HDD (like Apple once used in its MacBook Air and iPod), it's not as expensive either.

And Archos has tweaked the Seagate drive a bit to allow it to perform more like … Read more

Google, TI cozy up on Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Texas Instruments and Google are hooking up on Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that will run on both phones and tablets.

Though TI has been a player in Android phones (most notably the Motorola Droid series), it has been largely absent from Android tablets, which are populated with Nvidia's Tegra chips mostly. That is expected to change with Ice Cream Sandwich, however, which will finally fuse the phone and tablet versions of Android into one.

Ice Cream Sandwich will allow developers to create apps once. The operating system, due in the fourth quarter, will be smart … Read more

TI admits to Nvidia tablet pressure

Texas Instruments admitted during an earnings conference call today that Nvidia beat it to market with the first dual-core processor for tablets. This is surprising statement from a company that has been in the business of building power-efficient chips based on the ARM design for close to two decades.

ARM is the basic chip design being used by Apple, Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments for tablets. TI licensed its first ARM design back in 1993 (PDF). Nvidia, by contrast, is an upstart in the ARM chip market, announcing its first ARM processor only in 2008.

Nvidia's dual-core Tegra … Read more