Intel-TSMC pact on Atom chips to remain on hold

But Intel says the relationship with TSMC is still intact

A pact announced last year for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to go to work putting Intel Atom microprocessors into smartphones, mobile Internet devices and other gadgets looks to remain on hold for a while.

The agreement between the two companies was announced as an important way for Intel to access markets it could not reach on its own. The strategy to work with TSMC is similar to that of Intel rival Arm Holdings, in that Arm provides blueprints for its processors to TSMC, which uses them to build complex chips such as those used in smart phones. Those chips perform several functions, including signal processing, computing, image processing, screen control and more.

The announcement caused excitement for TSMC because it would have provided a rare opportunity for an outside company to produce Intel microprocessors. Intel manufactures its own chips, and closely guards its intellectual property. The deal also indicated that Intel was moving on its plans to compete against Arm in power-efficient processors for mobile devices.

The issue was raised at TSMC's investor conference last week, when analysts asked the company's chairman, Morris Chang, when the first Atoms would roll off TSMC production lines. He said the partnership with Intel remained on hold and that there had been no news for the past six months.

Intel indicated that the waiting will continue.

"While we have no short-term plans to bring an Atom processor manufactured at TSMC to market, the relationship remains in effect and we are still working with TSMC," said Intel spokesman Nick Jacobs.

The delay in the partnership may be due to a lack of success by Intel in convincing customers to use its Atom processing cores over Arm cores, which are more power efficient. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Intel may buy Infineon Technologies' communications unit, which includes Arm-based mobile chips, to beef up its product portfolio, a sign Atom may not be working out as Intel had hoped.

Intel declined to comment on the Infineon reports.

But Intel has also talked up plans of its own to produce system-on-chip products (SoCs) containing its Atom processing cores. At the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing earlier this year, executives said they had built a library of chip blueprints to help companies design their own Atom-based chips. The libraries hold chip intellectual property needed in an SoC related to memory, graphics, and more. Intel first turned to TSMC because the company has a huge library of intellectual property that it can draw from to build complex chips, and already produces such chips for companies that design them.

Jacobs said Intel is pleased with its progress so far with Atom.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesconsumer electronicssmartphonesPhonesComponentsfinancial resultsprocessorsTaiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.intel

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?