IBM is looking to expand its reach into the consumer and embedded microprocessor market with a new series of cooperative agreements to co-develop new chip manufacturing technologies.
The agreements, announced May 23, include partnerships with Samsung, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing and Infineon Technologies. IBM announced a similar partnership with Freescale Semiconductor on Jan. 23.
Together, these five companies plan to jointly develop microprocessors that will be built on a 32-nanometer manufacturing process that will use CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor), a process for manufacturing processors. The agreement also calls for the development of processor design kits to support that technology.
The goal, according to IBM and its partners, is to develop high-performing, energy-efficient chips at 32 nanometers for use in a wide range of consumer products, handheld devices and even supercomputers.
The agreement calls for all five companies to design, develop and manufacture these new processors through 2010.
The companies are also planning to implement new technologies to manufacture these new processors, including high-dielectric-constant (high-k) and metal gate materials, as well as immersion lithography to achieve density and chip size.
These 32-nanometer processors will be initially developed in fabs at IBMs East Fishkill, N.Y., facility.
IBM has a history of joint microprocessor development with several companies. In the past, it teamed with Freescale to develop the PowerPC chips that Apple originally used in its Macintosh line.
More recently, IBM has been working with Advanced Micro Devices to develop AMDs next generation of 65- and 45-nanomter processors.