PC Briefs: AMD, UMC, HP, Philips

PC Briefs: AMD, UMC, HP, Philips

AMD, UMC partner on Singapore wafer fab

AMD and contract chip manufacturer United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) have agreed to form a joint-venture company that will own and operate a new wafer manufacturing plant in Singapore. The fabrication plant, or fab, will manufacture 300-millimetre silicon wafers, which are the sheets of silicon from which computer chips are cut. Using larger wafers can cut manufacturing costs by about a third compared with the 200-millimetre wafers widely used today.

HP raises Q1 estimates

Higher-than-expected sales of desktop PCs, printers, scanners and digital cameras have prompted Hewlett-Packard to increase its previous earnings estimates for its first fiscal quarter, which ended on January 31. The company said the revised estimates are "based on an up-tick in consumer demand" which has affected its hardware lines. Combined with continuing cost-saving measures, HP now expects increased gross margins, with expenses to remain the same as fourth-quarter levels. HP said it expects earnings "substantially above" current consensus analyst estimates of 16 cents a share.

Philips touts low-cost, low-power wirelessA standard for low-voltage, low-power chips for wireless devices will push the concept of ubiquitous computing from theory to reality in homes, offices and even cars, an executive from Philips said at the 2002 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) last week. One of the emerging standards is an approach called "ZigBee" - a wireless technology focused on low-cost, low-power applications which is expected to cost only about $US2 per module by next year. ZigBee will run at speeds ranging from 10Kbps to 115.2Kbps, about twice the speed of a dialup modem, but only a fraction of the speed of Bluetooth. ZigBee will have a range of 10-75 metres, longer than that of Bluetooth.

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