Electronic Design

Company Wire

  • Palm Inc., a manufacturer of PDAs, has allied with Sprint PCS to broaden wireless Internet options on mobile handheld devices. As part of the deal, the companies will offer a new co-branded version of the MyPalm portal, which features access to personal and corporate e-mail, e-commerce, and Web browsing.

  • IBM Corp. and Infineon Technologies are teaming up to deliver magnetic random access memory (MRAM). MRAM uses magnetic, rather than electronic, charges to store bits of data. Potentially faster and less expensive, MRAM will compete with nonvolatile flash memory. Commercial products are expected in 2004.

  • The Polaroid Corp. and Colorado MicroDisplay Inc. (CMD) will jointly develop and market a new generation of mobile, wireless digital imaging and printing devices. The alliance will build on Polaroid's existing media and CMD's microdisplay technology. The goal is to bring to the consumer marketplace products that offer a larger image size, as well as higher-resolution displays and printing options.

  • Navigation Technologies Corp. will provide automotive map data to Motorola for a server-based navigation application that delivers turn-by-turn route guidance for drivers using digital maps. It will be part of Motorola's iRadio System, scheduled for release in 2002. The server-based navigation enables all of the complex routing calculations and large databases of information, including addresses and routing and traffic preferences, to be stored in the servers. The information is then downloaded in real time to the vehicle through a wireless connection.

  • ERNI Components, an interconnect products and systems manufacturer, has expanded its product portfolio by purchasing another interconnect manufacturer, Maxconn. The move is expected to increase the company's competitiveness in the telecommunications, data communications, and computer PC markets. This acquisition fits into ERNI's plan to provide customers in every market with a complete selection of connectors. As a result of this deal, a new group dubbed ERNI China will be formed to support the manufacturing of Maxconn and some ERNI products.

  • STMicroelectronics is purchasing the assets of the consumer electronics (CE) business of Ravisent Technologies Inc., a provider of digital audio, video software, and Internet appliance technology. The acquisition includes the CineMaster CE DVD technology's intellectual property. Ravisent also will license its digital TV and Internet browser technology to STMicroelectronics. Combining the CineMaster CE DVD software with STMicroelectronics' STi55xx Omega family of DVD decoder processors should give OEMs advanced and complete DVD technology.

  • Sensor manufacturer Thermometrics Global Business is partnering with LG Electronics of Korea to create an infrared-technology company named Thermometrics Technologies. The joint venture will develop products for noncontact temperature sensing with manufacturing carried out in the company's Seoul, South Korea, plant. Because IR temperature sensors are built using silicon semiconductor technology, they exhibit fast response times and high sensitivity, while offering acceptable cost. Also, they may be fabricated as drop-in replacements for existing thick-film sensors. IR devices produced by the alliance will target automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications.

  • Microchip Technology Inc. has merged with TelCom Semiconductor Inc. This move combines Microchip's experience in embedded control applications with TelCom's work in analog products. Together, the companies will develop power-management, thermal-management, and other linear/mixed-signal ICs.

  • Geotest MTS Inc. has partnered with GuideTech to design and market PXI time-interval counters. Specifically, Geotest will rehost GuideTech's time-interval counter family on the PXI platform. The new products, to be introduced in the second quarter, will include four 100-MHz and 1.3-GHz time-interval counters. Geotest supplies PXI, PCI, and ISA test systems, equipment, and software, while GuideTech offers precision time-measurement products based on time-interval analyzer technology.

  • Agilent Technologies Ireland Ltd., a subsidiary of Agilent Technologies Inc., is set to acquire MV Technology Ltd. MVT is a privately held provider of automated optical-inspection systems for the electronics manufacturing market. After the acquisition, MVT will become an operation within the Imaging Division of Agilent's Manufacturing Test Business Unit, a part of the company's Automated Test Group.

  • IBM has signed a global strategic outsourcing agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. This deal, worth $1.7 billion over seven years, covers the provision of IT infrastructure services to 45 countries. IBM will provide PC-management guidance, network and communications services, and computer operations support.

  • Sandia National Laboratories and Celera Genomics, an Applera Corp. company, have signed a cooperative research and development agreement. The project aims to develop next-generation computer hardware and software for computational biology and life sciences applications. With project technology provided by Compaq Computer Corp., the companies hope to increase computing capability to 100 trillion operations/s.

  • Corning Inc. will acquire Tropel Corp., a maker of precision optics and metrology instruments for the semiconductor industry. The acquisition combines Corning's materials expertise with Tropel's knowledge of precision optical subsystems for the microlithography industry. Moreover, the deal combines two complementary product lines. Tropel's high-performance optical components, subsystems, and optical metrology instruments are specially designed and manufactured for wafer, photomask, and semiconductor equipment suppliers. Corning's line consists of microlithography optical materials.

  • A collaboration between GeneScan Europe AG and Clinical Micro Sensors, a business unit within Motorola Inc., is meant to produce new DNA detection tools for genetically modified crops. The tools will apply bioelectronic technology deployed in Motorola's eSensor DNA detection system. GeneScan has experience in analyzing genetically modified organisms and in monitoring food safety. Motorola's eSensor uses organic molecules to form electronic circuits that can detect and quantify many different DNA targets at once. GeneScan and Clinical Micro Sensors intend to use the eSensor platform to develop a single test for several genetically engineered traits, enabling on-site analysis. The technology should provide the agriculture and food industries with better tracking and management of new generations of crops and food products.

  • Streaming21 Inc., Neon Technology Inc., and Sigma Designs have announced a joint effort for delivering broadcast-quality streaming audio and video for Video on Demand (VOD). Streaming21 will provide carrier-class delivery and content distribution. Neon Technology's SurfReady Set-Top Box environment, based on Sigma Design MPEG decoder chips, will supply end-user presentation of streaming multimedia information.

  • The Motorola and Wind River Systems joint Center of Excellence (CoE) program will foster tighter integration of Motorola's PowerPC processors and cores with Wind River's various operating systems and software development tools, including its latest VxWorks AE. The first new combination from the relationship is the integration of Wind River's Tornado with Motorola's MPC7410 and MPC7450 processors.

  • Motorola Semiconductor and Surf Communication Solutions Inc. have allied to provide OEMs with bundled hardware and software for Internet telephony and data-access markets. Surf will port its high-density convergence software, including the Surf Multi-Access Pool (SMP), to Motorola's StarCore-based MSC8101 and MSC8102 DSPs. In addition to the MSC810x/SMP kit, Motorola and Surf plan to provide a comprehensive suite of tools, including multi-DSP reference designs, Smart Networks-compliant host level interfaces, and evaluation platforms.

  • To integrate DSP cores into its ASIC design process, IBM Microelectronics has licensed LSI Logic's superscalar ZSP400 DSP core and associated software development and verification tools. IBM will integrate the ZSP400 DSP core into its 0.13-µm CMOS Blue Logic ASIC library. IBM will modify the core to work with its open on-chip bus architecture, CoreConnect.
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