The rumor that was circulating earlier today was true, Intel just announced they will collaborate with TSMC on technology platform, IP infrastructure, and systems-on-chip (SoC) solutions.
TSMC will make Atom SoCs for Intel, which is an unusual move for the chip giant as they take great pride in being able to manufacture processors in their own fabs. Intel says the collaboration will expand Atom SoCs availability for Intel customers for a wider range of applications:
Intel Corporation and TSMC today announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on addressing technology platform, intellectual property (IP) infrastructure, and System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions. Under the MOU, Intel would port its Atom processor CPU cores to the TSMC technology platform including processes, IP, libraries, and design flows. The collaboration is intended to expand Intel’s Atom SoCs availability for Intel customers for a wider range of applications through integration with TSMC’s diverse IP infrastructure.
This MOU is an important step in a long-term strategic technology cooperation between Intel and TSMC. With this joint effort, Intel intends to significantly broaden the market opportunities for its Intel Atom SoCs and accelerate deployment of the architecture through multiple SoC implementations. At the same time, TSMC extends its technology platform to serve the Intel Architecture market segments.
"We believe this effort will make it easier for customers with significant design expertise to take advantage of benefits of the Intel Architecture in a manner that allows them to customize the implementation precisely to their needs," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. "The combination of the compelling benefits of our Atom processor combined with the experience and technology of TSMC is another step in our long-term strategic relationship."
"TSMC values our strategic relationship with Intel. This MOU brings together the Intel Architecture and the TSMC technology platform. We expect this collaboration will help proliferate the Atom processor SoC and foster overall semiconductor growth," said Dr. Rick Tsai, president and CEO of TSMC. "With this agreement, our technology platform extends beyond the two companies’ current collaboration to support future Intel embedded x86 products."
The Intel Atom processor features 47 million transistors and is Intel’s smallest processor. Products manufactured through the agreement may find adoption in embedded CPU market segments such as mobile internet Devices (MIDs), smart-phones, netbooks, nettops, and AC-powered consumer electronics device. The processor is designed to bring the whole Internet and the benefits of computing to an emerging class of consumer-friendly devices.