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Intel buys Silicon Hive for media chips in phones, tablets

updated 04:10 pm EDT, Thu March 17, 2011

Intel snaps up Silicon Hive for media in mobile

Intel on Thursday bought Silicon Hive in a sign of its deeper push into mobile. The former Philips company is best known for making chipsets for media processing in smartphones, media hubs and other small technology. Company chief Atul Sinha made it clear his company would be folded in to help improve the media performance of Atom system-on-a-chip processors.

"We now target phenomenal successes inside Intel in the delivery of differentiated multimedia experiences in Atom-processor based SoCs," he said.

Terms of the deal weren't given out, nor when the Silicon Hive buyout was expected to get approval.

Intel has been struggling in mobile for the past few years without much to offer beyond its main processors, which to this day are usually still too large and energy-hungry to compete with ARM, especially in phones. It recently bought Infineon to get its own cellular chipset business but, until now, has been making only tentative steps into improving the performance of the chips themselves.

Silicon Hive could at the least be used to help process photos and videos from a phone's cameras as well as to possibly accelerate media capture and decoding. The very newest Atom chips use some technology borrowed from Imagination's PowerVR but aren't yet efficient enough to match Qualcomm's Adreno graphics, NVIDIA's Tegra 2, or full-fledged PowerVR chips. Most Intel SoCs are relegated to large media boxes like the Google TV-based Logitech Revue.

by MacNN Staff



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