updated 12:15 am EST, Tue December 27, 2011
Samsung, Pana, DoCoMo may co-create by late March
(Update: official details) Samsung, Panasonic, NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, and NEC are working together on smartphone processors, according to apparent slips from the industry early Tuesday. A joint venture as cast by the Wall Street Journal would probably have Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo have majority control over the project, which would go live by late March. Little else is known other than that official news could come as soon as later on Tuesday.
The reason for the joint venture isn't yet clear. Samsung already makes its own chips, such as the future 2GHz Exynos 5250 destined for future Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab devices, and is often considered second only to Apple in performance. The company may hope to take that lead by tapping other companies for help.
Most Japanese phone designers, including Fujitsu, NEC, and Panasonic, only just got into smartphones in earnest this past year and are likely to want to accelerate their development process to catch up with Apple, HTC, Samsung, and others. Panasonic has teased a world smartphone that it will likely show at CES in mid-January.
Update: the official plan has been confirmed. The group is making a "fabless" joint venture, where none have their own manufacturing plants. Its aim will primarily be to build chips with support for 4G over LTE and LTE-Advanced to sell worldwide.
Called Communication Platform Planning, the venture would be wholly owned by NTT DoCoMo and was getting $5.8 million in funding to start.