EAST FISHKILL, N.Y.--IBM Corp. today announced it has combined a PowerPC processor core with a number of optional "pervasive computing" features to create customized system-on-chip designs for low-cost consumer products that connect to the Internet.
IBM said its new PowerPC Internet Appliance Platform (IAP) will reduce the number of chip needed to connect systems to the Internet by a factor of 10. The company predicted that its new processor platform will make possible lower cost Web phones and many other new consumer information appliances. The platform is also aimed at significantly reducing power consumption for smaller, portable products.
"We're merging custom chip technology with consumer electronic products," declared Scottie Ginn, vice president for IBM Microelectronics' pervasive technology operation. "The one-size-fits-all days of PC microprocessors are over.
"Unlike PCs, consumer electronics that attach to the Internet will come in all types of sizes and shapes, each demanding unique things of the chips that drive them," Ginn said. "With PowerPC IAP, manufacturers can design a chip to fit their product, rather than limiting their product to what a standard chip will allow."
IBM claims its IAP system-on-chip design creates a new generation of SoC platforms for easy customization of processors used in Internet-connected systems. IBM said it is applying a range of semicustom ASIC design methodologies to the new PowerPC-based platform, as well as advanced processing technologies, including copper interconnects, low-k dielectrics, and silicon-on-insulator wafers.
The PowerPC IAP platform is now available for customers can begin developing tailored designs for Internet consumer products, said IBM Microelectronics, which expects many solutions to be customized for embedded software and operating systems, such as Linux and IBM's WebSphere. According to IBM, the new RISC-processor platform will enable custom ICs to be produced without long development cycles and high costs typically associated with system-on-chip ASICs.