IBM has signed an alliance with Sony and Toshiba that should give it more clout in the consumer electronics market.
The three companies have agreed to jointly develop chip technologies based on Big Blue's silicon on insulator (SOI) technology, which increases a chip's performance while reducing power consumption.
The trio will also work on other IBM-based chip technologies for a wide range of future electronic products, from digital consumer applications to supercomputers.
Over the next four years, IBM said that several hundred million dollars will be spent developing new process technologies for building chips with features as small as 50 nanometers.
The company explained that smaller features mean more can be packed on a single chip.
The new technologies, along with those such as SOI, will be used to create system on a chip (SoC) designs - integrating processor, memory and communications functions - which are normally found on separate chips within a device.
The companies claimed that the use of these new technologies will be guided by the applications requirements of Sony, and that Toshiba will contribute its high-volume manufacturing capability and SoC knowledge.
Takeshi Nakagawa, president of Toshiba's semiconductor company, explained: "Technologies like SOI are essential for high-end and low-power SoC.
"We expect collaboration on SOI process technology to advance joint development of the next-generation broadband processor, and to provide a strong underpinning to our development of leading edge products.
"We will apply SOI process technology to broadband-based LSI for such applications as a high-speed gateway and future low-power mobile products."
Trevor Edolls, consultant analyst at Xephon, said: "This is IBM making sure it's still making money. It's jolly sensible. The consumer area is where all the exciting innovative stuff is happening.
"I don't see anyone buying a gaming machine just because there's an IBM badge on it, but it's a smart move for IBM and a good alliance for all the companies involved."
IBM, Toshiba and Sony have already announced that they are working on a new processor architecture called Cell, which is rumoured to be for use in Sony's PlayStation 3.
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