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February 1, 2006 – Sony, Toshiba and NEC Electronics have announced a joint venture to develop LSI process technology for a 45-nanometer (nm) system chip.
NEC and Sony cite "high-speed data processing, as well as lower power consumption, and smaller chip dimensions" as the obvious advantages of 45-nm generation technology. Toshiba concurs, emphasizing the ability to "raise development efficiency and further accelerate the pace of development."
Toshiba and NEC had made an earlier agreement in November of 2005 to work on 45-nm process technology. Sony and Toshiba had announced a similar collaboration in February of 2004; engineers from Sony and Toshiba companies have been working at the Advanced Microelectronics Center owned by Toshiba in Yokohama, Japan ever since. All three companies coming together will now allow even more intra-company access to development teams that have been working on LSI process technologies. Employees from each of the three companies working on the project will now all work at the Advanced Microelectronics Center in Japan.
The chip is obviously smaller and lighter, but most importantly consumes less power, making it ideal for use in devices like digital cameras, mobile phones, LCDs and DVD players. Nanometer in the 45-nanometer system chip refers to the "smallest feature on the chip" that is no bigger than a nanometer, a millionth of a millimeter. Several companies are racing to be the first to maximize this technology.
Sony, Toshiba and NEC Electronics each see this as a more cost effective and efficient way to research, develop and implement the technology, as well as a means of getting it to market sooner.