Amended agreement includes $50 million in additional purchase commitments
AMD bumped up its purchase commitments with GlobalFoundries in 2014 by about $50 million. Under terms of the amended Wafer Supply Agreement (WSA), AMD expects to pay $1.2 billion in all this year, though what's interesting is that the deal is no longer limited to traditional CPUs and APUs; it now includes GPUs and semi-custom game console chips, such as those found in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4.
Lenovo is finally pumping out machines made in the USA.
Lenovo has been on a roll these days. While the PC industry on a whole continues to suffer, they have continually taken market share and have prospered against the odds. Normally when a company has a recipe for success they continue to iterate, but last year they announced the reversal of a longstanding trend. Rather than continue adding production capacity in low cost labor markets, the company would build a brand new state-of-the-art PC manufacturing line in North Carolina. Late last week Lenovo announced it has made good on its promise, and machines are finally rolling off the line.
Samsung wasted no time in sending a team of executives to one of its suppliers' factories in China to investigate claims that it may be using child labor. The in-house investigation is in rapid response to a China Labor Watch (CLW) report alleging to have found issues of underage workers and student labor exploitation at HEG, which builds mobile phones, DVDs, stereo equipment, and MP3 players for Samsung.
Manual labor is dead. You know how we know? Foxconn announced today that it would start phasing out its rampant hiring, and add over 1 million robots to its manufacturing process over the next three years. A spokesmen for the company claims the robots will help cut rising labor costs, improve efficiency, and help keep Foxconn competitive.
According to an EETimes.com report, Intel put to rest all the recent speculation surrounding its new U.S. fab and confirmed it's being constructed to handle 450mm wafers.
As part of a $6 billion to $8 billion investment, Intel is upgrading several U.S. facilities for 22nm production, as well as building the aforementioned fab in Hillsboro, Oregon. This will be known as D1X and it will go live in 2013.
"Intel is very interested in 450mm," said Mark Borh, Intel Senior Fellow and director of process architecture and integration at Intel. "D1X is being (constructed) to be compatible with 450mm."
The upshot to increasing wafer size like this is that Intel can squeeze more chips out of a single wafer and potentially reduce manufacturing costs.
Think Intel is doing okay financially? Sure they are. Intel's Chuck Mulloy once told us that his company understands it has to spend money to make money, and he wasn't just feeding us a line of bull. Get this -- the world's No. 1 chip maker announced plans to invest up to $8 billion building a new factory in Oregon and upgrading four existing plants in Arizona and Oregon. That's $8 billion to be spent on U.S. manufacturing.
"Today's announcement reflects the next tranche of the continued advancement of Moore's Law and a further commitment to invest in the future of Intel and America," said Paul Otellini, Intel President and CEO.
The projects are expected to create up to 8,000 temporary jobs and as many as 1,000 permanent positions in Oregon when the factory there opens in 2013. The investment will also help with Intel's transition to 22nm manufacturing technology.
The world's appetite for gadgets is apparently growing ever more insatiable. Chinese manufacturer Foxconn is looking to hire as many as 400,000 Chinese workers in the coming year. Many of the new recruits will be working at factories built nearer to their homes, instead of Foxconn's massive Shenzhen facility. This is seen as a way to combat the frequent suicides at the plant over the last year.
This move would leave Foxconn with about 1.2 million employees building products for Apple and Dell. The company could certainly afford it after seeing a doubling of revenue in the first half of 2010. This won't be the end of the Shenzhen plant though. Foxconn plans to reduce the work force there only slightly, from 900,000 to about 730,000 over five years.
It's unclear if Foxconn would be making these changes had the suicide story not have hit the western media so hard. The manufacturer has also been increasing wages for workers. When you buy gadgets, do you wonder where, and how it is made?
The hits just keep on coming for Apple as of late. After finally addressing the iPhone 4 antenna issue last week, they have now announced that the white version of the phone is going to be delayed until later in 2010. Previously it was supposed to show up in the second half of July. Apple cites unexpected manufacturing issues.
There are a number of theories on just what is causing the delay. Perhaps the most conspiratorial of them is that Apple may be refining the antenna design on this model. More likely is that the glass back is not clear enough and makes the white iPhone look almost off-white. Call us crazy, but with all the things that can go wrong with a smartphone, we wouldn't have expected the color to be a big issue.
With this setback, and the recent antennagate fiasco, the iPhone's sterling image is looking a little tarnished. What do you think is holding up the phone?
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, AMD at the last minute uncovered a manufacturing defect during the validation of its ATI Radeon HD 5830 reference boards. This, DigiTimes says, is the reason why the card didn't launch last Monday as originally planned.
Sources who claim to be in the know say the flaw has to do with circuits on the board. For whatever reason, the circuits are coming up bad on AMD's software testing platforms, prompting the chip maker to grab related boards for more testing.
Naturally, AMD had no comment on the reported issue, but the company did say there is no issue whatsoever with any AMD-based videocards already on the market.
So when will the HD 5830 ship? Card makers are predicting no sooner than an early February launch.
PC vendors were hoping that the launch of the much anticipated Windows 7 would result in a sales boost. The first reports from those vendors, however, are not painting a very rosy picture. Most vendors report only modest increases in sales.
We know that sales of standalone upgrade licenses for Windows 7 were very good at launch, but it seems not many people went out to get a new PC. Vendors are not expecting sales to pick up in 2009. This may be due, in part, to the fact that Vista users can easily upgrade their existing hardware to the lighter weight Windows 7.
Some notebook manufacturers produced extra units running Windows 7 in anticipation of high demand. With demand ending up weaker than expected, these PCs end up discounted. Expect PC prices to continue to slide. Good for us, not so much for the manufacturers and vendors.