One thing you can't say about Globalfoundries is that it's afraid to spend money. After being spun-off from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in 2009, the contract chip maker went on to spend $8 billion through 2011 and now plans to spend an additional $3 billion on fabs and related equipment, with most of the funds going towards finishing a plant in New York and filling it with equipment.
IBM was awarded 6,180 patents in all of 2011, more than any other company in the world and nearly 1,300 more than Samsung, which was granted the second most patents with 4,894. After that, the Top 50 list compiled by IFI Claims Patent Services starts to drop off with Canon (No. 3) having added 2,821 patents to its portfolio last year, followed by Panasonic (No. 4) with 2,559 and Toshiba (No. 5) with 2,483. IBM has led the pack for 19 years straight, but don't hate the player, hate the game.
Another Foxconn factory worker in China nearly committed suicide before being talked out of lunging himself off a building rooftop to almost certain death. He is one of about 300 Foxconn workers who reportedly organized a mass suicide as part of a pay raise protest at a factory that makes Xbox parts for Microsoft.
Later this week, the late Steve Jobs and Magneto will have something in common -- both will have appeared in comic book form. We're sure you can think of other similarities, unfortunately the full potential of Apple's iconic co-founder caricatured in a comic will never be reached, not without Stan Lee and Jon Stewart tag teaming the project (they're not), though Bluewater Production did promise to capture the many sides of his "complex personality."
Today marks the end of an era for both Microsoft and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. CES isn't shutting its doors -- not that we know of, anyway -- but the keynote Steve Ballmer delivered is Microsoft's final one. It's pulling out of CES, and before the divorce is final, Ballmer has one final message he wants to make clear.
If we built a time machine, we wouldn't have to travel back a great distance to find a far different tech world than the one we live in today. Why would we even want to? To retire richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined, of course! Think about it. If you could go back to 2010, imagine the money you could make by placing seemingly absurd bets on the near future. There's not a single person in 2010 who thinks Duke Nukem Forever will ever see the light of day, let alone actually ship in 2011. And who in 2010 would believe Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest PC maker, would seriously consider severing its PC arm, own the best selling tablet (for a period of time) and open source webOS barely more than a year after acquiring Palm for $1.2 billion? That's a parlay even a priest would take.
Alas, our get rich quick scheme is wishful thinking, because plutonium is both expensive and hard to come by. And even if we did get our hands on some, we'd still need a DeLorean. Bummer. The bigger point here is that 2011 has been a crazy year with plenty of wild headlines and plot twists (or par for course, as it were). As we all get ready to kick off a new year, we've gone and assembled a gallery of the top 50 news stories of 2011. Flip through them and be sure to let us know in the comments section which tech events stand out to you the most, including ones we might have missed.
When electronic components bite the dust, there's very little you can do. Unlike a leaky pipe or broken piece of plastic, it's not like you can tear off a piece of duct tape and fix a cracked or failed microchip. Best case scenario is you replace it, but if it's an integrated part or a discontinued chip, you might have to replace the whole device. Bummer. But what if a chip could heal itself?
With CES 2012 right around the corner, companies are scrambling to prepare demonstrations of next generation products and technologies. Continuing with last year's theme, we suspect 3D technology will emerge as a popular topic, and so might Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology. LG, which signed a strategic alliance with Intel to promote WiDi technology, is combining the two and plans show off its upcoming LG Cinema 3D Smart TV line with embedded WiDi.
MIT's Media Lab has taken slow motion video to a whole new level by building a system capable of capturing moving subjects at 1 trillions frames a second, fast enough to capture pulses of light parading through a 1-liter soda bottle. Light travels at about 671 million miles per hour, but it can't outrun MIT's custom camera setup, nor can anything else in the universe.