Sony has further progressed in its tactical retreat from the Sony-Toshiba-IBM (STI) alliance originally formed to design and produce the multi-core Cell processor, with news that it will be dumping the research and development side of the equation.
The first step was to sell off its related manufacturing assets. Now STI will officially lose its "S" as Sony pulls out of the project entirely.
According to the GameDaily story, Sony executive deputy president Yutaka Nakagawa had this to say:
"Manufacturing cutting-edge packaged IC chips is not considered as important as it once was. The most important thing is what type of chip a company decides to produce, so we will increase the number of designers depending on the chip's purpose. The fact that we will stop operating an advanced chip plant does not mean that we are downgrading the importance of the chip business."
If Sony's not interested in shrinking Cell down to 32nm from 45nm, then we won't be seeing any new PlayStation 3 SKUs for some time. Unless Sony wants to cut out more functionality.
I don't find this move at all surprising, considering Sony is doing its best to not bleed money. Also, when you see the likes of Sun running its mouth off on its upcoming 16-core UltraSPARC chips, and Intel throwing around its research on 80-core processors, the 9 cores in Cell seem, well, piss weak.
(Yes, 9 cores - 8 SPEs and 1 PowerPC processor. Don't be a hater.)
Sony Giving Up on Cell Chip R&D [GameDaily]