Tech General Roundup: Intel's New Chip; Pioneer Bests Samsung; More

Last Updated Nov 4, 2008 11:00 AM EST

Details on Intel's Core i7 -- Although it still hasn't released the chip, Intel is offering more information on its anticipated Core i7 architecture. A big change is a triple-channel integrated memory controller and a new point-to-point interconnect protocol that would speed communications between memory and CPU, or even multiple CPUs. The result seems to be something so fast that upgrading to it might be of practical interest to many. [Source: Ars Technica]

More chip pessimism -- Gartner is cutting its 2009 semiconductor forecast by $25.5 billion, making the growth rate just into the single digit percentages -- as in one percent. Worst case scenario sees over ten percent drop in semiconductor sales. Its previous estimate for 2008 growth was 4.2 percent, but that's been cut to less than half. And yet IDC thinks that third quarter global PC processor shipments grew 15.8 percent over the same time last year and 14 percent over last quarter, with 2008 likely to see 18 percent growth over last year. There may be one heck of a step down come January 1. Certainly having an important industry segment like U.S. automotive sales plummeting to a 25-year low point is helping. [Source: InfoWorld, DigiTimes, Financial Times]

Pioneer 1, Samsung -$59.3 million -- A patent suit jury has found in favor of Pioneer, which claimed that Samsung had willfully infringed on two of the company's plasma patents. Total judgment is $59.3 million. Expect Samsung to appeal, or at least to try changing the channel. [Source: Smarthouse]

Firefox up, then down -- Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox briefly grabbed 20 percent browser market share. Not bad, and not long lasting, as Google's Chrome took a tiny bit. It's hard work to give away more software than your entrenched competitor. [Source: Computerworld]

Ultrawideband hurting -- It's hard to push a technology when even the biggest vendors are dropping out of it. That's happening in ultrawideband (UWB), a short-distance RF-based way of connecting peripherals to computers that was supposed to eliminate cables. But wires don't give up easily, particularly when the installed base is so big and a user switch requires changing out a lot of equipment. WiQuest, which was the most successful of the UWB chip companies, closed its doors the other day. An InStat analyst says that this opens opportunities for other players, but you have to wonder how viable an industry is if the largest vendor can't stay in business. [Source: EETimes]

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.