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Amazon enters chip market with sale of own ARM chips

Posted: 11 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet shopping? Alpine? Wi-Fi? 4K? IoT?

Internet shopping channel has ventured into the chipmaking market through its subsidiary Annapurna Labs which launched the Alpine range of ARM-based processors. The chips target Wi-Fi routers, Network-Attached Storage devices, media-streaming devices and connected home products among others.

Annapurna was founded in 2011 by Avigdor Willenz, founder of the chip-design company Galileo Technologies that was bought by Marvell in 2001 for about $2.7 billion. Amazon acquired Annapurna, before it had produced product, in January 2015 for a sum reported to be in the range $350 million to $370 million.

The Alpine product line, based on up to four ARMv7 and ARMv8 processor cores, supports the home deployment of applications and services, including media management, IoT management, surveillance and 4K/UHD television streaming, the company said. Carrying up to four processors, the chips are designed for low-power devices for storage and networking instead of the high-end server market that Intel holds.

Intel is the biggest PC chips supplier and dominates the market for data-centre computing. ARM, on the other hand, leads in the mobile market.

There are already home gateway, Wi-Fi router and NAS product designs based on Alpine chips available from multiple equipment vendors including Asus, Netgear, QNAP Systems and Synology. Annapurna will also release a hardware development kit to allow its customers to modify the chips for whatever purposes they need.

Amazon, however, did not disclose if it will use the chips for its own products.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times Europe

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