Sony chip to transform video-game industry


Sony's next-generation video-game console, due in just two years, will feature a revolutionary architecture that will allow it to pack the processing power of a hundred of today's personal computers on a single chip and tap the resources of additional computers using high-speed network connections.

If key technical hurdles are overcome, the ``cell microprocessor'' technology, described in a patent Sony quietly secured in September, could help the Japanese electronics giant achieve the industry's holy grail: a cheap, all-in-one box for the home that can record television shows, surf the Net in 3-D, play music and run movie-like video games.

Besides the PlayStation 3 game console, Sony and its partners, IBM and Toshiba, hope to use the same basic chip design -- which organizes small groups of microprocessors to work together like bees in a hive -- for a range of computing devices, from tiny handheld personal digital assistants to the largest corporate servers.

If the partners succeed in crafting such a modular, all-purpose chip, it would challenge the dominance of Intel and other chip makers that make specialized chips for each kind of electronic device.

``This is a new class of beast,'' said Richard Doherty, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group in Seaford, N.Y. ``There is nothing like this project when it comes to how far-reaching it will be.''

News source: Mercury News

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