The Cell processor sits at the heart of the PlayStation 3, the most powerful game console yet developed, and a high-performance computer from IBM. Now Toshiba wants to put that power into mobile devices and mobile phones.
A roadmap for the processor on display by Toshiba at this week's Ceatec show in Japan shows a more powerful version of the chip under development for 2007. While details of the chip were not available, a source close to Toshiba said that the new device will be manufactured using more advanced 65nm (nanometre) production technology. The current chips are being made on a 90nm line and the switch will mean lower power consumption and increased performance.
"We are focused on the consumer electronics area such as media servers or something like that, but Cell itself is not restricted to that area," said Mitsuo Saito, chief fellow at Toshiba's semiconductor company and one of the key creators of the chip, in an interview at Ceatec.
"Maybe other partners are moving to the very high end. We are focusing on the low-power area. One is for more mobile types of applications such as small games or some mobile phone-like systems," he said.
The Cell chip is the product of a joint development project by Toshiba, IBM, Sony and SCEI (Sony Computer Entertainment). It will make its consumer debut next month when SCEI puts the PlayStation 3 on sale in Japan and the US.