Sony to scale back investments in Cell

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Sony to scale back investments in Cell

Chicago (IL) – While Sony is highlighting the scalability of the Cell processors at ISSCC, a spokesperson fro the company said that Sony will decrease its financial commitment to a processor, which the firm previously stated cost billions of dollars to develop.

The news comes as an apparently broader decision to put a greater focus on capital investments in its semiconductor business and cut expenses in this segment. According to various media reports, a Sony spokesperson said that the firm will “sharply cut” its investments from about $3.8 billion between 2004 and 2006. During that timeframe, Sony hinted that its share in the Cell development process was about $1.6 billion. Instead of pouring its cash into the Cell, the company now intends to concentrate on CCD and CMOS sensors for digital still and video cameras as well as SoC solutions.

The cut in investment apparently will not impact the further progress of the processor. Sony is currently discussing a 65 nm version of the CPU with clock speeds up to 6 GHz at 1.3 volts. Sony also said that it intends to move to a 45 nm Cell during fiscal 2008 or 2009.

The Cell processor is currently used in small numbers from manufacturers such as Mercury Computer Systems and IBM in mid-range as well as high-end servers. The main application for the processor remains the Playstation 3, which, according to NexGen Wars, has reached a shipment volume of about 1.4 million units.