Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) and Renesas Technology Corp. plan to begin in 2008 joint production of chips on which the smallest features are 45 nanometers, they said.
That's a step more advanced than current state-of-the-art chip production techniques on which the smallest features are 65nm. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and the measurement is a guide to the size of the transistors and other parts that are etched onto the chips. Typically, the more transistors, and the closer they are together, the faster the chip can perform tasks.
The joint production will be used to make system-on-chip devices, which are chips that combine several functions on a single piece of silicon and generally form the heart of advanced mobile and digital consumer electronics products.
The two companies have been collaborating on chip production since 1998 and the 45nm project was begun in October 2005, they said. Current plans call for development to be complete in mid 2007 and for production to begin in the companies' fiscal year 2008, the period from April 2008 to March 2009.