Startup SuVolta has unveiled a new technology that it promises will double silicon chip efficiency, enabling longer battery life for mobile devices and potentially shifting the balance of power in the processor industry.
The power savings comes at no cost to performance — or alternatively, performance can be increased while maintaining equivalent battery life.
“By providing the industry with a clever and easily manufacturable way to cut power in half or more, SuVolta makes possible the development of portable products with extended time between battery charges,” said Bruce McWilliams, chief executive for the company.
Battery life is the primary restriction for mobile device performance, and many smartphones currently have trouble lasting through a day of heavy use without a recharge.
The technology could also hamper Intel’s push into smartphones and tablets. The company recently announced a dramatic new “TriGate” chip manufacturing process that it promised will improve efficiencies by 50 percent. That would allow Intel chips to compete with the inherently power-efficient ARM-designed processors that dominate the ultramobile market now.
But SuVolta’s technology could let Intel’s competitors deliver more efficient chips without access to Intel’s advanced and expensive manufacturing techniques, putting them back in the lead. Of course, if the new technology works with the TriGate process and Intel also licenses it, it could result in amazingly efficient chips that maintain a lead over competitors.
But even if SuVolta’s technology works exactly as promised, it won’t double real-world battery life because many other components, especially the display, also drain batteries. The most dramatic improvements would likely be seen in full-sized notebooks. As a perk, devices should run cooler, too.
Fujitsu is reportedly the first licensee of the technology with chips arriving next year, but SuVolta plans to make it available to others as well.
SuVolta’s technology works by reducing the variations in efficiency between the millions of individual transistors on a chip, and according to the company, can be cheaply integrated into existing chip manufacturing lines.
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