UPDATE: Germany's DRAM Bailout Hits a Snag as Qimonda Goes Bankrupt

DRAM maker files for insolvency, while the German government mulls a bigger rescue

2 min read

28 January 2009—In the high-stakes and highly subsidized memory-chip industry, rival manufacturers and their governments anxiously await Germany’s next move after Qimonda, a key player in the country’s prized Dresden semiconductor center, declared insolvency last week. An end to Qimonda, the world’s fifth-largest manufacturer of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips, would certainly weaken if not cripple Europe’s largest semiconductor cluster, significantly reducing the region’s clout and competitiveness in the global chip business.

As if the German government didn’t have enough problems bailing out banks and propping up carmakers squeezed by the global financial and economic crisis, now it needs to make a tough call on whether to funnel still more taxpayer money into a financially risky but industrially strategic high-tech business.

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A Circuit to Boost Battery Life

Digital low-dropout voltage regulators will save time, money, and power

11 min read
Image of a battery held sideways by pliers on each side.
Edmon de Haro

YOU'VE PROBABLY PLAYED hundreds, maybe thousands, of videos on your smartphone. But have you ever thought about what happens when you press “play”?

The instant you touch that little triangle, many things happen at once. In microseconds, idle compute cores on your phone's processor spring to life. As they do so, their voltages and clock frequencies shoot up to ensure that the video decompresses and displays without delay. Meanwhile, other cores, running tasks in the background, throttle down. Charge surges into the active cores' millions of transistors and slows to a trickle in the newly idled ones.

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