The news follows last month’s breaking story that Sony will be selling the majority stake of its chip-making facilities to Toshiba. The agreement between the two Japanese electronics companies will establish a joint venture that will produce high-performance semiconductors, which not only includes the Cell Broadband Engine but also the RSX graphics engine.
Although Sony is ditching its R&D on chips, it did say that is currently working with Toshiba and IBM on producing a 32nm version of the Cell Broadband Engine. Sony likely realizes that it must keep some form of involvement in the advancement of the chips that power its PlayStation 3 console.
Every PlayStation 3 currently uses chips built on 90nm technology, and Sony plans to migrate its console over to 65nm chips sometime in early 2008.
Sony’s decision to abandon further investment in chip technologies is not surprising, given the company’s much publicized intentions of moving back its core business of selling televisions, cameras and other consumer electronics.