Imagination and MIPS sign "marketing alliance" to threaten ARM

The chipset strangeness continues, with Imagination Technologies – a mobile GPU specialist of which Apple has part-ownership – expected to announce a "non-exclusive marketing alliance" with MIPS Technologies, who specialise in low-power and embedded processors.  Described as "a shot across the bow" to ARM – themselves the subject of Apple acquisition rumors last week – the collaboration will see each firm push for adoption of the others' products in new hardware designs.  MIPS are looking to push into the mobile handset market, while Imagination's PowerVR graphics cores are already found in devices like the iPhone 3GS.

In the future, meanwhile, the two companies may co-develop products together, though that's not something being explored in this early deal.  Instead, the MIPS and Imagination have produced a Sigma Designs reference SoC intended for HD set-top boxes, based on a MIPS32 24Kf processor core and a PowerVR SGX graphics core.  "It wasn't until the new connected TV platforms, Android, Adobe Flash and OperaTV emerged in the last two or three years that consumer OEMs started to demand a richer graphics" Tony King-Smith, vice president of marketing for Imagination, is quoted as saying.

Neither company will cease working with ARM, and will be free to collaborate with other GPU and CPU specialists without impacting this strategic agreement.  Nonetheless, King-Smith is confident both Apple and Samsung will continue to use PowerVR graphics cores in their future products, a deal which MIPS would most likely love to get in on.  The partnership is expected to be formally announced at the Embedded Systems Conference this week.

[via Apple Insider]