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Nintendo to use ARM and copper PowerPC in next generation

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Nintendo has just announced that its next generation Game Boy, provisionally entitled the Game Boy Advance, will ship in a year's time and will be based on a 32-bit ARM CPU. But it's clearly hedging its bets over CPUs. in May of this year Nintendo announced that its next generation game console (to ship next autumn) would be based on a 400MHz IBM PowerPC custom chip fabbed in 0.18 micron copper. The previously announced next generation product was codenamed Dolphin, and was intended to be aimed at the video game market. IBM is designing and manufacturing the CPUs, and the total deal was valued by Nintendo at up to $1 billion. The ARM contract may not be so lucrative for the British company, but has some interesting opportunities attached to it. It will be able to use a wireless phone for modem play, and is further sign that the games console outfits are positioning themselves for the brave new world of appliance-led total mobility and connectivity. IBM's processor, codenamed Gekko, is currently also at the heart of a joint venture between Matsushita and Nintendo covering home networking, but it's possible that, now it has its foot in door, ARM could win itself some of this as well. ®

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