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LG ramps up fabless chip plans - report

CES debut predicted for smart TV with tweaked ARM designs

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LG could be set to take its first major leap towards carving out a new role as a fabless chipmaker next month when it debuts its H13 processor inside a smart TV at CES in Las Vegas.

The Korean electronics giant revealed back in April 2011 that it had struck a deal with British chip designer ARM to license its Cortex processor and Mali GPU technology, and the CES announcement would appear to be the first fruits of those labours.

Various reports have suggested that the H13 is likely to be based on the Cortex A15 architecture, the same as that used by Samsung for its Exynos 5250 offering which ended up in the Nexus 10 tablet.

LG now has 900 chip designers working on processors for use in smartphones and web-enabled TVs as it looks to reduce its dependence on third party component providers, said The Korea Times citing unnamed officials at the firm.

However, unlike local rival Samsung, LG is apparently outsourcing the manufacturing of the chips to Taiwan’s TSMC, which will be producing the 28nm H13 chip and working on a nearly completed smartphone processor.

An LG spokesman admitted the firm would have more details to share on its plans by CES, but dismissed the story as mainly based on rumour and speculation.

“While some aspects of the story may be under discussion, I can say for the record that the details are far from conclusive,” he told The Reg.

There are no firm signs as yet that LG will eventually flog its home-made chips to rivals, as Samsung has done, but it would seem like a decent strategy in the long term if it wants to grow this part of the business. ®

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