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TSMC earmarks record $44 billion for chip manufacturing expansion in 2022

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Chip manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which supplies silicon for Apple, Qualcomm, and other tech giants, plans to spend as much as $44 billion to increase its manufacturing capacity in 2022, Reuters reports. In its latest earnings release, the Taiwanese firm said it expects capital spending to be between $40 and $44 billion in 2022, up from a previous record of $30 billion in 2021.

It’s not an entirely unexpected increase, given the company’s previously announced plan to spend $100 billion on expanding its manufacturing capacity through 2023. But the record sum suggests it doesn’t expect demand for chips to slow down anytime soon, despite some analyst warnings of potentials slowdowns in areas like smartphones, the Financial Times notes.

TSMC’s reasoning is that any slowdown will be made up by more product categories like cars and factory equipment starting to require high performance silicon. “We observe end-market demand may slow down in terms of units, but silicon content is increasing,” said the company’s CEO CC Wei, in comments reported by the FT.

TSMC expects demand to remain high regardless of whether the global chip shortage continues, with Wei noting that it “may or may not persist” in 2022, Nikkei Asia reports. The company expects overall chip manufacturing industry revenue to grow 20 percent this year, but that TSMC will outperform it with revenue growth in the high-20 percent range. Its revenue grew by 25 percent last year.

TSMC expects this growth even as one of its customers, Intel, starts competing with the company’s contract chip manufacturing business under its new CEO Pat Gelsinger. Here’s Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan on why Intel is unlikely to be a direct challenger to TSMC (or its closest competitor Samsung) anytime soon:

“Intel trails both of them in technology prowess, forcing the California company into the ironic position of relying on TSMC to produce its best chips. Gelsinger is confident that he can catch up. Maybe he will, but there’s no way the firm will be able to expand capacity and economies of scale to the point of being financially competitive. Put another way, Intel will need to sacrifice margins to gain the volume needed to fill the fabs he too wants to build.”

Huge demand for chips, not to mention the chip shortage, have helped solidify TSMC’s place as one of the largest and most important companies in the world (in fact, Culpan notes it’s the “largest non-US, non-state-owned enterprise”). And with its ambitious expansion plans, which include new plants in Arizona and Japan, it doesn’t look like this is likely to change.



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Lenovo made a $329 Snapdragon-powered Windows 11 tablet for students

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has revealed its latest batch of devices geared toward students. Perhaps the most eye-catching offering is a Snapdragon 7c-powered Windows 11 tablet. The company suggests the 10w Tablet might be a great fit for younger students, since the device has a rugged design with a rubber bumper and Corning Gorilla Glass on the Full HD, 10.1-inch display. The screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio and 400 nits of brightness. There are 2MP front-facing and 8MP rear-facing cameras too.

Lenovo 10w Tablet

Lenovo

The tablet comes with a detachable keyboard and there’s an optional pen. The 10w Tablet has a 30Whr battery and comes with up to 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to 128GB of eMMC storage. Unfortunately, there’s only one USB-C port, but there is a headphone jack, which should help students avoid having to fiddle with the Windows Bluetooth settings. The tablet weighs 573g (1.26 lbs) and 1.1kg (2.42 lbs) with the keyboard.

Lenovo suggests the Snapdragon platform will help deliver responsive performance, dependable WiFi connectivity and an extended battery life. The ARM-based Windows experience hasn’t historically , but we haven’t seen Windows 11 running on Snapdragon 7c chipsets as yet. Microsoft has seemingly improved the Windows-on-ARM experience, however. 

The 10w Tablet and keyboard bundle starts at $239 and it’s expected to ship in the US in April.

For (perhaps older) students who need extra power, Lenovo is also planning to ship the 13w Yoga convertible laptop in April. The system is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5000 U-series processor with on-chip graphics.

The laptop has a 13.3-inch, Full HD display with 300 nits of brightness. The front-facing 1080p camera has a privacy shutter and you’ll find a 5MP camera on the rear. There’s an optional fingerprint reader on the power button too.

Lenovo 13w Yoga

Lenovo

The 13w Yoga includes up to 16GB of 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM (which users can upgrade) and up to a 512GB SSD. Lenovo says it has Dolby Audio and a 51Whr battery.

The connectivity options are far more generous than on the 10w Tablet. Along with an audio jack, there are two USB-C 3.2 ports, one USB-A 3.2 port, a full SD card reader and HDMI 2.0. There’s WiFi 6 and optional 4G LTE support as well. The 13w Yoga will start at $749.

In addition, Lenovo announced a partnership with VictoryXR to offer educational experiences in . Students will be able to access more than 60 VR titles from VictoryXR, centered around science, history and career and technical education. They’ll be able to virtually visit the likes of The Great Wall of China and see California Redwoods.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service grows to 25 million subscribers

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Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service now has 25 million subscribers. That’s up from the 18 million Microsoft previously reported in January last year. The Xbox Game Pass all-you-can-eat catalog of downloadable games — or the “Netflix for video games” as it’s often described — continues to attract new subscribers as Microsoft looks to extend the service.

As Microsoft’s subscriber numbers grow, so does the amount of titles available on Xbox Game Pass. In 2021, Xbox Game Pass added iconic Bethesda games, with 20 in total on the service, including Dishonored, Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Wolfenstein.

Microsoft announced the milestone while revealing its planned $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which will have Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and its 10,000 employees reporting to Phil Spencer.

Microsoft:

The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers. With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

Spencer said in a blog post that “we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.” There are no specifics, but with the Warcraft, Call of Duty, Diablo, and Candy Crush brands to choose from — to name a few — the service will have a lot of options.

Microsoft has also been chasing sports fans over the past year with the addition of NBA 2K21, Madden NFL 21, NHL 21, and more. Outriders also debuted on Xbox Game Pass last year, and Microsoft added Flight Simulator to the service over the summer. Microsoft also had a big Xbox Game Pass holiday, with Age of Empires IV, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite launching day one on the service.

Microsoft has also been working on extending where Xbox Game Pass is available, thanks to Xbox Game Streaming. A web version of Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly Project xCloud) was made widely available to players on iOS and PC last summer, and Microsoft started rolling the service out to Xbox consoles in November. This will allow newer games, like Microsoft Flight Simulator, to be streamed and played on older Xbox consoles too, as the service is fully powered by Xbox Series X hardware.



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Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

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Microsoft just made one of the largest-ever bids for a game studio. The company has announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $95 per share, valuing the all-cash deal at an enormous $68.7 billion. The deal would make the combined entity the “third-largest” game company by revenue, according to Microsoft, and would put titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft under the company’s wing. Microsoft plans to add Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass as part of the deal.

Developing…

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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