When Intel pushes its upcoming 3D memory products out of the development stage this will change dramatically - but for now, it's safe bet that there's capacity going spare.
With this deal, Intel is filling its fabs with a contract from a top-tier client - LG - and gaining practical experience in turning out ultra-low power chips at a very high volume. Not only is that going to provide Intel with a heap of information about low-power chip production, but also provide it with a better understanding for realising its vision of taking the lion's share of the burgeoning internet of things market - a critical objective for Intel.
Ultimately the deal serves as a warning shot to the pure-play foundries that it has the technology to lead, fills its fabs with production while they're running low, and provides Intel with the crucial experience needed to tackle the ultra-low power market.
"It's a good learning curve," says Penn. "They'll be building some of this stuff and also gaining huge amounts of data on real-life products that they're selling."
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