SONOMA, Calif. #&151; Another layer of the partnership strategy forged by Microsoft in constructing the Xbox 360 was revealed Tuesday (Aug. 30) when Infineon Technologies said it would supply several key technologies for the system.
Infineon will provide a plug-in memory subsystem, a security controller and, for the separate game-pad controller unit, an ASIC that handles I/O functions and provides wireless connectivity back to the main box.
The three technologies will be housed in several chips, according to Infineon Technologies North America President Robert LeFort. The memory subsystem will carry an Infineon memory controller ASIC. A second ASIC, the wireless and I/O controller, in the game pad, and at least two chips on the system-box motherboard to handle the other end of the wireless interface. It will also support security.
All the chips are based on proprietary Infineon technology, LeFort said.
Infineon has extensive experience in all aspects of the volatile and non-volatile memories, including memory controllers. Through its Smartcard operations it also has extensive experience in authentication, which is used in the security chip.
The group also has a long record in both industry-standard and proprietary wireless links.
Though Infineon has a close working relationship with Xbox processor-chip supplier IBM, the Xbox win stems from a prior relationship with Microsoft, LeFort said.
"Our relationship with Microsoft started with providing optical and wireless capabilities to their mouse group," he said. "We have a track record in providing very low-cost, high-reliability short-range wireless links for their hardware. When they needed an inexpensive but elegant wireless connection for the Xbox, they turned again to us. And they found that we had the memory control and security expertises they needed as well."