An alliance of high-technology companies led by IBM, and based here in East Fishkill, N.Y., has once again broken barriers to the next generation of chip technology.

The alliance members, including AMD, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Freescale, Infineon and Samsung, span five countries.

The companies announced a unique approach to building 32-nanometer chips based on high-k metal gate transistors which in turn will make those next-generation chips smaller, more powerful and much more energy efficient. How small is 32 nanometers? Well, the diameter of a human hair is 100,000 nanometers and a pinhead is one million, five-hundred thousand nanometers across.

What this means to consumers is that beginning in the second half of 2009, you can expect to see low-power consumer products like laptops, cell phones and cameras that do more and use less energy.

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