Arch rivals Sony and Toshiba are to work with IBM to research developing new semiconductors to power consumer electronics. Actually, they have already been doing so since 2000, and now plan to extend the efforts until 2010 at least. They will be working on developing chips 32 nanometres or less.

Smaller chips allow manufacturers to produce faster, smaller and more energy-efficient devices while lowering costs.

The trio's partnership has already produced the Cell chip, which will power Sony's new Playstation 3, which is to hit the market this year.