Connecting some tech news dots

27 February: Freescale announces a KL02 ARM chip, just 2mm across.

Freescale says that the KL02 was specifically designed in response to a customer’s request. (They aren’t saying who.) There was a need for a chip smaller than 3 by 3 mm and this was the result. Who needs a chip this tiny? We look forward to finding out — we think.

When a component manufacturer dare not speak the name of its customer, you can make a pretty good guess who they’re talking about. Sure enough, just a week later, we discover the answer: Apple’s Lightning connector to HDMI adaptor is taken apart, and discovered to have a tiny ARM chip inside.

So let’s review: when Apple decided to switch connectors on the iPhone, they could have gone with Micro USB and MHL. After all, they already agreed to adopt Micro USB for charging back in 2009. Adding MHL would have allowed them to stream full 1080p/60 HDMI through a Micro USB connector.

But no, instead they went with a new proprietary Apple-only connector. And they made it so crap that it can’t stream 1080p. So now they have to stick an ARM CPU in every high-priced adaptor cable, to decode MPEG-compressed video. Never mind the artifacts that result, Apple gets to charge connector licensing fees, and that’s what’s important.

What a horrible piece of proprietary engineering.