S3, where are you?
What happened to S3? In the last two years, the company bought Diamond Multimedia, released the Savage2000, exited the 3D graphics business, and changed its name to SONICblue. How is it that S3 is still announcing 3D graphics products when the company is supposed to be SONICblue, and out of the 3D market? We sat down with Paul Ayscough, S3's VP of Corporate Marketing, to figure out the answer.
When S3 exited the 3D business it transferred all of its graphics assets into a new joint venture with VIA. The new company, S3 Graphics Inc., is owned by both S3 and VIA. You can read details about the deal in the original press release and the update. The non-graphics portion of S3 changed its name to SONICblue to indicate its new focus on the Rio MP3 and Internet appliance products.
The S3 building (now SONICblue)
The new S3 Graphics joint venture can be described as S3 technology combined with VIA's vision. S3 Graphics is still dedicated to creating 3D cores, but product strategy will be aligned with VIA's outlook.
VIA is promoting the concept of the "Information PC," an extremely low cost PC that bridges the gap between Internet appliances and traditional desktop PCs. The cost savings will come primarily through integration, putting more functions onto the North Bridge and South Bridge. VIA sees these low cost Information PCs as the entry systems for the rest of the world. S3, of course, will provide the graphics cores for these highly integrated products.
After answering the basic "What is S3 Graphics?" question, the topic of discussion moved on to S3's new SuperSavage discrete mobile chip.