Ken Kutaragi, creator of the PlayStation and current CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, outlined the genesis and future of the Cell chip underlying the PlayStation 3 to the Electronic Engineering Times Asia [part of CMP, as is Gamasutra.com]. The Cell chip was co-produced with IBM and Toshiba, and will see its first use in consumer electronics from those three companies.
Kutaragi's comments to the EETimes indicate that he hopes to use the PlayStation 3 as a launch pad to something bigger, but his wishes tend more toward a computing revolution rather than entertainment convergence. As Kutaragi states, "Though sold as a game console, what will in fact enter the home is a Cell-based computer."
Kutaragi also gave an explanation of the Cell's strengths as a processor for laymen: " The model image for the Cell-based network may be the Internet: Servers around the world form one virtual 'computer,' and each PC accesses it." High security measures are built into the processor to prevent malicious code from infecting connected clusters of Cell-based machines; to prevent direct access to the processor itself, said the executive, "Application programs can no longer directly access the hardware; instead they will have to be written in high-level, object-oriented language."
After explaining how it works, Kutaragi made lofty predictions for the Cell's future. "The Cell processor will completely change the concept of programming," he claimed, and that "I am sure that a technology revolution is about to occur, not only within Sony but throughout the digital consumer electronics industry."
Other topics discussed were his recent presentation at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference and working with IBM engineers to create the Cell. The full interview is available at the EE Times' website