Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) proved that it still has the chops to be a leader in chip design. But the company may hand off its new technology to other companies rather than seek to boost its own standing in the highly competitive chip market. On Tuesday, the Palo Alto, Calif., company announced research for a new chip architecture dubbed "field programmable nanowire interconnect," which H-P said would allow chip technology to leapfrog three generations ahead of the industry's current path. The technology, details of which will be published in a British journal later this month, provides an innovative means of boosting performance by shrinking the circuits that connect the transistors on a chip. H-P's new chip architecture is specifically geared for FPGAs, or field programmable gate arrays, a type of chip used in communications and consumer electronics products. According to H-P, the new technology could be commercially viable by 2010. Dave Berman, a spokesman for H-P Labs, says the company has not yet decided whether it will actually produce a prototype of chips based on the new design itself. (Tuesday's announcement is based on modeling and simulations, as is customary at the initial stages of development.) H-P is more likely to barter the intellectual property to other chipmakers, perhaps in exchange for the right to use other patents, than it is to use the technology itself, reckons Richard Doherty, research director at industry research firm The Envisioneering Group.