Southwest innovation snapped up

May 12, 2011 by
Filed under: News 

Two innovative SouthWest silicon chip companies has been bought have been bought in recent weeks.

NVIDIA of California is buying Bristol mobile phone chip designer Icera for $367m, while Gennum of Canada is buying Nanotech Semiconductor, also in Bristol, for $34m.

The Icera deal allows NVIDIA add baseband and RF capability to its Tegra microprocessors to put into tablet PCs, giving them ‘always on’ data connections “This is a key step in NVIDIA’s plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, President and CEO of NVIDIA. “Adding Icera’s technology to Tegra gives us an outstanding platform to support the industry’s best phones and tablets.”
Icera has more than 550 patents granted or pending worldwide, and its high speed wireless-modem products have been approved by more than 50 carriers across the globe. “Icera is a perfect fit for NVIDIA. Our businesses are complementary. Icera has the right team, with a strong, proven track record. And their nimble, entrepreneurial, engineering-focused culture mirrors our own,” said Huang.
“NVIDIA’s Tegra processor has the most impressive roadmap in the industry, and it is an ideal match for Icera,” said Stan Boland, President and CEO of Icera. “As part of NVIDIA, we will be able to reach a broader market. Our team has collaborated closely with NVIDIA for several years on a range of projects, and we’re delighted to be joining forces.”
Icera is one of the prominent players in the mobile broadband market, in particular the US market, say Sravan Kundojjala & Christopher Taylor, Analysts at Strategy Analytics, pointing out that “Icera’s soft modem basebands gained good traction among European and North American wireless operators in 2010 for the current 3G and next generation (known as LTE) of mobile broadband. Although the chips have not made it into mobile phone handsets, a version that supports voice is due out at the end of the year.

This follows the $34m acquisition of Nanotech last month. The company designs chips for communications networks.


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