nVidia yesterday announced the acquisition of baseband processor designer Icera. The deal costs $367 million in cash and has been mutually agreed upon by the boards of directors of both companies. It is expected to be completed in about 30 days. NVIDIA anticipates positive effects of the acquisition to materialize already in the second half of the year, with strong synergies going forward.
With the acquisition NVIDIA gets hold of more than 550 patents related to various baseband technologies, that are either granted or pending worldwide. Also it gives NVIDIA the possibility to offer both the application processor referring to the SOCs employed which combine CPU, GPU and chipset features and the baseband processor which is used to provide wireless connectivity to the outside world via various technologies. According to NVIDIA, the market for baseband processors is one of the fastest growing markets with an estimated $15 billion worth per year."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."
He continued "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."
Now that NVIDIA can offer their Tegra SoCs along with a baseband processor this can improve time to market, doubles NVIDIAs revenue opportunity and allow them to better optimize those chips when used together. However, Huang noted that existing cooperations with other providers of baseband chips will be continued and customer preferences be respected. So it seems unlikely that NVIDIA would integrate the baseband functionality directly into the Tegra SOCs. Still, the aim of the move seems clear. NVIDIA is gearing up to be a formidable competitor to phone chip powerhouses like Qualcomm and their ultra-successful Snapdragon platform.
The 4G Landscape just became very interesting indeed.
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