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nVidia to spend $367m in Icera takeover

nVidia are keen to target the mobile market and have announced plans to take over Icera, a baseband processor developer based in Bristol in the UK. The deal will cost them $367 million.

Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun Huang said “This is a key step in Nvidia’s plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution.”

Phil Carmack, Nvidia’s senior vice president of IT mobile business unit said “This is a significant step forward in Nvidia’s strategy to be the processor company for the post-PC era.”

So why the interest in a company many readers will never have heard of ? Icera are well respected in the industry and their Livanto ICE8060 baseband chip handles all modem functions in software in what is called the deep execution processor (DXP). This is housed in a 8mm by 8mm package that can scale by software upgrades from 7.2 Mbps HSPA 8 up to category 24 42 Mbps HSPA+ and 50 Mbps multimode LTE.

Carmack added “It appears that Icera will quickly emerge as the third most successful supplier of LTE basebands and chipsets, well ahead of Infineon, MediaTek, Broadcom, the Japanese suppliers and a host of start-ups.”

This is quite a statement, especially when factoring in that Intel bought Infineon for $1.4 billion, almost four times the cost of the nVidia deal for Icera, who hold 550 patents worldwide.

Nvidia look to have a very strong future in the mobile space with the quad core Tegra 3 ‘Project Kal-El’ launching in a few months time, with five times the performance of Tegra 2. Looking further ahead, Nvidia are going to launch Wayne in 2012, Logan in 2013 and Stark in 2014. The last Stark Tegra will apparently have 75 times the power of Tegra 2.

Nvidia also added in their statement By offering the two main processors used in smartphones (the application processor and baseband processor), the combined company will help OEM customers both improve their time to market and deliver the requirements of next-generation mobile computing. Nvidia will also have approximately doubled its revenue opportunity within each device.”

KitGuru says: It seems a very good buy for Nvidia.

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