Nvidia buys modem maker Icera for $367 million

Nvidia hopes to expand its presence in the mobile market by acquiring the 3G/4G radio maker.

Nvidia on Monday said it had agreed to acquire baseband processor maker Icera for US$367 million in cash, a move that could help Nvidia expand its reach in the mobile market.

Nvidia in a statement said the acquisition will allow the company to be a one-stop shop for main application and communication processors used in smartphones and tablets. By offering two main processors, Nvidia's said it could help device makers develop products faster.

Nvidia makes processors for smartphones and tablets such as the Tegra 2 dual-core processor, which is used in Android tablets like Motorola's Xoom and LG's G-Slate. The company has also displayed a quad-core mobile processor code-named Kal El. Icera makes 3G and 4G baseband communication processors for smartphones and tablets.

The acquisition could raise the stakes in Nvidia's competition with companies like Qualcomm and Intel. Qualcomm has said it will integrate a 4G LTE modem in an upcoming Snapdragon chip. When announcing the acquisition of Infineon's wireless division for $1.4 billion in August last year, Intel said it would integrate 3G and 4G radios in its future Atom chips.

Icera's communications processors could ultimately be offered in Nvidia's Tegra chip, wrote Phil Carmack, senior vice president of Nvidia's mobile business unit, in a blog entry.

"Icera's highly efficient architecture makes it possible to cleanly integrate their baseband processor into system and software platforms rapidly and, ultimately, into the super chip itself, if that's the best product approach," Carmack wrote.

The acquisition is subject to closing conditions and expected to be completed in approximately 30 days.

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Tags business issuesIceraMergers / acquisitionstelecommunicationComponentsnvidiaprocessors

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