Nvidia, makers of the hugely successful Tegra mobile processors, just announced plans to acquire Icera for $367 million. This is a bold move into Qualcomm’s territory since Icera manufactures wireless modems approved by over 50 cellular carriers worldwide. Icera also has more than 550 patents granted or pending.
According to Phil Carmack of Nvidia, “Icera’s programmable baseband processor architecture will allow NVIDIA and its OEM customers to innovate and adapt signaling algorithms in the rapidly evolving mobile telecommunications market.” Nvidia promises faster time to market for its partners.
This is a big step for Nvidia and is no doubt a direct challenge to Qualcomm’s dominance in the smartphone modem space. The move also represents a little bit of catch-up on Nvidia’s part, since Intel acquired Infineon’s wireless business back in January. No wonder there’s so much activity in this space. Nvidia says the industry is worth $15 billion a year.
Stay tuned for more details.