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Sony Buys 4G IoT Chip Specialist Altair

Ray Le Maistre
1/28/2016

Sony has announced its intention to play a key role in the cellular IoT sector with the $212 million acquisition of 4G chip specialist Altair Semiconductor.

Altair Semiconductor is one of the few chip companies to have focused its R&D on developing single-mode, LTE-only chipsets (that do not include support for 3G or 2G). Its developments have been particularly focused on low-power baseband LTE products, such as its range of FourGee chipsets that have been tested and demonstrated by the likes of Ericsson and KT Corp. (Korea Telecom) and are designed for IoT/M2M applications on 4G networks. (See Ericsson, Altair Demo LTE Cat-1 Power Save Mode for IoT.)

Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) believes that Altair's existing business -- it has its chipsets integrated into multiple M2M and mobile hotspot devices -- can be expanded and that its technology can be used to help expand Sony's existing work on sensing technologies (such as image sensors) and develop "a new breed of cellular-connected, sensing component devices."

Other companies that have developed LTE-only chipsets include Sequans and GCT Semiconductor Inc.

The acquisition is expected to close in early February. Altair has raised about $124 million from investors such as Jerusalem Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners since it was founded in 2005.

For more on this topic, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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