Yesterday, Nvidia announced its acquisition of Icera, a UK based company that specialises in Baseband processors. It has been agreed by both companies for a very impressive $367 million, although it is not expected to complete for another 30 days.
Nvidia gains access to some of the world’s most impressive hardware and software Baseband technology around. Many analysts believe that Icera’s technology will gain a significant gain in marketshare in the upcoming 4G revolution, and the acquisition by Nvidia only strengthens its position.
Nvidia, once just a GPU company, is now transforming itself into a clone of Qualcomm. It now has its own ARM architecture license, it’s own mobile GPU technology and now its own Baseband technology. This acquisition is a very smart move by Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, as it will enable it to offer a complete mobile processor solution for their prospective clients.
Back in September 2010, Intel announced their acquisition of Infineon Wireless Division that develops their own Baseband solutions. However, Intel paid a whopping $1.4 billion for their respective technology, which incidentally is based on an ARM processor.
Very little has been said about this news item considering how important it really is. This isn’t just an acquisition; this is a game changing acquisition for Nvidia. In the future they will be able to offer a complete ARM solution to their customers. Qualcomm and its Board of Directors will be worried about this, but it will not have come as a surprise to them. It was well known in the industry that Nvidia was looking to acquire this technology.
For us, this news just backs up everything we know to be true in the consumer electronics industry today; everything must be integrated into a small and most power-efficient processor. If you can’t provide an integrated solution, then you’re not providing a required solution.
Apple currently uses an Infineon Baseband processor for its current range of gadgets such as the iPad2 and iPhone 4. It remains to be seen if they decide to switch to another companies design or actually acquire their own technology. We are sure we will find out later in 2011.
AMD, the x86 and GPU expert has no such technology at their disposal and looks like it could be on the road to nowhere if it doesn’t soon realise that everything is going mobile. 2012 could be a really tough year for them if ARM continues to march into x86 territory. Exciting times.