Sony slurps Altair Semiconductor to make 'things' sing

LTE and IoT tied up in string, these are just two of our favourite things


Sony has put US$212 million on the table to buy LTE silicon vendor Altair Semiconductor.

The Israeli chip developer runs the gamut from 200 Kbps low-power (and low-cost) Internet of Things comms chips up to 450 Mbps chipsets for base stations, mobile Internet and motor vehicle applications.

In December, the takeover target opened an R&D center in Taiwan. It had a major win in November, with Korea Telecom anointing its FourGee-1160 chipset to support its under-development smart meter and GPS tracking services.

At the time, Korea Telecom said it needs a 10-year battery life for cellular-connected smart meters to make sense, so an ultra-low-power 4G Cat-1 comms chipset is a key chunk of the development work.

Sony says it wants to combine products already in its range, such as satnav and image sensing products, with Altair's modem chip to create cellular-connected sensing devices.

Sony's due to announce its Q3 financials on Friday. It says the acquisition, due to close in February, shouldn't have any material impact on its fiscal year ending March 31.

2016 has started with a bit of a bang, in terms of merger and acquisition activity, with Microchip buying Atmel, Imation putting big chunks of itself on the block, and Juniper buying BTI Systems, to name just a few. ®

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