Saturday, April 18, 2015

ARM Acquires Two Bluetooth Companies To Strengthen IoT Capabilities

ARM, the leading designer of mobile chips, announced the acquisition of two Bluetooth companies, and created a new portfolio of low-power wireless communication technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT). 

The UK-based chip designer has acquired Wicentric, a Bluetooth smart stack and profile provider, and Sunrise Micro Device (SMD), a provider of sub-one volt Bluetooth radio intellectual property (IP). Financial terms of the agreements have not been disclosed, but ARM said that both companies' IP will be combined with the firm's existing processors to form the ARM Cordio portfolio.

ARM said it will leverage the work both companies have done with Bluetooth to create the ARM Cordio portfolio of low-power radio solutions. The Cordio name originates from Sunrise Micro Devices, which produces Cordio wireless products such as its Bluetooth 4.0 CMOS radios, Wicentric meanwhile provides the Bluetooth smart software. 

Bob Morris, vice president of sales and marketing , Sunrise Micro Devices, said in a statement that: "By partnering with Wicentric, a proven software provider in the Bluetooth space, [Sunrise Micro Devices] can offer exactly what the IoT market needs – a complete Bluetooth Smart radio IP solution," and also said that: "Together, we will foster the ecosystem of Bluetooth Smart products by enabling innovative product features while reducing interoperability risk and time-to-market." 

Founded and run by several members of Motorola Labs, Sunrise Micro Devices (SMD) is a privately held provider of radio IP solutions  including a pre-qualified, self-contained radio block and related firmware to simplify radio deployment. 

Wicentric is a privately held provider of Bluetooth Smart software solutions, which focused on enabling the development of low-power wireless technology. Wicentric's product includes Bluetooth protocol stack and profile for creating interoperable smart products and the link layer of silicon integration.

ARM, which known for its industry-leading smartphone chips, has been busy beefing up its IoT presence in the past few months. The company has been on a buying spree. Earlier this year, it bought Offspark, a Netherlands-based security software company. Offspark is the company behind PolarSSL technology, an open source SSL library that is used in a variety of device. PolarSSL technology (according to the company) is the most widely deployed transport layer security system (TLS) for encrypting traffic between for embedded devices.

Last year it acquired Duolog Technologies, a developer of electronic design automation tools for SoC (system-on-chip). And earlier this year its teamed up with giant IBM to reduce common barrier in building IoT products, and launched its mBed starter kit (a kit for building Iot prototypes). In addition, ARM also teamed up with Tencent Games to improve graphics found in mobile gaming.

ARM isn't the only chip company chasing  the fast-growing market for IoT technologies. Mobile chip giant Qualcomm is also on the hunt, last year  Qualcomm announced a deal to acquire UK-based CSR, which also builds Bluetooth chipsets.

About ARM Holdings
ARM is a UK-based multinational semiconductor and software design company. Based in Cambridge, England, ARM is a leading designer of mobile processors. Unlike the most traditional microprocessor players, such as Intel and Freescale, ARM only designs and licenses its technology as IP rather than manufacturing and selling its own physical CPUs, GPUs and SoCs. 

Image Credit: I4U News

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