Atheros Communications Buys u-Nav

Continuing a trend of GPS technology acquisitions designed to facilitate mixed technology wireless products, Atheros Communications has announced a definitive agreement to buy the assets of u-Nav Microelectronics, an Irvine, California–based fabless GPS semiconductor company.

Atheros, with headquarters in Santa Clara, California, is a nine-year-old developer of wireless semiconductor products, including 802.11 standard-based wireless local area network (WLAN), Bluetooth, and personal handy-phone system (PHS) equipment.

Continuing a trend of GPS technology acquisitions designed to facilitate mixed technology wireless products, Atheros Communications has announced a definitive agreement to buy the assets of u-Nav Microelectronics, an Irvine, California–based fabless GPS semiconductor company.

Atheros, with headquarters in Santa Clara, California, is a nine-year-old developer of wireless semiconductor products, including 802.11 standard-based wireless local area network (WLAN), Bluetooth, and personal handy-phone system (PHS) equipment.

The move is reminiscent of Broadcom’s recent acquisition of Global Locate, and the earlier purchases of NordNav by CSR, IBM Semiconductor’s GPS technology by RF Micro Devices, and SnapTrack by Qualcomm. It also reflects the rapid growth in integration of GPS onto mobile communication platforms and devices, with wireless manufacturers securing an in-house source of positioning technology that also enables them to reduce their bill of materials (BOM) for integrated products.

u-Nav’s flagship product, the uN3010, is a single-chip GPS receiver that integrates the company’s CMOS RFIC core with its third-generation baseband IC core. The company’s product portfolio includes single-die solutions, several baseband chips and RFICs, and GPS system software solutions providing signal acquisition, tracking, data extraction, and GPS navigation.

With the acquisition of u-Nav, Atheros gains 54 employees located at u-Nav’s California headquarters and its European engineering facility in Tampere, Finland. Fastrax Ltd., of Vantaa, Finland, is a long-time u-Nav customer, currently incorporating the uN8021 RFIC and uN8130 baseband from u-Nav into its iTrax03-02 OEM GPS receiver product line.

Upon closing the transaction, Atheros will also take assignment of the patent cross-license agreement already in place between u-Nav and SiRF Technology, Inc. The cross-licensing agreement, signed last year, resolved a legal dispute between the two companies.

Craig Barratt, president and chief executive officer of Atheros, said of the transaction, “Their engineering team possesses significant RF design expertise on CMOS technology, which complements Atheros’ design capability and culture. With u-Nav’s GPS competency we will deliver . . . wireless solutions that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.”

Greg Winner, formerly chief executive officer of u-Nav, will serve as general manager of Atheros’ GPS business unit.

 

Copyright © 2007 Gibbons Media & Research LLC, all rights reserved.

 

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