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Acquisition of Cognovo Gives u-blox Own 4G Chip Technology

June 28, 2012  - By
Image: GPS World

u-blox, a positioning and wireless semiconductors, announces the acquisition of UK-based Cognovo Ltd., a company specializing in software defined modem (SDM) chip development technology. The acquisition extends u-blox’ chip design capabilities to create differentiated products for strategic markets that require 4G communications combined with global positioning.


“This is a very exciting acquisition for u-blox as it positions us as an agile and cost-effective supplier of high-speed wireless modem products based on our own chip IP. This allows us to meet market demand for connected systems that require positioning, connectivity and application-specific functionality on a single integrated circuit,” said Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO. “This new foundation broadens our serviceable market, and will increase our margins in the automotive, consumer, and industrial sectors. Our first 4G product is planned for 2013.”


Cognovo’s Software Defined Modem (SDM) technology and development tools quickly translate complex radio modem designs into fully characterized low-power semiconductor chips, u-blox said. The combination of technologies from Cognovo and the recently acquired 4M Wireless will result in a new wireless modem platform based on IP owned by u-blox.


Cognovo has already demonstrated its SDM baseband chip running high-speed 4G cellular functionality working with the LTE protocol stack from 4M Wireless at Mobile World Congress. With these acquisitions, u‑blox lays the groundwork for establishing a leading position in 4G wireless modems similar to the strategy that u-blox followed to become a market leader in GPS/GNSS modules, u-blox said. The market for 4G modems used for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications is predicted to grow rapidly, surpassing 20 million units by 2016.


“We are very pleased to deploy our SDM technology within u-blox,” said Gordon Aspin, Cognovo CEO. “With over 300 man-years of R&D invested in our SDM technology, this acquisition brings together the industry’s most advanced software modem development platform with some of the best IC design and GNSS engineers in the world. This will be an unbeatable team.”


Key terms of the transaction include:

  • Acquisition of 100% of the shares of Cognovo Ltd at a price of 16.5 million US.
  • Acquisition of key intellectual property and software.
  • Integration of the Cognovo business and 30 employees into u-blox’ organization.