Sony to Buy Chipmaker Altair, Aiming at Internet of Things

| Updated
by Eugenia Romanenko · 3 min read
Sony to Buy Chipmaker Altair, Aiming at Internet of Things
Photo: TechStage/Flickr

Sony Corp to acquire Israel’s Altair Semiconductor Ltd making a great push to its Internet of Things aim.

Altair has modem chip technology and related software for LTE (Long Term Evolution), a 4G cellular standard for mobile devices. Sony says that the company is particularly interested  in Altair’s products that stand out for their low power consumption, high performance and competitive cost.

The Internet of Things implicates putting communications capabilities into sensors providing readouts on temperature, motion etc. Some of them are plugged in, but many aren’t. In fact, nobody wants to be recharging batteries in these things all the time. It’s a known fact that power consumption is a major issue.

With the acquisition of Altair, Sony aims to not only expand Altair’s existing business, but also to move forward with research on and development of new sensing technologies. By combining Sony’s sensing technologies – such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and image sensors – with Altair’s high-performance, low power consumption and cost-competitive modem chip technology, and by further evolving both, Sony will strive to develop a new breed of cellular-connected, sensing component devices, reads the company’s press release.

Actually, it’s obvious that Sony is shifting its focus away from the consumer electronics division that it once dominated the world over to other areas as diverse as video games, movies and image sensors. Earlier, Sony exited the personal computing segment that was once epitomised by the Vaio range of laptops. Sony has also revised its television business with the focus now almost entirely in the high-end Ultra-HD segment, according to Inferse.

It’s necessary to add that earlier Sony bought Brussels-based company Softkinetic Systems that deals with range image sensor technology. The company uses the time-of-flight (ToF) range method to estimate the exact distance an object is located at. Sony is going to use the technology for powering sensing-related devices.

So far, Sony’s willing to invest in the chipset industry can become a smart move in view of the current trend to “bring more gadgets under the ambit of being smart.” Cellular chips will be the central part of various self-communicating devices as Sony is already positioning itself to deal with the increasing number of requests.

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