Broadcom Enters Fast-Growing GPS Market with Single-Chip Solutions Targeted at Personal Navigation Devices and Mobile Phones.
Broadcom Corporation announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Global Locate, Inc., a privately-held, fabless provider of global positioning system (GPS) and assisted GPS (A-GPS) semiconductor products and software. GPS is expected to join Bluetooth and similar wireless technologies as a pervasive feature in next generation mobile devices. Global Locate's semiconductor solutions are used in mobile phones from leading cellular handset makers and incorporated into products from TomTom NV, the largest personal navigation device (PND) vendor in the world.
GPS products and location based services (LBS) are increasing in popularity with consumers and cellular service providers as both take advantage of the ability to identify exact geographical location by means of faint radio signals transmitted from a system of orbiting satellites. Growing consumer interest in these applications is driving the GPS chip market, which is expected to grow to $1.07 billion annually by 2012 according to market research firm Forward Concepts. The latest generation of PNDs provides location, points of interest and turn-by-turn navigation, features that are attracting increasing adoption among consumers. Cellular service providers also plan to incorporate GPS chips in mobile phones to meet government regulations for emergency 911 calls and to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) with location based services.
Broadcom expects the demand for GPS devices to increase dramatically as the deployment of GPS in mobile phones increases. Combining Global Locate's GPS technology with Broadcom's leading Bluetooth, Wi-Fi®, cellular and other mobile technologies will provide leading handset makers with wireless connectivity solutions that add significant value to feature and smart phone products.
Global Locate has focused on GPS chip and navigation technology since it was founded in 1999. The company is currently producing its third generation of GPS chips and has developed a worldwide GPS reference network that provides assistance data to its A-GPS-equipped chips via cellular data channels (GPRS or 3G), boosting performance and reducing the time required to determine a location by up to 100 times.
"With the acquisition of Global Locate, Broadcom will be the only semiconductor supplier in the world with top-tier customers in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM radio and GPS, four of the key wireless technologies now being added to next generation mobile phones," said Robert A. Rango, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's Wireless Connectivity Group. "We are also pleased to add Global Locate's strong patent portfolio of over 175 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents to our already robust patent portfolio."
"The combination of Global Locate's navigation expertise with Broadcom's well-known leadership in CMOS RF technology will enable Broadcom to develop a new generation of standalone GPS chips as well as GPS chips that incorporate other wireless standards, accelerating the adoption of GPS into all sorts of consumer devices," said Scott D. Pomerantz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Locate. "Joining with Broadcom and its leading position in wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, we can accelerate the penetration of Global Locate's GPS technology into mobile phones and at the same time accelerate the penetration of Broadcom's other wireless products into personal navigation devices."
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