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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Dialog buys Korean low power WiFi chip designer, adds NB-IoT

By Nick Flaherty

Dialog Semiconductor is to buy the Mobile Communications Business of memory controller chip designer Silicon Motion for $45m. The FCI business designs RF chips, including an ultra low power WiFi chip and narrowband cellular RF chips for the Internet of Things (IoT).

FCI mainly designs RF tuner-demodulators for smartphones, tablets and automotive Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) but also launched the FC9000 WiFi chip, ramping production in Q4 of 2018 along with a range of modules specifically for battery powered designs in the IoT.

The deal sits alongside Dialog's Bluetooth chip business, which has shipped over 250 million units into IoT applications. The addition of Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi allows for combo-devices.

"The acquisition of Silicon Motion's Mobile Communications product line provides Dialog customers with Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi SoCs and complete modules that are certified and designed to meet the demands of today's battery powered IoT devices," said CEO Jalal Bagherli. "Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi is a strong strategic fit for Dialog with the opportunity to combine Wi-Fi and Bluetooth low energy chips and modules selling into our complementary IoT, consumer and automotive markets." Bagherli added, "we are excited to welcome the Mobile Communications team to Dialog. Together, we will increase the value we can bring to our customers by building a more diversified low-power connectivity offering."

In addition to the current product lines, the acquisition also brings to Dialog a broad range of new technologies and engineering capabilities with extensive design expertise in RF wireless communications for cellular 4G and 5G, Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) transceiver, power amplifiers and deep sub-micron chip design. Combined with Dialog's extensive configurable mixed signal, low power and connectivity expertise, this acquisition will provide a platform to create and combine a range of new products.

The acquired group is primarily located near Seoul, South Korea. It shipped over 65 million SoCs in 2018 and can be found in many leading smartphone models.

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