Wireless/DSP Newsletter

by Will Strauss

Qualcomm to Acquire NXP Semiconductors?

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Qualcomm is in talks to acquire NXP Semiconductors. It is obvious that Qualcomm is seeking to expand into markets beyond cellphones and there has been speculation about what acquisition would make sense for the San Diego-based company.

Eindhoven-based NXP would be an appropriate target because it has a very broad product portfolio which could broaden Qualcomm’s market coverage. For example, it would expand Qualcomm’s automotive market by moving from its current dashboard play to engine and body control as well. And NXP became the number one chip supplier to the automotive market after its Freescale acquisition. That Freescale acquisition also brought to NXP a significant microcontroller portfolio and wireless infrastructure DSPs, including small-cell base station chips necessary for the 5G cellular infrastructure market.

Qualcomm has a market value of about $95 billion and NXP’s market value is about $32 billion. The deal could close within the next two or three months, but the outcome is by no means certain.

CEVA intros 5th Gen DSP Imaging & Vision Technology

CEVA has introduced a new DSP-based offering bringing deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to low-powered embedded systems. Centered around a new imaging and vision DSP, the CEVA-XM6, the company provides a scalable integrated hardware and software platform to allow developers to harness the power of neural networks and machine vision for smartphones, autonomous vehicles, surveillance, robots, drones and other camera-enabled smart devices. By providing a new vector processor and scalar unit, substantial instruction set enhancements, improved memory bandwidth and direct memory access (DMA), the new XM6 is said to provide up to 8x higher performance for neural network workloads and up to 3x performance improvement across all computer kernels compared to the earlier CEVA-XM4.

LeEco: Apple-sized Ambitions

LeEco…”is a company with Apple-sized ambitions had a coming out party of sorts at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas. This company recently: acquired Vizio for $2 billion; opened up an 80,000 square foot office in Silicon Valley; spent $250 million to buy land in Santa Clara from Yahoo, which can house up to 12,000 employees; hired top talent from Samsung, Qualcomm, Ferrari, and Paramount; and has acquired a controlling stake in Coolpad, the world’s 6th largest mobile phone manufacturer.” That’s an excerpt from my colleague Mark Lowenstein’s latest newsletter, which I believe you will find to be a must-read.

FAST to Improve on Arecibo

No doubt, you’ve seen the news that China has completed the world’s largest radio telescope, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope or FAST in southern Guizhou province. The giant dish is tucked in a natural karst basin, similar to the natural karst basin in Puerto Rico that houses Arecibo, previously the largest radio telescope. The karst hills and mountains surrounding the radio telescopes provide a natural shield from outside interference. Details of FAST are available on-line, including the fact that tourist facilities on a nearby mountain are now complete.

I’ll have to visit FAST and compare the experience with my visit to Arecibo described in my April 2013 newsletter (under “Smartphones Killing off Compact Cameras”)

As always, I encourage your feedback.

Will Strauss
President & Principal Analyst
Forward Concepts


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