u-blox acquires Cognovo for $16.5 million for 4G chip technology

u-blox, a provider of positioning and wireless semiconductors, on Thursday announced 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 products that require 4G communications combined with global positioning.



u-blox, a provider of positioning and wireless semiconductors, on Thursday announced 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 products that require 4G communications combined with global positioning.


 Under the terms of the transaction, u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland) will acquire 100% of the shares of Cognovo Ltd (Melbourn, UK) for $16.5 million and integrate 30 of Cognovo’s employees into its company.


Cognovo’s “Software Defined Modem” (SDM) technology and development tools quickly translate complex radio modem designs into fully characterized low-power semiconductor chips. 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.


According to Roland Jud, CFO of u-blox, the big advantage is that the SDM allows quick translation of a system Design Spec into a modem HW.


“Typical values are that after system design and specification phase which is common to traditional approaches, three months are needed to dimension and verify the SDM platform,” says Jud.  “The following steps are traditional IC design steps comparable to other IC products. Another advantage of the SDM is that it still offers flexibility if later some limited initial specification errors or additional requirements show up.”



The market for 4G modems used for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications is predicted to grow rapidly, surpassing 20 million units by 2016, says u-blox.


“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.”