Qualcomm said it has bought startup chip designer Wilocity to bring a faster, short-distance wireless technology to mobile devices. The price wasn’t disclosed.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Wilocity was founded in 2007 to make faster Wi-Fi chips, dubbed WiGig. It uses the 60 gigahertz spectrum to transfer data at gigabit speeds over a relatively short distance, such as between a tablet and a PC or TV in a living room.
WiGig can offer speeds several times faster than traditional Wi-fi, but it can’t penetrate walls and transmit across an entire house. WiGig is viewed as a candidate to replace physical cables such as the HDMI cables that connect a set-top box to a TV or a computer to a display. One of the users is to transfer 4K video from a smartphone to a television without a lot of lag. But the WiGig network wouldn’t have as long a range as Wi-Fi. Wilocity said its chips can get up to 4 gigabits to 5 gigabits per second, compared to hundreds of megabits a second for Wi-Fi.
Qualcomm hopes to integrate Wi-Fi and WiGig signals into its Snapdragon mobile chips in the first half of next year.
“Qualcomm is continually innovating and investing in leadership technologies to drive value for our customers while creating new growth opportunities for our mobile, computing and networking platforms. WiGig will play an important role in Qualcomm’s strategy to address consumers’ increasingly sophisticated smartphone, tablet and computing requirements to support applications—such as immediate streaming of 4K video and high throughput peer-to-peer communication to enable the next generation of social interactions between users sharing content,” said Amir Faintuch, president, Qualcomm Atheros, in a statement. “Combining multi-gigabit speeds and low energy use, WiGig technology will strengthen Qualcomm Atheros’ connectivity leadership and create exciting new experiences that will accelerate the commercialization and adoption of 802.11ad technology.”
Qualcomm Atheros invested in Wilocity in 2008.
“Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity have a successful history of collaboration and share a culture of invention,” said Tal Tamir, chief executive officer, Wilocity. “The Wilocity team will build upon Qualcomm’s strengths and leadership to collaboratively deliver innovative wireless technology for mobile, computing and networking customers to address the needs of an increasingly connected world. We are excited to join forces to take our 60 GHz vision to the next level and scale.”