NVIDIA completes acquisition of MediaQ

NVIDIA corp. acquired privately held wireless/mobile device graphics accelerator chip manufacturer MediaQ for about $US70 million. MediaQ, was launched in 1997 with backing from National Semiconductor, Weston Presidio Capital, Summit Accelerator Fund, Infineon Technologies, El Dorado Ventures and ViVentures. MediaQ sells its semiconductors and complementary software, API’s and drivers for major mobile operating systems (Microsoft PocketPC and SmartPhone, Palm, Symbian) to the main suppliers of mobile phones and PDAs including Mitsubishi, Siemens, DBTel, Dell, HP, Palm, Philips, Sharp, and Sony.

Not only has NVIDIA been using its muscle to move into the workstation market as of late, they now have the means to move into the hot mobile graphics market, apparently having something better to do than pine over letting the XBoxNext slip away. In all a very shrewd marketing move, particularly if they can sell 10’s or even 100’s millions of inexpensive graphics chips. Imagine if your phone or PDA had the power of a TNT2 driving its graphics – now that would be awesome! “As clever as Nvidia is, they probably couldn’t develop the same type of technology that MediaQ has in a reasonable time frame,” said Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, Tiburon, Calif. “A company like Nvidia that makes big, powerful processors with millions of transistors does have a hard time scaling it down into something that’s small and doesn’t consume a lot of power.”

During a conference call with analysts NVIDIA’s president and chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang stated “The transition from 2G to 2.5G and 3G phones will drive the growth of high-resolution color displays and high-resolution cameras, creating demand for full-featured, low-power multimedia chips.” Huang estimated that of the 400 million to 500 million handsets expected to ship this year, the number with color displays could exceed 190 million, up from 54 million last year. Huang expects the acquisition to make NVIDIA a one-stop supplier of graphics and multimedia chips for the PC, consumer, and wireless-mobile markets.

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