Qualcomm Purchases Assets of Motion-Sensing Specialist GestureTek

By Beecher Tuttle July 25, 2011

Mobile chip maker Qualcomm has agreed to acquire various technology and engineering assets from GestureTek, a longtime developer of motion-sensing technologies.

The deal will enable San Diego-based Qualcomm to incorporate gesture recognition technologies into its Snapdragon processors, which are used in many of today’s smartphones, tablets and other entertainment and communication devices.

The intellectual property acquisition should eventually allow Qualcomm customers to build Wii-like motion control systems into mobile devices, and could change the way that apps and games are consumed by users.

“Applications processors are enabling a range of new ways for consumers to interface with their home entertainment and mobile devices,” Steve Mollenkopf, executive vice president and group president, Qualcomm, said in a statement.

“Our acquisition of key technology and assets from GestureTek will strengthen Qualcomm’s smartphone product portfolio and enable our customers to launch products with new and compelling user experiences,” he added.

In addition to the intellectual property rights, Qualcomm will take on some of GestureTek’s engineering resources to help the company incorporate the technology into its own product line. However, GestureTek will retain patents and other assets related to its gesture-controlled public display and digital signage business. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

GestureTek has been a patent holder of gesture recognition technologies for more than 25 years, and has helped companies like Microsoft, Sony, NTT and Hasbro integrate motion-sensing into their products over the years, according to TechCrunch.

The acquisition is another step forward in Qualcomm’s strategy of expanding its reach beyond traditional mobile phones. The move comes six months after the chip maker spent $3.1 billion to acquire Atheros, a developer or semiconductor solutions related to WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS technologies.

The two deals should help Qualcomm tap deeper into the thriving markets for smartphones, tablets and Web-enabled entertainment devices.

“We’ve been pushing a lot of capabilities into [mobile] phones,” Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs told eWeek soon after the Atheros acquisition. “Now we see these capabilities going out to all sorts of other devices.”

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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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