Nvidia snatches up wireless chip firm

Slowly but surely, Nvidia is easing into its new role as a purveyor of silicon for handheld devices. Amid the success of its Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip, which now powers a number of slates and an LG phone, Nvidia says it has agreed to purchase wireless broadband chip design firm Icera.

The $376-million cash deal has already been approved by the two companies' boards, and it should close in 30 days. For the unacquainted, Nvidia introduces Icera as a firm with wireless modem products "approved by more than 50 carriers across the globe" and "more than 550" patents to its name.

Nvidia says outright that it will "combin[e] the companies' products and technologies, including NVIDIA's Tegra processor." No need to speculate about the ramifications of that move, either, because Nvidia has already taken care of it:

By offering the two main processors used in smartphones (the application processor and baseband processor), the combined company will help OEM customers both improve their time to market and deliver the requirements of next-generation mobile computing. NVIDIA will also have approximately doubled its revenue opportunity within each device.

If Nvidia can offer handset makers a juicy package deal on Tegra 3 processors and wireless modems, I'm guessing the LG Optimus 2X definitely won't be the last Tegra-powered phone.

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