HomeChipsetsNordic to bring IoT RAM expertise in-house with deal for US firm Mobile Semiconductor

Nordic to bring IoT RAM expertise in-house with deal for US firm Mobile Semiconductor

Nordic Semiconductor has announced it is to acquire US firm Mobile Semiconductor, a specialist in embedded memory technology for microcontrollers (MCUs) and systems-on-chip (SoCs). Mobile Semiconductor already supplies static RAM (SRAM) memory-hardware in all of Nordic’s wireless IoT devices including its nRF52 and nRF53 series Bluetooth SoCs and nRF91 series cellular IoT system in package (SiP).

Nordic makes cellular-based long-range wide-area (LPWA) NB-IoT and LTE-M products, alongside (and crossed with) a legacy line of short-range IoT modules, including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth mesh, Zigbee, Matter, and OpenThread, plus proprietary 802.15.4 protocols. The Norwegian outfit said the inclusion of parts from Mobile Semiconductor, optimised for low-power operation in IoT hardware, have been a point of difference for its products.

A statement said: “Mobile Semiconductor has a market-proven track record of delivering ultra-low power-performance-optimised, leading-edge static RAM (SRAM) memory technology for various MCUs and SoCs.” The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, pending US government approval.

Svein-Egil Nielsen, chief technology officer and executive vice president of R&D and strategy at Nordic Semiconductor, commented: “We are very excited to bring on-board this world class team, recognized as an industry leader in optimised, low voltage embedded SRAM designs – a team we know intimately from years of working together. Mobile Semiconductor’s SRAM has been a key differentiator [for us]. When the opportunity to bring this critical expertise in-house arose, it was a no-brainer to proceed and make this latest acquisition.”

Kjetil Holstad, executive vice president of product management at Nordic Semiconductor, explained: “Ultra-low power operation is a vital sustainability requirement in IoT. And critical for enabling what Nordic’s wireless IoT silicon is so good at underpinning: portable and remote IoT applications that are only made environmentally and commercially viable if they can run for years and years on small batteries.”

He went on: “But as IoT applications continue to become ever more capable and high performance, memory has become an increasingly vital ingredient of the ultra-low power mix. Nordic has relied on Mobile Semiconductor’s embedded SRAM technology for many years to achieve this. Bringing that expertise in-house will position us extremely well when it comes to developing highly optimised future products. These products will continue to maintain Nordic’s industry-leading ultra-low power-performance ratios.”

Cameron Fisher, chief executive at Mobile Semiconductor, added: “As the technology becomes more advanced, customers benefit from the resources larger companies have to continuously invest in R&D. We believe Mobile Semiconductor has grown as far as it can as a private company and now needs a company like Nordic Semiconductor to take our memory architectures to the next level. Nordic Semiconductor’s leadership in providing low power and low leakage devices is the perfect match for Mobile Semiconductor and this acquisition extends our technology’s reach.”

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