Qualcomm gets back into custom chip development via NUVIA acquisition

Posted on Thursday, Jan 14 2021 @ 12:59 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Qualcomm announced it has acquired NUVIA, one of the more interesting ARM-based chip startups. Via the $1.4 billion buyout, Qualcomm is getting back into custom CPU development. Earlier generations of the Qualcomm Snapdragon featured custom cores but in recent years the firm didn't go beyond the designs offered by ARM. Qualcomm has been lagging behind Apple in terms of chip development. The latter's custom ARM cores for the smartphone market are better than what Qualcomm has to offer and Apple also stunned the world with the M1 - the first truly interesting ARM-based chip for the computer market.

By buying NUVIA, Qualcomm gets access to a high-class CPU development team to help it to reinvigorate its Snapdragon series. The press release from Qualcomm doesn't mention the datacenter market. NUVIA was focusing on datacenter chips but it seems this isn't the reason why Qualcomm bought the firm.
-- Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NUVIA for approximately $1.4 billion before working capital and other adjustments. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

5G is further accelerating the convergence of mobility and computing. The acquisition of NUVIA builds on Qualcomm Technologies' Snapdragon technology leadership, delivering step-function improvements in CPU performance and power efficiency to meet the demands of next-generation 5G computing.

NUVIA comprises a proven world-class CPU and technology design team, with industry-leading expertise in high performance processors, Systems on a Chip (SoC) and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications. The addition of NUVIA CPUs to Qualcomm Technologies' already leading mobile graphics processing unit (GPU), AI engine, DSP and dedicated multimedia accelerators will further extend the leadership of Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, and positions Snapdragon as the preferred platform for the future of connected computing.

NUVIA CPUs are expected to be integrated across Qualcomm Technologies' broad portfolio of products, powering flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops, and digital cockpits, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality and infrastructure networking solutions.

"5G, the convergence of computing and mobile architectures, and the expansion of mobile technologies into other industries are significant opportunities for Qualcomm," said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-Elect, Qualcomm Incorporated. "The NUVIA team are proven innovators, and like Qualcomm, have a strong heritage in creating leading technology and products. I am very excited to have them join our team. Together, we are very well positioned to redefine computing and enable our ecosystem of partners to drive innovation and deliver a new class of products and experiences for the 5G era."

"Creating high performance, low-power processors and highly integrated, complex SoCs are part of our DNA," said Jim Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of Qualcomm. "Adding NUVIA's deep understanding of high-performance design and integrating NUVIA CPUs with Snapdragon - together with our industry-leading graphics and AI - will take computing performance to a new level and drive new capabilities for products that serve multiple industries."

As part of the transaction, NUVIA founders Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati and John Bruno, and their employees will be joining Qualcomm.

"CPU performance leadership will be critical in defining and delivering on the next era of computing innovation," said Gerard Williams CEO of NUVIA. "The combination of NUVIA and Qualcomm will bring the industry's best engineering talent, technology and resources together to create a new class of high-performance computing platforms that set the bar for our industry. We couldn't be more excited for the opportunities ahead."


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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