What are the prospects for Nvidia having bought Icera?
Icera acquisition is very strategic to NVIDIA in many ways.
- Considerable effort is required in developing a modem DSP core and RF from scratch, and acquisition seems logically the correct way to go. More importantly, this move complements their existing strength in Application engines.
- Every semiconductor company aims to offer OEMs a complete solution which is profitable in terms of margin and much easier to manage. Currently NVIDIA has to integrate separate 3rd party modem core which will be outside of the application SoC. But companies like Qualcomm and STE follows a better design where both modem and application engine are built into the same SoC. This is better in terms of density of integration, power consumption and costs, the downside is more SOC complexity, which anyway these guys can handle.
- NVIDIA is also aggressively moving to a position where they are want to deliver the complete system. Icera acquisition is a move in that same direction. I would expect more acquisitions from NVIDIA in future which could be in the connectivity domain. As far as I know NVIDIA does not have any expertise in WLAN, BT and NFC like technology, these are very critical and companies like CSR are ideal candidates for takeover.
In general handset market is moving in a direction where there will be only complete platform providers. Looks like it is the inevitable case where single component manufactures will either perish or get acquired.