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23 June, 2015 - 20:07 By Tony Quested

Qualcomm snaps up second Cambridge company with Nujira acquisition

Nujira CEO Tim Haynes

US technology giant Qualcomm has snapped up its second cutting-edge Cambridge company this year by agreeing to acquire Nujira.

Qualcomm sources have confirmed the deal to Business Weekly but are not releasing any figures and say no more details are yet to hand.

The company is close to completing the $2.5 billion acquisition of Cambridge wireless company CSR – a transaction set to close by the end of this summer.

Snapping up Nujira, which specialises in envelope tracking technology, has looked to be on the cards for some while. In 2013, Qualcomm became the first company to ship a chip with such technology, which it claimed to be the industry’s first for 3G and 4G LTE mobile devices.

The new Google Nexus 5 not only features the company’s fastest mobile processor, the Snapdragon 800 SoC, but also features a certain Qualcomm QFE1100 envelope tracking chipset, which is a front-end for OEMs to design global 4G LTE compatible devices, like the Nexus 5.

The Nexus 5 also utilises the Qualcomm QFE1100 feature, an important component of the upcoming Qualcomm RF360 Front End, a comprehensive, system-level solution that allows OEMs to develop a single, global 4G LTE design.

Nujira is a world leader in ET technology but CEO Tim Haynes (pictured) had no comment to make when approached by Business Weekly about a potential acquisition.

Nujira has 240 patents and earlier this year raised $20 million (£12.2m) to support production of its Coolteq chips, fund continued development of its long term product roadmap and open a new design centre in Santa Clara in Silicon Valley.

Each of the existing angel and major investors participated in the round including Hermann Hauser’s Amadeus Capital Partners, Climate Change Capital, Environmental Technologies Fund, SAM Private Equity and NES Partners.

Investec Bank also introduced new investors to the company including GAM – on behalf of its GAM Star Technology strategy – and Investec as well as other institutional and high net worth clients.

Haynes said at the time: “Envelope Tracking will shortly be a standard component in 4G smartphones and tablets but we aren’t just focused on how ET can be implemented in the latest handsets; we are already working on the next three generations of our ET chips.

“The company is in a strong position, we have good traction with some world-leading customers and we have a compelling product roadmap. The new investment will be important in helping us execute our aggressive growth plans, as we look to take advantage of our position as the leading authority on ET.”

To support its product development roadmap Nujira announced it would be opening a new design centre in Santa Clara. Adding to Nujira’s world-class design team in the UK, the new hub was designed to focus on the development of next generation ET ICs.

Envelope tracking has become a must-have technology recently after being incorporated into high-end smartphones, including the Nexus 5, the Galaxy Note 3 and HTC’s One M8. The technology optimises the power flowing through a smartphone’s radio, cutting power drain on the battery.

This February, Qualcomm announced its entry into the RF front end business with a chip-set using envelope tracking – invented by Nujira. Qualcomm adopted the Nujira approach.

Nujira has actually been a pioneer of ET as applied to cellular radio for more than a decade. The technique saves power compared with conventional constant-supply voltage power amplifiers (PAs) by dynamically adapting the PA supply voltage to the signal amplitude, thus reducing the power consumption of the PA that transmits the signal to the antenna. 

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