Samsung buys Swedish wireless chip company Nanoradio

The deal could result in longer battery life on Samsung's smartphones and tablets

Samsung Electronics has acquired Nanoradio, a Swedish company that develops energy-efficient chipsets for Wi-Fi, it said on Friday.

The chipsets can be used in smartphones, tablets, mobile gaming terminals, portable multimedia players, digital cameras and e-readers, according to nanoradio's website. That seems to make Nanoradio a good fit for Samsung, since the company has products in most of those categories.

If Samsung were to integrate Nanoradio's technology into its own chipsets, that could result in longer battery life on Samsung's smartphones and tablets. The more Samsung can integrate, the more power efficient the designs can potentially become, according to Geoff Blaber, who leads mobile device software research at CCS Insight.

"The deal is consistent with the vertical approach Samsung has taken in regards to components, and as much as anything this is an acquisition of engineering talent. It is not insignificant since Samsung very rarely makes acquisitions," said Blaber.

Interest in Wi-Fi is growing among both mobile operators and enterprises. Operators can use the technology to offload traffic from congested cellular and 3G wireless networks. The upcoming Hotspot 2.0 specification will allow operators to integrate Wi-Fi more tightly with their mobile networks, while users will be able to authenticate using the SIM card on their smartphones and move between mobile networks and Wi-Fi hotspots without interruptions.

Overall wireless LAN revenues grew 18 percent during the first quarter over the same period last year, driven in part by a 29 percent year-over-year increase in the enterprise segment, marker research company Dell'Oro Group said last week.

The wireless LAN industry is entering an exciting era with arrival of higher-speed 802.11ac devices and with operators scrambling to deploy Wi-Fi to satisfy mobile users, according to Dell'Oro analyst Chris DePuy.

Samsung didn't announce any financial details regarding the deal or the reasoning behind its acquisition of Nanoradio, which has approximately 60 employees.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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