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Sony to buy Altair in IoT move

William Payne
January 27th 2016
Japanese electronics company Sony is to buy Israeli mobile chip maker Altair Semiconductor for US $212 million (€196 billion). The acquisition is part of a push by Sony to move into the Internet of Things marketplace.

With the acquisition of Altair, Sony aims to not only expand Altair's existing business, but also to move forward with research on and development of new sensing technologies. Sony plans to build a new family of cellular connected sensing, component devices that build on its own sensing technologies, including  GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and image sensors and Altair's low power, low cost modem chips.

Altair develops modem chips and related software for the LTE mobile 4G standard. The company's differentiator is low power, low cost combined with high performance.

Sony believes that LTE will play a pivotal role in Internet of Things interconnection. Targeting markets for wearable and IoT devices, Sony aims to deliver component devices that feature both sensing and communication capabilities, as well as new LTE solutions that leverage the strengths of these component devices.

The acquisition comes as Sony chief executive moves the company away from its consumer electronics base more towards its assets in film making, video games and image sensors.

Sony bought Toshiba's image sensor business last year. Growth in chips and embedded devices has helped Sony return to profit.