Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Nvidia Acquires Icera: The Internal Memo

What does Nvidia, a company best know for supplying graphics cards aimed at PC games, want with Icera? It’s all about the modems, according to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, who announced the $367 million all-cash deal to Nvidia employees in the internal memo below. Yes, you read that right: Modems. Not the old buzzy things we used back in the ’90s to dial into AOL. No, these modems are the chips that help 3G and 4G handsets talk to their networks. Eventually they’ll be combined in some way with Nvidia’s Tegra processors for use in tablets and handhelds, he says. Read it for yourself below. Below that, I’ve added Huang’s interview with Boomtown’s Kara Swisher from D@CES in January.

From: Jensen H Huang
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 6:05 AM
To: Employees
Subject: NVIDIA Acquiring Icera

Hi everyone,

We announced just moments ago our acquisition of a really cool company called Icera.

Icera is a pioneer in next-generation wireless modem technologies called SDR (software-defined radios). They have created an ultra-low power, high-performance processor specially designed for processing multiple modem protocols. And because it does not suffer from many years of patched-up circuitry, as modem protocols evolved, Icera’s baseband processor is super elegant and much smaller. In a way, Icera’s DXP (deep execution processor, a flexible processor designed to execute communications algorithms at extremely low power) is the moral equivalent of the programmable shader processors in our GPUs which, as you know, have revolutionized the graphics industry. Icera’s technology is protected by 550 patents that have been granted or applied for, and its modems have been certified by 50 networks across the globe. Stan Boland, Steve Allpress, and Simon Knowles founded the company in 2002. With their reputation and talent, they were able to secure nearly $260M in funding from some of the finest VCs. This level of funding was necessary to execute the audacious plan to create a new processor architecture that offers a unfied data and voice solution for 2G/3G/4G. Icera today has 300 employees, headquartered in Bristol, UK, with offices in Cambridge; Sophia Antipolis, France; Texas; as well as Korea, Taiwan, and China. They’re a lot like us – entrepreneurial, engineering-focused with great people and great technology.

Our immediate plans are to accelerate Icera’s entry into voice modems, followed by introduction of 4G/LTE modem. Together, we will offer the two most important processors that make up a modern mobile computer. Not only is this combination strategically powerful in the market, it will also drive growth for both Tegra processors and Icera modems. Icera will leverage Tegra’s momentum and deep customer engagements globally. We estimate the modem market TAM to be approximately $15 billion.

I’m thrilled to welcome the Icera team to NVIDIA. They’ll fit right in.

Join me in welcoming our new colleagues. Let’s go drive the mobile computing revolution and create the future together.