TDK, the company best known for its blank audio and video tapes, last week announced it had acquired Grey Cell Systems in a bid to establish a mobile communications subsidiary in Europe. UK-based Grey Cell Systems is a manufacturer of PC Cards for mobile computing. The subsidiary will be called TDK Grey Cell.
Although financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, TDK will acquire Grey Cell's European research and development centre in North London. Europe is an important market for TDK, according to its managing director, David Heppe, because of the maturity of European digital communications standards.
"The GSM and ISDN standards were developed in Europe," said Heppe. "The technology and the market is the most mature in Europe and we need a (European) design group to achieve a strong market quickly." TDK hopes the acquisition will help it capitalise on GSM technology, where it believes Grey Cell has a significant lead over the competition in Europe.
Nick Hunn, product development manager at TDK Grey Cell, said: "Communication technology is growing out of Europe. It is vital for us (TDK) to be at the heart of this."
David Chao, founder and chairman of Grey Cell Systems, said: "The international presence, blue-chip brand and financial resources of the TDK organisation provide us with the opportunity to take our technology to market in a manner which otherwise would not have been possible."
TDK also plans to exploit Grey Cell's expertise in PC Card technology, particularly its multifunction cards which combine fax, modem and Ethernet network adaptor. TDK said PC Cards are finding new application areas such as in PDAs, handheld computers and cash registers.
Another technology TDK hopes to build on is Grey Cell's work on software GSM products. Next month Grey Cell will begin shipping SoftMobile, an integrated software suite for digital mobile phones which removes the need for GSM data cards. SoftMobile uses a serial cable to connect to GSM phones and supports data access, fax and the GSM Short Message Service (SMS).
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