Sony has reached an agreement to acquire Israeli chipmaker Altair Semiconductor for $212m in a bid to make a play in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena.
The move will see Sony boosting its investment in chip technology, which will feed into the firm's next-generation smart machines when the deal closes in early February, according to Reuters.
Altair makes chips that enable devices to connect to LTE networks, which Sony will use to develop its presence in the IoT market.
Sony acknowledged the deal, noting the importance of LTE connectivity with the IoT.
"LTE is already widely used in data communication for mobile phones, and is expected to play a pivotal role in the connection of the IoT,” the company said.
“More and more ‘things' are expected to be equipped with cellular chipsets, realising a connected environment in which ‘things' can reliably and securely access network services that leverage the power of cloud computing."
This could see Sony making smartwatches, smart televisions and fitness trackers with more connectivity options than its previous efforts.
Such devices may be unshackled from the reliance on Bluetooth and WiFi for connectivity in the near future, and make use of existing network infrastructure as with LTE-enabled smartphones.
The result could see IoT systems built around mobile networks, allowing easier connectivity that is not reliant on dedicated WiFi hotspots or wired connections for internet access.
Sony has kept fairly quiet on its plans for Altair, but it would be no surprise to see the acquisition remain as a separate entity in the Sony corporate structure, and used as a way to get easy, and exclusive, access to its chips and technologies.
Many major technology companies are investing in or buying smaller businesses as a way to acquire technology and systems that complement and expand their products.
Intel bought wearables maker Recon Instruments in June to boost its IoT portfolio, while ARM bolstered the security of its IoT platform in February by purchasing security company Offspark.
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