​ARM buys two low-power IoT firms to launch Cordio for wearables

ARM has acquired two companies that will add a new product licensing unit for low-powered radios.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

ARM has created a new Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio under the name Cordio after snapping up talent and technology from two companies that specialise in low-powered wireless hardware.

The UK chip designer announced today that it has acquired two US firms, Wicentric and Sunrise Micro Devices, to launch a new portfolio of low-power radio IP systems designed for power-constrained consumer wearables, such as smartwatches.

Among the technology that ARM will offer under the Cordio brand are "sub-volt" Bluetooth systems that should help semiconductor companies accelerate the time between creating a concept and releasing a finished product.ARM says the Cordio portfolio is available for immediate licensing.

The company has not disclosed the value of the acquisitions.

The Cordio name comes from Sunrise Micro Devices, which produced low-powered Cordio wireless products such as its Bluetooth 4.0 CMOS radios. Wicentric meanwhile provides a Bluetooth Smart software stack for the sub-volt radios.

ARM claims devices using Cordio radios will last up to 60 percent longer between battery charges due to falling under the typical wireless circuits which run at 1.2 volts.

Sunrise was founded and run by several former members of Motorola Labs, a research unit affected by Motorola's large round of layoffs in 2008 which followed the release of Apple's first iPhone.

The company, which earns much of its money from licensing ARM designs for smartphone chips, has been ramping up its IoT presence.

It's also been on a mini IoT buying spree of late, earlier this year announcing its acquisition of a Dutch firm behind the PolarSSL library, Offspark, again for an undisclosed sum.

And last year it acquired Duolog Technologies, a developer of electronic design automation tools for system-on-chip (SoC), to strengthen its own CoreLink Interconnect and CoreSight product lines for debugging mobile and IoT architectures.

Earlier this year it launched its mBed starter kit with IBM. It's also inked a deal with Tencent Games improve graphics found in mobile gaming.

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