Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego) has signed an agreement to acquire Iridigm Display Corp. (San Francisco), a privately held display technology company, for $170 million as the wireless handset provider seeks to lower manufacturing costs for color mobile phone displays.
Qualcomm already owns 14 percent of Iridigm. Under the transaction, Iridigm would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm.
The acquisition gives Qualcomm full access to Iridigm's iMoD technology, based on a Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) structure combined with thin film optics. The technology promises substantial performance, power consumption and cost benefits for mobile device displays and is said to deliver vivid display images that withstand extreme temperatures and be viewed in any environment.
Qualcomm expects Iridigm's technology to lower the cost of manufacturing wireless handset displays below what can be achieved with liquid crystal display technology. The company noted that displays have become a significant driver in the overall cost of a wireless handset, particularly in low-price units.
"The convergence of consumer electronics products, including cameras, MP3 players, camcorders, GPS receivers and game consoles, into wireless devices is driving the increased adoption of 3G CDMA," said Paul Jacobs, executive vice president and president of Qualcomm's Wireless & Internet Group, in a statement. "Our acquisition of Iridigm will accelerate the time to market for the iMoD technology, which fits Qualcomm's overall strategy of rapidly increasing the capability of wireless devices while driving down cost, size and power consumption."