LONDON -- RFID tags and readers specialist Impinj Inc.(Seattle, WA) has bought, for an undisclosed sum, Intel's RFID business unit and the rights to sell Intel's R1000 RFID chips.
The chips support the EPC Gen 2 and ISO 18000-6C specifications, and incorporate many standard electronics components into a single chip, reducing the size, cost and complexity of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) readers.
"This acquisition is a huge step for Impinj, accelerating our drive to deliver the highest performance, most cost effective RFID products available from any vendor anywhere," said Bill Colleran, president and CEO of Impinj.
"Adding the R1000 reader chip to Impinj's market-leading portfolio of tag chips and fixed-reader products allows us to deliver exceptional price-performance and enable a new category of customers who are developing their own game-changing products based upon Impinj technology."
Rich Wykoff, general manager of Intel's NBI incubator, said "the UHF RFID market is a strong opportunity, and we believe this business and its assets are an optimal fit for Impinj." He added the acquisition of the RFID Operation "demonstrates the incubator's ability to create valued businesses in new technology areas."
Impinj plans to sell the Intel R1000—now rebranded the Impinj Indy R1000—to other reader manufacturers. About 40 to 50 manufacturers are claimed to have developed interrogators incorporating the R1000 chip.
Commenting on the deal, Michael Laird, research director for RFID and Contactless at ABI Research said: "By choosing Impinj, Intel provides a clear confirmation of Impinj's leading role in the RFID industry. This acquisition will allow Impinj to build new applications and promote new reader form factors, providing added stimulus to the market."
Late last month, Impinj sold its licensing business for nonvolatile memories to Virage Logic Corp. for $5.2 million, saying the unit was no longer core for the company.
Founded in 2000 by Chris Diorio and Carver Mead, Impinj has raised more than $110 million from an impressive list of investors that includes Arch Venture Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Samsung Ventures America.