AMD has acquired intellectual property and engineering talent from Austin-based Nitero, a wireless technology pioneer that could provide a big push to the chipmaker’s virtual reality efforts.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2011, Nitero has designed a millimeter wave chip to address the challenges facing wireless virtual reality and augmented reality.
Nitero’s product line uses high-performance 60-gigahertz transmissions, which will enable future generations of wireless VR and AR headsets, AMD said.
“Unwieldy headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR,” said Mark Papermaster, AMD chief technology officer and senior vice president. “Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving the challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences.”
AMD has struggled in recent years as PC sales have declined, and as its rivals Intel Corp. and Nvidia continued to grab a bigger market share in computer and graphics processors.
AMD is attempting to diversify its revenue by developing new markets for its graphics cards and processors. Virtual reality represents one market that AMD is aggressively pursuing.
The company is formally based in Sunnyvale, Calif., but Austin is where the chipmaker's senior executives mostly live and work. The company employs about 1,500 people in the Central Texas area.
In an analysis for Forbes magazine, industry analyst Patrick Moorhead wrote: “Nitero is one of the few companies in the world capable of supplying 60-gigahertz technologies for something like wireless VR. AMD was one of the first if not the first big chipmakers to make a significant bet on VR and publicly invest in and promote VR, so it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to think they would want to increase their commitment to the space by acquiring another chip maker in the space.”
Under the deal, Nitero co-founder and CEO Pat Kelly has joined AMD as corporate vice president, Wireless IP. In all, about 20 key members of Nitero’s executive and technical team received and accepted offers to join the company, said Jack Robberson, an AMD spokesman.
“Our world class engineering team has been focused on solving the difficult problem of building wireless VR technologies that can be integrated into next-generation headsets,” Kelly said. “We are excited to play a role in furthering AMD’s long-term technology vision.”
As of 2014, Nitero had raised $13.7 million from investors including Austin Ventures, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Trailblazer Capital.
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