ZigBee Goes to Texas

Texas Instruments (TI) is positioning itself to be the winner of the ZigBee sweepstakes, thanks in part to the acquisition of Chipcon for $200 million. The acquisition comes as ZigBee celebrates its first anniversary as a ratified specification for enabling the wireless future.

Oslo, Norway headquartered Chipcon AS is a semiconductor company that produces radio frequency integrated circuits (RF-ICs). Chipcon’s claim to fame is its CC2430, “the worlds’ first true System on Chip ZigBee solution.” The Norwegian firm also owns the Z-stack ZigBee compliant protocol stack and claims to have a full one stop shop ZigBee solution.

TI’s acquisition of Chipcon is expected to strengthen its ZigBee posture as well as its line-up of RF solutions.

The acquisition is expected to close in January of 2006 and Chipcon’s CEO, Geir Forre is expected to remain as the new leader of a joint TI/Chipcon group that includes short-range wireless products from both companies.

“TI’s leadership as a supplier of high-performance analog and ultra-low-power microcontrollers opens new opportunities for Chipcon’s low-power wireless product portfolio,” Geir Forre, Chipcon President and CEO said in a statement. “In addition, Chipcon will benefit from TI’s leading-edge manufacturing, process and packaging technology.”

TI’s acquisition comes at a somewhat auspicious time for ZigBee. The wireless standard just celebrated its one year anniversary as a ratified protocol.

ZigBee aims to enable small low power RF communications for wireless and other personal area network usage and deployment. It’s also a standard that can be used to enable a fully wireless-enabled and controlled smart house that is managed via a single user interface.

The ZigBee Alliance, which helps to promote the standard, counts about 200 members. The Alliance also claims that the ZigBee specification has been downloaded over 15,000 times since being ratified.

“2005 has been an outstanding year for the ZigBee Alliance and ZigBee technology,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance, in a statement. “Our membership has made significant progress in making reliable automation, monitoring and control products a reality. As the Alliance continues to educate and shape the global market, our members will be delivering even more ZigBee devices to market in 2006. ”

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