CSR looks to GPS to Bolster Portfolio
This week CSR made good on previous statements of intent to diversify its portfolio with the acquisitions of Nordnav and CPS. As is well reported, CSR has held a dominant position in the Bluetooth market for a number of years. However, the market for single technology ICs such as Bluetooth is now under threat from solutions operating a number of wireless technologies & standards. According to market research analyst Fiona Thomson, "going forward, mobile connectivity is all about the converging wireless platform and how these technologies can coexist with each other". She added, "The acquisition of Nordnav and CPS is a step in the right direction by CSR as a way of expanding its portfolio in order to keep up with companies that offer products over a wide range of wireless technologies, such as TI."
High costs and limited silicon real estate represent two of the major inhibitors to mass GPS uptake in the cellular market. Integrated Bluetooth and GPS chipsets are viewed by many as one of the best ways to overcome these issues. With these inhibitors in mind, the acquisition of Nordnav is not surprising. In IMS Research’s report “The Worldwide Market for GPS in Cellular”, it was predicted that smaller start ups, such as Nordnav, would be swallowed up by larger organisations looking to integrate GPS with other technologies.
Nordnav is generally regarded as one of the market leaders in software-based GPS solutions targeting the cellular handset market, having developed unique performance enhancing algorithms. Software-based GPS is the most cost effective solution, albeit at the expense of greater processing requirements. Considering that the average cost of a hardware-based solution is still someway north of $5, even in high volumes, this technology represents the best method available of achieving CSR’s bold statement of getting the BOM down to $1.
CSR’s plan to launch with an external device solution is an obvious one. IMS Research has forecast this market to continue to grow over the next 2-3 years, filling the current gap in the market for high performance GPS-enabled handsets. Furthermore, external devices can take full advantage of a GPS-Bluetooth chipset, while also alleviating the processing requirements of a software-based GPS solution via a dedicated processor. There is also the potential to address the PND (portable navigation device) and laptop market, where powerful processors are prevalent. Looking longer term, IMS Research has forecast that software GPS implementations will begin to significantly impact the cellular handset market from 2009 onwards.
Patrick Connolly, GPS analyst at IMS Research said “the acquisition of CPS indicates that CSR has much bigger plans for the GPS space. CPS’ E-GPS solution theoretically represents one of the best method yet of solving the inherent problems associated with implementing A-GPS over unsynchronised networks, such as W-CDMA. Furthermore, this unique approach offers cheaper handset and infrastructure implementation costs over other A-GPS solutions. However, the key word here is theoretically, as a working version of this solution has yet to be implemented by a network operator. If this solution can do “exactly what it says in the tin” then this could represent a very good piece of business for CSR”.
About IMS Research
IMS Research is a specialist supplier of market research and consultancy services on global electronics markets. Information from IMS Research is used by major companies worldwide to assess market trends, solve marketing problems, and improve the efficiency of their businesses. IMS Research is an international company, selling in more than 35 countries around the world and is supported by headquarters in Wellingborough, UK and offices in Austin, Texas and Shanghai, China. IMS Research regularly publishes detailed research on cellular, digital consumer and broadband markets.