In a move designed to enable broad new applications for mobile location-based services and wireless Internet systems, QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) today announced that it will acquire SnapTrack, Inc. of San Jose, Calif., a leader in wireless position location technology. Combining SnapTrack’s technology with QUALCOMM’s innovative gpsOne™ technology will accelerate the introduction of powerful location-enabled mobile phones and other devices utilizing Wireless Assisted GPS™ (Global Positioning System) technology. The acquisition provides QUALCOMM with an even stronger patent portfolio covering Wireless Assisted GPS. SnapTrack’s patents are necessary for the commercial viability of any Wireless Assisted GPS system. Under the agreement, SnapTrack will become a wholly owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM, and will continue its work on position location technology and meeting its customer commitments. QUALCOMM will pay $1 billion in stock for the acquisition of SnapTrack. Completion of the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, is expected by mid-March of this year.
The combined QUALCOMM and SnapTrack position location technology will enable unprecedented service availability and performance in all terrain, both indoor and outdoor. This solution will provide the most cost- and power-effective implementation of location technology for wireless carriers and manufacturers. The solution is targeted for wireless applications worldwide and will be designed and is patented to operate in existing CDMA, PDC, GSM, TDMA and iDEN networks, and new third-generation CDMA systems. QUALCOMM is incorporating gpsOne technology in its chipset and software solutions for wireless voice and data products.
"In support of our major focus on wireless Internet access and data transmission, this acquisition positions QUALCOMM to facilitate existing and new market applications globally serving all digital wireless platforms," said Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, chairman and CEO of QUALCOMM. "SnapTrack’s impressive technology strengths and patent portfolio will provide QUALCOMM with increased position location capabilities. Wireless device manufacturers will benefit from an enhanced product offering for QUALCOMM chipsets and software incorporating wireless location features, and wireless carriers will be able to offer a host of innovative new location-based, cost-effective services."
"There is tremendous synergy between SnapTrack and QUALCOMM," said Steve Poizner, president and CEO of SnapTrack. "We are both committed to developing leading-edge communications technology solutions for the wireless industry. This agreement is a clear validation of Wireless Assisted GPS technology and positions QUALCOMM at the center of the mobile location, data and e-commerce applications markets."
The combined technology will enable the design of smart phones, PDAs and pagers that will help find wireless 9-1-1 callers for emergency purposes, or provide customized location-specific services either directly to the user or via wireless Internet applications and services. The location technology is air interface independent and functions in any wireless standard. SnapTrack’s unique Location on Demand™ feature will ensure a caller’s privacy - putting location information in the hands of the user, not the network. QUALCOMM will provide a low-cost, robust solution to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) mandate that wireless carriers provide for the location of wireless phones for 9-1-1 applications.
SnapTrack will become a wholly owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM. SnapTrack’s employees, including its strong engineering base, will remain in San Jose, Calif. supporting a development center for wireless location products.
SnapTrack has nearly 50 patents, either issued or pending, that are critical to the efficient, cost-effective deployment of Wireless Assisted GPS. SnapTrack has royalty-bearing licensing agreements with Denso, DSPC/Intel, Loc8.net/Glenayre, Motorola and Texas Instruments for patents and technology that cover the deployment of assisted GPS-based wireless location systems, and an agreement with Microsoft to integrate SnapTrack’s solution into the Microsoft Mobile Explorer smart phone platform.
SnapTrack has focused on integrating GPS and two-way wireless technologies for the past five years. It pioneered the highly accurate client/server assisted GPS technology known as Wireless Assisted GPS that uses the U.S. Government’s GPS satellites to pinpoint wireless devices to within an average of 5 to 20 meters, including inside buildings where conventional GPS does not operate. Its system lies at the core of NTT DoCoMo’s new "Doco-Navi" personal navigation system - the first Wireless Assisted GPS-based commercial location service.
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