Motorola Buys Ultrawideband Startup XtremeSpectrum

UPDATED: Motorola Inc. tied itself even closer to ultrawideband startup XtremeSpectrum Inc., purchasing the company outright in a deal announced Monday.

Motorola Inc. tied itself even closer to ultrawideband startup XtremeSpectrum Inc., purchasing the company outright in a deal announced Monday.

XtremeSpectrum is one of the companies working on products supporting high-data-rate personal networking wireless communications using the IEEE 802.15.3a standard. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

However, the ultrawideband (UWB) specification appears to be a moving target. According to the IEEE, two proposals are being considered for a draft version of the spec, due in December: a compromise proposal developed by seventeen companies, including Intel Corp., Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sony Electronics, Texas Instruments Inc., and ST Microelectronics; and a second version designed by four firms, including XtremeSpectrum and Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd. After the voting on the two proposals is completed next week, the draft version will be adopted by the IEEE and a final version will be published in mid-2004.

Motorola stated publicly that it supports the XtremeSpectrum proposal, and in March, the two firms inked a memorandum of understanding solidifying their partnership to develop the ultrawideband technology further. XtremeSpectrums Trinity chipset, launched in June 2002, delivers a 100Mbps data transfer rate using less than 200 milliwatts of power. Trinity includes built-in quality-of-service protocols designed for multimedia applications, according to XtremeSpectrum.

"Motorola SPS evaluated the wireless multimedia market and UWB technology landscape," said Behrooz Abdi, vice president and general manager of Motorola SPSs Radio Products Division, in a statement in March. "XtremeSpectrum has established credibility as the only UWB company with working silicon and, coupled with their multi-band roadmap, they demonstrate a time to market advantage."


Motorola said that it plans to embed the technology into a number of consumer products for demonstration by the end of this year. The company did not say whether the XtremeSpectrum technology would be folded into Motorola Inc. or Motorola SPS, which Motorola intends to spin off into a separate company at a future date.

A Motorola representative said the RAND-Z filing XtremeSpectrum made to the IEEE on Oct. 29 would still be in effect after the acquisition. The filing guarantees to the IEEE that XtremeSpectrum will not charge royalties to other IEEE members on patents if XtremeSpectrums proposal is adopted.

Motorola officials said they were unable to provide further details of the transaction because of a quiet period requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Editors note: This story has been updated since its original posting to include information from Motorola representatives.