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Mobile phone company Sony is to acquire IoT chip-manufacturer Altair in a US$212 million deal. The Israeli IoT chip-maker manufactures 4G chips that helps connect devices to LTE technology.

According to Bidness Etc Altair’s LTE Elements are also used to connect various devices to the Internet of Things including home appliances and wearable technology.

Conventional methods for connecting smart devices could prove to be a costly and tiresome exercise with LTE emerging as an alternative for strength in connectivity and efficient power usage.

Bidness Etc reports that Altair has also been working on technology that enables devices such as electricity meters to be connected to mobile networks.

Striving for efficiency with LTE

While there no official word on the purchase, sources close to the matter say that Sony is expected to close the deal in early February.

The IoT chip-maker is currently headquartered in Hod HaSharon city in Israel, employing 190 software developers and engineers is said to be working with various communications protocols such as XG-PHS, WiMAX and LTE.

In addition to its pending acquisition of Altair, the company is also on track to purchase Toshiba’s sensor business for US $155 million.

[quote] In a company statement, Sony said: “More and more ‘things’ are expected to be equipped with cellular chipsets that enable a connected environment in which things can reliably and securely access network services that leverage the power of cloud computing.”

Through the deal, Sony said it will also continue to grow Altair’s business and combine Sony technology, including its Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and image sensors, with Altair’s modem chips in a bid to “develop a new breed of cellular-connected, sensing component devices.”

Amit Lang, director general of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, surmised that the deal is also an indication of the increased interest of Japanese companies in Israel. He said: “Over the past year, there has been a noted increase in the interest of Japanese companies in Israel in a variety of fields, evidenced by the arrival of Japanese companies to Israel and their willingness to host Israeli companies in Japan."

The Israeli Ministry of Economy also recently inaugurated an Israeli trade office in Osaka, Japan.