Virtual reality is the next big thing for chip makers. The surge in virtual reality has seen a whole bunch of startups working to create relevant technologies, crop up. Chip making giants are also exhibiting great interest in the field and are deploying the financial advantages they have accrued over the years to take a shortcut and simply acquire startups that could be of use. Along the same, Silicon giant AMD has acquire Nitero for an undisclosed sum.
The news comes from Forbes. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the fact that AMD will be amalgamating Nitero’s engineering team into its own was confirmed through a statement by Mark Papermaster, AMD’s Chief Technical Officer. It’s more of an acqui-hire actually and Nitero co-founder and CEO Pat Kelly is joining AMD as corporate vice president, Wireless IP.
The acquisition is interesting, chiefly for two reasons. One, AMD has not really been all too keen with regards to acquisitions. It does acquire other companies from time to time but most of those acquisitions have had a direct bearing to the company’s primary businesses including desktop, notebook, server, graphics and console processors. Here though, the company is making a big bet upon wireless chip sets suggesting that it may soon address the issues faced by VR headset makers with regards to tethering.
One of the biggest problems with rapid adaption of VR tech has to do with the fact that most of the headsets available at present are tethered. That is, they require a wire connecting them to a console or a PC, feeding them data and power.
This has been a major roadblock in letting users utilize the full potential of the VR technology and consequently, has held sales back as well. AMD’s peers have already been taking corrective measures and both Qualcomm as well as Intel, have in-house wireless divisions and 60 GHz technologies for VR.
With this acquisition, AMD will be able to go toe-to-toe with them in the race to deliver the best wireless chips for VR headsets. The Nitero acquisition could also allow it to boost its own chips through a tighter integration of the former’s technology into its own chips. Optimistically, this could bring about things like 16 K photo-realistic VR, that AMD has often mentioned in the past. What exciting times we live in!