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Freescale buys fabless semiconductor firm

San Diego-based CommASIC brings ultra-low power embedded Wi-Fi to the Motorola spin-off.

Freescale Semiconductor said it has acquired privately held CommASIC, a fabless semiconductor company based in San Diego. CommASIC specializes in combining multiple wireless networking technologies onto a single microprocessor. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.

Freescale said it would keep all 30 CommASIC employees. Freescale, a December 2004 Motorola spinoff, is best known for producing the G4 PowerPC chips for Apple Computer. CommASIC is expected to help Freescale add Wi-Fi, WiMax and digital video broadcast to its chips, as well as integrate Wi-Fi into mobile handsets.

Analysts predict that by 2008, the volume for consumer electronics and voice over Internet Protocol-capable handsets will double that of PC-centric Network Interface Cards. According to a 2005 ABI Research forecast, an estimated 350 million devices will have embedded Wi-Fi by 2010.