Qualcomm goes after electric vehicles with HaloIPT buy

Qualcomm has announced that it has acquired virtually all of HaloIPT, a company specialising in wireless charging technologies for electric vehicles that was spun out of the University of Auckland.

The news comes after the notable absence of Qualcomm's WiPower technology at its Innovation Qualcomm event in Istanbul earlier this year. While Paul Jacobs was keen to push the Internet of Things, Christiano Amon to detail the Snapdragon roadmap and Rob Chandhok to wax lyrical on open-source project AllJoyn, WiPower was nowhere to be seen.

It was an interesting omission: although the wireless charging standard hasn't received the widespread support of rival Qi - developed by the Wireless Power Consortium, the chair of which, Menno Treffers, took umbrage to some of Qualcomm's claims about his technology - Qualcomm's Mark Hunsiker was pushing the system hard as recently as April this year.

The announcement of its acquisition of HaloIPT clearly demonstrates that Qualcomm hasn't given up on wireless power technologies just yet: combining its existing WiPower system, which provides a charging current to devices like headsets, smartphones and tablets, with HaloIPT's vehicle-charging system, will give it a one-stop solution for wireless vehicle power.

That could prove to be a winner: Qualcomm's marketing strategy has always been about integration, offering simple designs that combine the maximum possible functionality for its customers. With HaloIPT under its belt, Qualcomm will be able to offer its customers automotive systems featuring Snapdragon chips for rich media playback and interaction, GPS/GLONASS for navigation, wireless networking capabilities, and wireless charging for both the vehicle itself and the devices within.

Both Qualcomm and HaloIPT are keeping quiet on the precise cash involved in the deal beyond it being a "multi-million dollar" figure, but Qualcomm is thought to be playing big: in a statement to press the UniServices group of the University of Auckland claimed the acquisition represented "the most significant technology transfer deal ever achieved by a New Zealand University".

The company's primary product, Inductive Power Technology or IPT, was developed by Professor John Boys and Associate Professors Grant Covic and Udaya Madawala from the University’s Power Electronics Group, before being spun out into a commercial venture.