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Sensormaker could offer new gesture-based mobile UI opportunities, could also boost potential Apple Smart TV

After seeing some initial investors sell their shares and step off at the $250M USD valuation mark, Israeli sensor startup PrimeSense is mulling whether to except a modestly higher valuation to be acquired or whether it should continue to grow independently.

In July, Calcalist, an Israeli newspaper, reported that Apple, Inc. (AAPL) was interested in acquiriing the Israeli firm, which is best known for manufacturing the digital brains of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTKinect Xbox sensor.

PrimeSense has developed a unique set of firmware and hardware which takes video streams from multiple cameras and blends it together into a 3D spatial map.  Its CMOS sensor detects the image, while the aforementioned processing occurs onboard PrimeSense's proprietary system-on-a-chip dubbed "Carmine".  The resulting sensor can "see" color, depth, and motion in 3 dimensions, allowing unique user interfaces.
 
 
Capri
This year PrimeSense announced the mobile-geared Capri (PS1200) which replaces the bulkier Carmine (PS1080, pictured) image sensor, used in the Xbox. [Image Source: PrimeSense]

PrimeSense's investors include Canaan PartnersSilver Lake SumeruGemini Israel Funds, and Genesis Partners.  Canaan, Gemini Israel, and Genesis reportedly pushed $30M USD in PrimeSense between 2005 and 2011.  Then in 2011 Silver Lake became the biggest institutional investor yet, pushing an additional $50M USD into the growing firm.

The recent share sale's $250M USD valuation isn't that far below the $345M USD that Apple reportedly offered.  And that has some investors hesitant, as they were hoping for a higher bid.

Kinect Sensor
Apple may close a bid for the Israeli sensormaker this week. [Image Source: Microsoft]

Still a new report by the Calcalist claims that investors are leaning towards accepting Apple's bid, which is in the "final stages" of consideration.  One source close to the owners called the Apple offer "a bit of a letdown, but a decent outcome."  Another said that Apple's bid was "the best that could happen, given the circumstances: A big strategic buyer at a decent price.”

It's unclear how the acquisition, which could reportedly be made official by the end of the week, would affect the Kinect business.  It is clear where Apple's interests primarily lie -- in the company's latest 3D sensors, which are geared at mobile devices.  This new sensor, dubbed Capri 1.25 was unveiled at CES 2013.

PrimeSense
Capri is small enough to squeeze into smartphones and tablets. [Image Source: PrimeSense]

In addition to mobile potential, purchasing PrimeSense could prove helpful to Apple's rumored Smart TV ambitions.  Apple currently sells a set-top box ("Apple TV"), but does not sell a television set with a system-on-a-chip onboard.

Apple historically has primarily acquired smaller firms and in particular has targeted small hardware and user intereface technology firms, which it considers undervalued.  Many of Apple's "inventions" come courtesy of these acquisitions; for example Apple acquired FingerWorks, a startup by University of Delaware Professors John Elias and Wayne Westerman.  FingerWorks provided the technology behind Apple's multi-touch, a feature that has since become ubiquitous on the market and is today a focal point in Apple's efforts to ban devices running Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system, which it says "stole" multitouch.

The U.S. gadgetmaker is also no stranger to investment in Israel, having purchased Anobit, an Israeli flash memory controller chipmaker in January 2012 for $390M USD.

Source: Calcalist



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Quotes
By coburn_c on 11/19/2013 11:23:56 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft should take advantage of Apple's "cheap" nature and come in and buy this "innovation" out from under them. Sadly Im not sure anyone is running Microsoft right now.




RE: Quotes
By kleinma on 11/19/2013 12:21:48 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft doesn't want it. They developed their own kinect 2.0 sensor that makes this one look like a joke. They partnered with this company the first time around, learned what they needed to learn, and now are far beyond what this company is currently producing.


RE: Quotes
By Mitch101 on 11/19/2013 1:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
Kinect 2.0 is Microsoft's first custom processor and uses imaging technology found in military gear pretty close to night vision military grade.


RE: Quotes
By coburn_c on 11/19/2013 5:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft wants to let Apple be the company to bring "Kinect" to the smartphone? Microsoft would have no interest in a mobile phone extension of this technology? Anyone anywhere wants Apple to hold more patents on anything?


Wait till Apple releases iKinect!
By SpartanJet on 11/18/2013 7:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
It will change everything, another Apple first!




RE: Wait till Apple releases iKinect!
By retrospooty on 11/19/2013 7:24:54 AM , Rating: 1
LOL... But they wouldn't call it that, that name is taken... They would call it something douchey like "iMove" and add a minor feature then claim they invented it and then proceed to sue everyone else that uses any motion sensor.

It's just an expected part of the iSue business suite.


By Monkey's Uncle on 11/19/2013 8:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. Welcome to Apple's (and just about every other major tech company's) business model.

If you can't invent it, buy the company of someone who did. That way you can make $billions$ off the impending lawsuits.


They are buying old tech
By kleinma on 11/19/2013 11:00:00 AM , Rating: 2
While it is true that Microsoft used this company for the original kinect sensor, they made the kinect 2.0 sensor for the xbox one in house and it is much, much more powerful.

from wiki:

Xbox One consoles will ship with an updated version of Kinect; the new Kinect uses a wide-angle time-of-flight camera), and processes 2 gigabits of data per second to read its environment. The new Kinect has greater accuracy with three times the fidelity over its predecessor and even the ability to see in the dark thanks to its new active IR sensor. It has an up to 60% wider field of vision that can detect a user up to 3 feet from the sensor (compared to six feet for the original Kinect) and will be able to track up to 6 skeletons at once. It can also detect a player's heart rate, facial expression, 25 individual joints (even thumbs) and the precise rotation of such joints, the weight put on each limb, and the speed of your movements, and track gestures performed with a standard controller.




RE: They are buying old tech
By Tony Swash on 11/19/13, Rating: 0
RE: They are buying old tech
By kleinma on 11/20/2013 11:19:52 AM , Rating: 1
just making it smaller from what I can tell...


RE: They are buying old tech
By fic2 on 11/19/2013 1:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
Crap! The NSA is going to have a field day with everyone's movement data!


FIND NEW JOBS.....
By emilinedbp157 on 11/20/2013 4:50:04 AM , Rating: 1
if you need a job try this site JOBS61 (dot)COM. Dan does it at home and makes $17.90 hourly just sitting and typing stuff all day...No experience needed too




Jabs
By aurareturn on 11/18/13, Rating: -1
RE: Jabs
By Reclaimer77 on 11/18/2013 5:38:34 PM , Rating: 5
Meah. Apple has made their bed, now they can sleep in it.

But the article looked fine to me. What do you mean jabs?


RE: Jabs
By ipay on 11/19/2013 2:32:50 PM , Rating: 4
Steve Jabs, of course.


RE: Jabs
By iamkyle on 11/19/2013 3:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
And New Yack pizzas!


RE: Jabs
By Guspaz on 11/18/2013 5:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
I'm normally annoyed by how biased DailyTech articles are (particularly about Apple), but I've got to agree with the other poster here, there were no jabs at Apple in this one. You're imagining things, it was as factual as it can get.


RE: Jabs
By Wazza1234 on 11/20/2013 3:11:13 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Many of Apple's "inventions" come courtesy of these acquisitions; for example Apple acquired FingerWorks, a startup by University of Delaware Professors John Elias and Wayne Westerman. FingerWorks provided the technology behind Apple's multi-touch, a feature that has since become ubiquitous on the market and is today a focal point in Apple's efforts to ban devices running Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system, which it says "stole" multitouch.


RE: Jabs
By fic2 on 11/18/2013 5:55:51 PM , Rating: 3
Do you want opinionated or unbiased? Those are mutually exclusive.

Only jab I see is about Apple "inventions" which are actually Apple acquisitions of companies that invented things. You could make the same jab at Microsoft, but this article wasn't about Microsoft acquiring PrimeSense (you could even make the jab about MS stealing technology when a company won't sell itself to MS).


RE: Jabs
By JoJoman88 on 11/18/2013 8:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
As much as i don't like Apple products the fact is they buy up small companies with good ideas at a valve price to put their tech into Apple products is part of the way things work these days. Looks like a win win to me. The new tech gets a much wider base than the small company can give it. Apple gets new tech for their products at a deal price. Yeah the small company might have wanted more money or could have gotten more money somewhere else, but hey it's Apple were are selling out to. Can't get much cooler than that!


RE: Jabs
By Nagorak on 11/18/2013 10:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think that acquiring smaller companies is perfectly fine, but I also feel that it's fair to use "inventions" in quotation marks to describe the products that come out of those acquisitions. It has no effect on the end result, of course.


RE: Jabs
By Monkey's Uncle on 11/19/2013 8:12:52 AM , Rating: 1
No you can't. And Apple prefers it that way.


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