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Sensors could be put in a Smart TV offering

The magic inside Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTKinect is a special image processor that takes video streams from multiple cameras and blends it together into a 3D spatial map -- mostly in hardware.  Microsoft actually didn't coming up with that chip itself -- it was devised by a relatively low-profile Israeli company called PrimeSense.

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is reportedly being targeting the Israeli company for a potential acquisition, according to a report by Israeli newspaper Calcalist.

PrimeSense has to date raised $85M USD in venture capital according to Calcalist, which adds that the prospective sale price would be around $280M USD.  PrimeSense's investors include Canaan PartnersSilver Lake SumeruGemini Israel Funds, and Genesis Partners.

Kinect Sensor
Apple is interested in buying PrimeSense, the company behind the technology in the Xbox Kinect. [Image Source: semidoppel.com]

Apple already employs around 300 to 400 engineers in Israel at five small research and development facilities.  Apple also owns Anobit, an Israeli maker of chip controllers for flash storage modules.

Purchasing PrimeSense would be another indication that Apple is moving forward towards offering a Smart TV, given that PrimeSense's products have thus far mostly been living room fodder (like the Kinect).  Apple currently sells a set-top box, but does not sell a television set with a system-on-a-chip onboard.

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), Apple's smartphone arch-rival, released a new series of TVs back in January which had swappable microcontrollers on the back face, allowing you to keep your Smart TV "smart".  However, despite the intrigue, the Smart TV segment continues to be low volume -- something Apple is likely hoping to change

Sources: Calcalist, Reuters





"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer



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