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Air Semiconductor: first to bring instant & continuous location technology to portable devices
[January 24, 2008]

Air Semiconductor: first to bring instant & continuous location technology to portable devices

SWINDON, England --(Business Wire)-- Air Semiconductor today revealed its core technology and its first product, the Airwave-1 chip, which together will transform how location is used in portable devices. Air's technology continuously tracks the user's location and consequently can also provide instant location updates, all with negligible power drain. It is the only technology capable of delivering instant and continuous positioning information to battery-operated devices and will open up a whole new range of location-based applications. Airwave-1 requires as little as 1% of the power required by current GPS solutions and consumes only 1mA when continuously tracking. Samples will be available in the summer of 2008.

Air's technology will, for example, enable cameras to automatically geotag images and mobile handsets to run a new generation of autonomous location sensitive applications. It will enable mobile handset designers to specify instant location functionality without significant impact on power budgets.

Air Semiconductor was founded to develop a new approach to establishing location in battery-powered devices and believes that location aware mobile devices will soon become the norm. Co-founders David Tester and Stephen Graham and their team have spent the last 18 months developing the new proprietary technology that utilises signals from GPS satellites in an innovative manner. The company is backed by Pond Venture Partners and is already in initial discussions with several digital camera manufacturers.

Airwave-1 operates in an entirely novel way by providing continuous location tracking and hence also eliminating time-to-first-fix. It uses an adaptive technology which maintains a constant watch on its location but can almost instantly focus to provide a pin-point fix. The single-chip contains all RF and digital hardware and the software needed to calculate location data. It outputs location data in a format that enables simple integration into consumer devices.

"The Airwave-1 approach to GPS is truly novel and addresses a real market need," said Will Strauss, President and Principal Analyst at Forward Concepts (Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.). He went on to say, "Air Semiconductor's very-low-power technology allows them to address portable markets that have been impractical for GPS because of battery drain and first-fix timing concerns associated with current chip products."

Air aims to exploit the market potential for an instant and continuous location capability as a standard digital camera feature. The consumer demand is evident from on-line communities such as Google Earth and Flickr, where over 2 million images a month are already geotagged manually. Furthermore, there is a commercial opportunity in mobile handsets for proactive location-dependent services, where the users' location triggers a service such as an alarm, a reminder or a promotional message.

"Pond has invested in Air as we see a combination of groundbreaking, next generation technology, a large potential market and a superb team," commented Mike Gera, a General Partner at Pond Venture Partners. "The team blends David's technical expertise, Stephen's commercial and marketing know-how with the first-class skills possessed by the rest of the team. At Pond, we see this as a winning combination that we are prepared to back strongly."

Stephen Graham, co-founder and CEO at Air said, "Air's technology is very novel, but because the result is so compelling and so easy to understand I am not surprised by the positive response we are receiving from camera manufacturers. Continuous location in battery operated devices is a breakthrough with wide-reaching implications; digital cameras is just the tip of the iceberg."

Editor's notes:

Air Semiconductor was found in 2006 and is based in Swindon, UK and currently employs 12 people. Funded by Pond Venture Partners, it is a fabless semiconductor company designing and marketing products for providing geographical location information for battery powered devices.

Pond Venture Partners is Europe's largest early-stage technology venture capital fund, founded in 1997 and with more than $200 million under management. Pond operates as a cohesive team based in London and Silicon Valley, with strong connections in Asia.

Pond's venture team includes acclaimed entrepreneurs, business leaders and technology visionaries, all with an international focus and a focus on partnering with their portfolio companies for success. Pond is regulated by the FSA.

The image to accompany this release can be found at Photo caption: Left, David Tester, co-founder and CTO. Right, Stephen Graham co-founder and CEO.

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