Impinj Buys All Of Intel's RFID Group

RFID vendor Impinj on Thursday (July 10) purchased all of Intel's RFID operation—including the R1000 RFID reader chip. A joint Intel/Impinj statement said that the acquisition details are not being released, but The Seattle Times reported that Intel will get an equity stake in Impinj.

The move is not expected to change things much for RFID-focused IT execs in the near term, because both firms were pretty much headed in the same direction anyway.

But ABI RFID Research Director Michael Liard said the move could accelerate already-projected RFID reader price drops over the next few years.

To kick-start RFID to the next level, Liard argues, reader prices need to get in the $500 neighborhood or, at the very least, sub-$1,000. He estimates that today's readers are averaging about $1,500 to $2,300. "That's still a very high price," Liard said.

But the R1000's smaller component size has good potential for bringing in new applications and allowing new smaller form factors, which should bring prices down over the next three years or so.

Granted, the R1000 would still have had that impact while being owned by Intel, but Liard argues that the spin-out will probably accelerate those price drops. However, he couldn't project how much of an acceleration he expects.