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RFID News Roundup

Phychips wins multiple customers for EPC reader chip for mobile phones; Avery Dennison announces new inlays, one-billionth shipment; InfoChip unveils new in-metal HF RFID chip; Hungarian RFID provider debuts RFID EAS hard tag in North America; ImageFIRST selects Fujitsu RFID tags for garment tracking; RFID Global raises $2.5 million in funding; Austriamicrosystems' IC featured in Thinkify's RFID reader-writer; TI to acquire National Semiconductor.
ImageFIRST Selects Fujitsu RFID Tags for Garment Tracking
Fujitsu Frontech North America Inc., a provider of IT-based business solutions, has announced that ImageFirst Healthcare Laundry Specialists, a supplier of textile rental and laundry services to the health-care industry, has selected Fujitsu's WT-A511 UHF RFID tags as part of a comprehensive garment-tracking solution at its Clearwater, Fla., facility. RFID solutions provider Positek RFID is serving as the systems integrator and consultant on the project. The solution will be showcased next week in Fujitsu Frontech's booth (#735) at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14. Positek RFID and Fujitsu Frontech first partnered a year ago to develop UHF RFID-based solutions for Positek's customers (see Positek RFID Offering UHF System for Tracking Linens, Textiles). ImageFirst, which has 36 locations and more than 300 trained employees, is leveraging RFID to help improve garment identification and tracking—which, in turn, would provide the company with improved visibility into its inventory, and deliver added benefits and cost savings for customers, according to the companies. "In selecting a new sorting and tracking system for our location, we looked at the significant benefits of RFID technology," said J. C. Ryan, the general manager of ImageFirst's Clearwater franchise, in a prepared statement. "We found the increased speed and read range of the Fujitsu UHF tags enables us to quickly and easily 'scan-in' soiled garments into our facility and 'scan-out' clean garments in bulk. The result is greater visibility of our inventory, reduced labor and merchandise costs, and an overall shorter return on our investment."

RFID Global Raises $2.5 Million in Funding
RFID Global Solution, which offers real-time visibility solutions, including an integrated, RFID-enabled asset-tracking system designed to help companies locate and secure IT assets in real time, has announced that it has closed $2.5 million in private equity and super angel funding. Led by WWC Capital, located in Reston, Va., with participation by all existing angel investors and their management team, the funds will be used for the acceleration of product development and the continued attraction of world-class talent. WWC Capital focuses on software, technology services and new media investments. RFID Global Solution's Visi-Trac IT-asset tracking software, the company reports, is designed to help data-center and operations managers locate and secure assets in real time, optimizing inventory, asset management and assembly processes. RFID Global Solution will be an exhibitor next week in booth 604 at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14.

Austriamicrosystems' IC Featured in Thinkify's RFID Reader-Writer
Austriamicrosystems, a designer and manufacturer of analog ICs, has announced that its AS3992 UHF RFID reader IC is featured in Thinkify's UHF EPC Gen 2 TR-200 RFID reader. The TR-200, designed specifically for office applications, includes a software interface and can be powered by either a USB connection or an external supply. The AS3992 UHF Gen 2 reader chip is an integrated analog front end, and provides protocol handling for ISO 18000-6b/c, 900 MHz RFID reader systems. "We chose to use the AS3992 UHF RFID IC over competing RFID reader chips because it offered the best performance available in the market today," said Curt Carrender, one of Thinkify's founders, in a prepared statement. "Our unique receiver approach combined with the industry-leading sensitivity of the AS3992 chip enables great read range while still operating over a single USB port." Austriamicrosystems will showcase the new IC next week in booth 324 at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14.

TI to Acquire National Semiconductor
In an all-cash transaction worth approximately $6.5 billion, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has announced that it will acquire National Semiconductor. The acquisition combines two industry leaders in analog semiconductors, and the boards of directors of both firms have unanimously approved the transaction. According to the two companies, TI has 30,000 analog products, broad customer reach and manufacturing expertise, while National Semiconductor has a portfolio of 12,000 analog products, a strong roster of customers in the industrial power market and extensive customer design tools. Upon the close of the transaction, National Semiconductor will become part of TI's analog segment, and sales of analog semiconductors will represent almost 50 percent of TI's revenue. The combined company will benefit National Semiconductor's manufacturing operations, located in Maine, Scotland and Malaysia, which TI will continue to operate. Each site has additional capacity to increase production, the companies report. National Semiconductor's headquarters will remain in Santa Clara, Calif. TI has been a leading provider of RFID tags and readers for approximately two decades, initially focusing on low-frequency and high-frequency systems, and later moving into the UHF market. National Semiconductor manufactures a variety of products for the RFID market, including IC sensors and amplifiers, among others. Under the terms of the agreement, National Semiconductor's stockholders will receive $25 in cash for each share of common stock held at the time of closing. TI expects to fund the transaction with a combination of existing cash balances and debt. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including review by U.S. and international regulators, as well as approval by National Semiconductor's shareholders. The transaction is expected to close in six to nine months.

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