UPDATE 1-Qualcomm buys SoftMax to boost cell sound quality

Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:10am EST

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NEW YORK Dec 17 (Reuters) - Wireless chip and technology license supplier Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) said on Monday it had bought privately held SoftMax Inc, a developer of noise reduction technology for mobile devices.

San Diego-based Qualcomm said the SoftMax technology could be integrated into mobile phones and headsets with short-range Bluetooth wireless links as well as notebook computers to help separate a speaker's voice from background noises.

Customers of SoftMax, also based in San Diego, include industry-leading handset and Bluetooth headset makers that use dual-microphone designs, according to Qualcomm.

It did not disclose the terms of the deal.

Last month Qualcomm agreed to buy another privately held company, Firethorn, which offers mobile banking services to service providers, for $210 million. (Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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