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SMK-Link Acquires Gyration Motion Device Products

SMK-Link Electronics Inc. added motion-enabled devices to its product line with the acquisition of the Gyration business unit of technology company Movea. The value to SMK-Link in making the deal is in the Gyration name while Movea benefits by shedding a business of making physical products to better focus on licensing its intellectual property. As part of the deal with SMK-Link, Movea retains the patents and licenses on the motion technology used in the wireless devices. Gyration products include wireless keyboards, mice and remote controllers. The motion mouse, for instance, can be used on a desktop in the traditional manner but can also be waved in the air, similar to the controller for the Nintendo Wii video game system. In the home, the device can control a personal computer hooked up to a television. One of the biggest applications for the motion mouse is in classrooms by teachers, said John Blair, general manager for branded products at SMK-Link. “They can stand in front of the classroom and control it in terms of giving presentations, showing webpages and things of that nature,” Blair said. Terms of the deal between Camarillo-based SMK-Link and Movea were not disclosed but the negotiations between the two companies went quickly. Location: Camarillo President: Paul Evans CORE OF BUSINESS: Develops and manufactures presentation remote controls, consumer electronics, wireless accessories, and OEM remote controls. Parent Company: SMK-Link is owned by SMK Electronics, a Japanese company that purchased in 2007 the remote control and branded products business units of Interlink Electronics. Gyration portfolio The acquisition includes the Gyration customer portfolio, brands, trademarks, product designs, and inventory. SMK-Link will be a customer of Movea as it will license the SmartMotion, MotionIC and MotionTools technologies for the Gyration product line. The deal is a win for both companies as Gyration benefits from increased investment into its product roadmap and SMK-Link benefits from an expanded portfolio of complementary, premium products, Movea CEO Sam Guilaume said in a prepared statement. Bringing Gyration into the fold should be seamless as SMK-Link has no plans to combine its branded devices with the newcomer, Blair said. SMK-Link currently has about 30 employees and will be adding new ones through the acquisition and hiring. Gyration had an office in San Jose that will now be shared with SMK-Link. Apart from the similarities in their product lines, both Movea and SMK-Link share in common foreign ownership. Movea is based in France and purchased Gyration from Thomson SA, the parent company of entertainment industry giant Technicolor. SMK-Link is owned by Japanese conglomerate SMK Electronics, a global manufacturer of cell phone components and one of the largest makers of remote controls in the world. In 2007, SMK purchased the remote control business of Interlink Electronics in Camarillo for $11 million to create SMK Link. Varied markets The company serves the government, education and corporate markets with remote control devices with a distance capability of 150 feet and some incorporating laser pointers, scroll wheels, and stopwatches. On the consumer side, the company markets remotes that work with video game consoles and a docking station for the iPad that includes speakers. With the Gyration line, SMK-Link gets a boost to its consumer line. “Both companies were a similar size so it doubles the business,” Blair said. The various models of the Air Mouse have been well reviewed in trade publications and websites. The Air Mouse Elite was an innovation honoree at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. In September the company entered a market that SMK-Link had already found to be of value – serving the Apple user with a version of the Air Mouse Elite for the Mac computer. With the popularity of Apple products in the home and school, having compatible accessories can create more sales. SMK-Link has a calculator keypad that sells through Apple stores, not an easy feat to achieve. “In terms of general interest the Mac consumer buys more peripherals than the Windows consumer,” Blair said. See related stories in Technology >

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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