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Qualcomm spins off location awareness technology

A Qualcomm sign is seen at one of Qualcomm's numerous buildings located on its San Diego Campus February 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Qualcomm sign is seen at one of Qualcomm's numerous buildings located on its San Diego Campus February 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc is spinning off its location awareness technology, which is compatible with Apple Inc's iBeacon version, to a group of investors including music, sports and arena conglomerate AEG.

The chipmaker said on Wednesday it sold the business as a newly formed entity called Gimbal Inc. One investor is the i-Hatch LBS Fund, which includes strategic investors Zebra Technologies Corporation and AEG. Qualcomm will remain a minority investor.

A Qualcomm spokesperson declined to disclose financial details.

The technology allows retailers and sports venues to track the specific location of customers on their premises and send context-aware messages, like special offers for products and services, to their smartphones.

It is part of a growing trend in which smartphones and tablets are used to offer customized recommendations to consumers depending on where they are and what they are doing.

The advanced Bluetooth technology behind Gimbal, which can be more accurate than GPS and works indoors, meets standards for iBeacon technology used in Apple stores.

In March, San Diego, California-based Qualcomm said it had been chosen to supply iBeacon-compatible equipment to be used in 20 Major League Baseball stadiums.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Richard Chang)

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