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Wi-Fi weathered the '08 economic storm

Posted: 15 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:devices Wi-Fi? chipset Wi-Fi? consumer enterprise electronics?

Driven by strong consumer and enterprise demand, Wi-Fi chipset sales jumped 25 percent in 2008 to 387 million, according to new statistics released by the Wi-Fi Alliance and In-Stat. A wide range of Wi-Fi-enabled devicesfrom smart phones to mini notebookspropelled this growth.

"Wi-Fi has solidified its position as an essential technology for the home and the enterprise in 2008, and we expect our strong growth trajectory to continue," said Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Wi-Fi is a feature that users have come to expect in a wide array of products, and device makers are including Wi-Fi in everythingfrom handsets to mini-notebooks to media players."

The following are the highlights of In-Stat's findings according to category:

??Cellular-Wi-Fi phones: 56 million units shipped (up 52 percent);

??Stationary consumer electronic devices (gaming consoles, DTVs, STBs, printers): 48 million units shipped (up 51 percent);

??Portable consumer electronic devices (handheld games, cameras, portable music players): 71 million units shipped (up 33 percent);

??Notebook PCs, mini notebooks, ultramobile devices, Mobile Internet Devices: 144 million units shipped (up 23 percent)

Continued momentum
"Wi-Fi has withstood the current economic conditions better than most other technologies, and we expect to see continued momentum into 2009," said Victoria Fodale, research analyst at In-Stat. "The technology is reliable, secure and extremely popular with consumers. In the handset category alone, we expect sales of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets to grow almost twice as fast as the entire smart phone sub-category."

For 2009, the Wi-Fi Alliance and In-Stat expect Wi-Fi sales momentum to come from cellular Wi-Fi handsets, portable consumer electronics, home networking and mobile PCs. All handheld gaming devices shipped in 2009 will have Wi-Fi. Moreover, the 12 percent growth rate predicted in the mobile PC market will be driven by uptake of new alternatives to notebooks known as Mobile Internet Devices or netbooks. These increasingly popular devices, which all include Wi-Fi, bring Internet connectivity and basic computing functions in a smaller, more affordable form factor.

"Consumers are demanding connectivity at any time, in any place, and manufacturers are meeting the need with a variety of affordable devices, including the increasingly popular netbooks," Figueroa said. "Wi-Fi is a key feature in making these products attractive."

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