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VDC: Embedded processors defy downturn

Posted: 09 Mar 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded processor? microcontroller? MCU?

More than 10 billion embedded processors, including CPUs, DSPs, FPGAs and MCUs, shipped in 2008, and should reach 10.76 billion units in 2009 according to VDC Research Group Inc. The market research paints a relatively bright picture for the market in terms of volumes.

In terms of volume the global market is expected to show 6.4 percent CAGR between 2008 and 2013 when the annual market should reach about 13.8 billion units, the VDC said.

The vast majority of this embedded processor market remains microcontrollers, which are low-cost autonomous embedded processing units used in embedded applications that have lower-end processing requirements.

Embedded CPUs, DSPs, and FPGAs all typically provide higher levels of processing performance than MCUs and command higher average selling prices (ASPs), but exist in smaller unit quantities, making MCUs also the largest dollar volume segment of the four embedded processing technologies.

The embedded processor market has been helped by a tendency to replace custom ASICs with standard embedded processor platforms. However, the embedded processor market is not immune to the negative effects of the current downturn, but it offers elements that are somewhat shielded compared to other semiconductor segments.

Certain embedded markets are far enough removed from consumers to avoid the dramatic fall in consumer spending and these markets are diverse by application, account type and technical solution. However the downturn is set to impact dollar volume growth more than unit volume growth as a result of falling ASPs.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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