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Atmel, Nvidia design kit enables next-gen mobile devices

Posted: 16 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Tegra 2 ARM-based processor? mXT1386 touchscreen chipset? Android-based mobile Internet devices? tablet market?

Global shipments of tabletsa segment consisting of media tablets like Apple's iPad as well as PC-type tabletsare set to rise to 242.3 million units in 2015, up by a factor of more than 12 from 2010, according to IHS iSuppli.

"The remarkable expansion of the tablet market from 2010 to 2015 will be driven by three successive waves of growth," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at IHS, in a recent report.

"The first wave, which (hit) in 2010 and 2011, was created by the arrival of the iPad and the ensuing tsunami of demand for the device. The second wave, arriving in 2011 and 2012, will be propelled by a deluge of iPad competitors, particularly Android-based models," she said. "The third wave, which will turn up in 2013, will consist of a flood of models based on the Windows OS that will expand the reach of tablets into traditional computer markets."

While the iPad will lead annual tablet shipments through 2012, the increasing strength of media-tablet rivals combined with the advent of PC-type platforms will cause Apple to lose its majority of total unit shipments starting in 2013, according to the research firm.

"Tablets are the latest craze with more than 150 different tablets in development around the world. Only a handful of these devices will be successful en masse, meaning the other 140+ devices will be 'me-too' flops," said Craig Berger, an analyst with FBR, in a recent report.

Today, Apple dominates the tablet market with some 80 percent share. Apple is designing its own processors and touch-screen devices for its iPhone 3 and iPad. However, Apple's iPhone 4 makes use of Qualcomm Inc.'s MDM6600 baseband/RF transceiver.

- Design win mania
In addition, "Qualcomm is benefiting from generic smartphone strength with Snapdragon chips shipping into Motorola Droids and others, the HTC EVO, HTC Incredible, LG Expo, and phones by Sony-Ericsson, Acer and Lenovo," Berger wrote in a report. Last year, Qualcomm rolled out a new version of its Snapdragon chipset, based on an ARM architecture and a 28nm process.

After a false start, Nvidia is gaining ground in the arena. "Many of the sexiest smartphones and tablets at CES (were) being powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2, including Motorola's coming iPad competitor, the Motorola Atrix handset, and the LG Optimus 2X handset, a couple of potentially real competitive devices versus the iPhone," Berger said.

Another player, Texas Instruments, said its OMAP 4430 is the applications processor inside the forthcoming BlackBerry Playbook tablet from Research in Motion.

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