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WiFi to push combination IC shipments

Posted: 18 Aug 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless combination IC? WiFi? WLAN?

According to IMS Research's recent report titled "The World Market for Wireless Combination ICs2011," wireless combination ICs are seen to grow by almost 24 percent this year. This growth can be attributed to the exploding smartphone and tablet PC industry and the Bluetooth/FM/WLAN IC, said IMS.

Historically, the majority of combination ICs shipped has featured Bluetooth and FM technologies, with this specific combination being incredibly successful in cellular handsets. However, with the rapid growth of the smartphone sector in recent years, thanks largely to Apple's iPhone and handsets using Google's Android OS, inclusion of WiFi technology has become almost essential. This is shown by the WLAN attach rate in smartphones rocketing from 56 percent in 2009 to a projected 93 percent this year.

"The success of the smartphone and tablet PC sectors is really pushing forward the market for combination ICs that are now found in a wide range of consumer devices, from the Motorola Atrix to the Apple iPad2 and Sony PS3," said Heath Lockett, connectivity market analyst at IMS Research. "The number of devices shipping with a Bluetooth/FM/WLAN combination is forecast to increase by 62 percent in 2011, and by 2012, Bluetooth/FM/WLAN ICs will overtake shipments of Bluetooth/FM chips, highlighting just how important a part of our lives WiFi has become."

The continued growth of IC shipments will see total combination IC revenues rise from $2.5 billion in 2010 to almost $7 billion in 2016, an aggregate growth rate of 18 percent.

As the combination IC market has matured, price and product size has reduced, while an increasing array of wireless technologies is being offered. "Short of any future mass integration of Bluetooth or WLAN into the baseband, combination ICs are here to stay", added Lockett. "With Blackberry's Playbook now being the first consumer electronics device to use a Bluetooth/FM/WLAN/GPS combination, the technology is really moving on. The next step will be to squeeze NFC on board as well."

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