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Mobile devices push mobile processor market

Posted: 21 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile devices? processor market? mobile processor?

The mobile devices market will see strong growth up until 2016. This growth will also drive the mobile processor market as well, says an analyst.

Recent analyst estimates forecast that smartphone shipments will swell to 750 million in 2016, with 300 million tablets, 100 million e-readers and 91 million handheld game consoles also expected to ship that year.

For comparative purposes, market research firm IDC has said it expects total smartphone sales in 2011 to reach 472 million globally, while tablets are predicted to ship 53.5 million by year's end. A recent report by E-Ink also predicted the number of e-book reader sales in 2011 would reach between 20-25 million units.

Given the robust growth projections, analyst Jon Peddie of John Peddie Research expects the market for processors continues to grow exponentially.

"The processors powering these [mobile] devices will be truly amazing, consuming remarkably little power, built in the latest nanometer technology, and delivering unbelievable performance and functionality," wrote Peddie in his latest report on mobile devices and the semiconductors within them.

The report also predicts that more than 2 billion mobile processors will be shipped in 2016, to quench the seemingly insatiable thirst for handheld devices. Combined, smartphones and tablets will account for more than 50 percent of the mobile processors shipped that year, according to Peddie's forecast.

Integrated circuits are, of course, an integral part of the mobile handset semiconductor market, especially with the increasing demands users are placing on their handsets for more computer-like productivity and multifunctionality.

Peddie isn't the only analyst predicting such spectacular growth. Another recent study from In-Stat says it expects the mobile market for merchant processing to grow at a 22.3 percent compound annual growth rate through 2013, with the highest total unit growth from handheld applications like smartphones and tablets.

As a result, the estimated value of the processing, graphics/multimedia and baseband functions will also increase at double-digit growth rates, with processors garnering the highest value at $33.1 billion, according to analyst estimates.

"More than 16 processor companies and four IP suppliers will be chasing this market, compared to the four or five processor companies chasing the PC market," said Peddie, whose report asks whether consolidation in the mobile processor market may be imminent.

"What's interesting is how various semiconductor companies have reacted to this market and how it's changing the whole dynamics of the industry," added analyst Jack Gold of Gold Associates, noting that just three years ago it would have been downright bizarre to imagine Intel threatened by ARM and its chip alliance, including the likes of Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments, or the fact that AMD would be a complete non-player in the mobile market.

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