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Mobile devices continue path towards integrated platforms

Posted: 29 Oct 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:integrated platforms? mobile devices? smartphone? tablets?

According to ABI Research, there are many trends affecting the market for mobile device semiconductors. These include the shift towards multi-core application processors and the addition of x86 and MIPS to what used to be purely an ARM play. Two newer trends are the addition of heterogeneous processing functionality and 64bit processors for mobile devices.

The trend towards more integrated platforms is the most crucial. However, it is because the revenue of stand-alone components is folding into integrated platforms and the revenue for mobile device semiconductors lie with the higher cost componentsmostly the application processor. So while the shift from stand-alone components to integrated platforms is drastic over the next five years in terms of shipments, this shift is even more radical in terms of revenue. From 2013 to 2018, the share of integrated platforms compared to all application processors in terms of shipments will jump from 46 per cent to 79 per cent while the revenue shares of the same will be higher. Smartphone application processor (integrated and stand-alone) revenue as a percentage of total mobile device semiconductor revenue for the major components will increase from 71 per cent in 2013 to 89 per cent in 2018.

In 2014, the number of integrated platforms shipped will surpass stand-alone application processors. In 2015, more integrated platforms with wireless connectivity will ship more than each of integrated platforms without wireless connectivity and stand-alone application processors. By the end of 2015, more mobile device semiconductor vendors will have added integrated platforms to their product portfolios. During 2013, roughly one-third of smartphones shipped will have been based on a reference design, and this will increase over the next five years. Excluding Apple and Samsung, reference designs for 2013 will have comprised over three-quarters of smartphones shipped. Apple and Samsung's large market share skews the actual trends in the addressable market that affect semiconductor vendors.

Whether companies offer all three major componentsapplication processor, mobile base band processor, and wireless connectivity base bandor not, they will acquire smaller semiconductor vendors who can shore up their weak points in creating a range of integrated platforms. Companies wanting to remain competitive in the mobile device space will have to offer the major components as an integrated platform with reference designs availableeven Apple and Samsung will likely move towards integrated platforms for their own devices.

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