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TI, Qualcomm booms market of IC in MIDs

Posted: 16 Jun 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MID  integrated circuits  portable Internet access  base band processors 

Forward Convepts predicted that the market for integrated circuits for inclusion in MIDs is set to grow from Rs.116.06 crore ($29 million) in 2008 to Rs.10,405.48 crore ($2.6 billion) in 2012, with Texas Instruments and Qualcomm as leading suppliers of silicon.

Over the same period number of global MID shipments is set to grow from 305,000 in 2008 to Rs.160.08 crore (40 million) in 2012, the consultancy predicted.

That market supports application processors, digital base bands, RF transceivers and power amplifiers, graphics and other coprocessors, imagers, touch-screen controllers, power management ICs and peripheral chips such as Wi-Fi, WiMax, GPS, Bluetooth and Mobile TV.

Although Apple's 3G iPhone marks a breakthrough in portable Internet access, user interaction and utility, Forward Concepts does not consider it to be a MID. According to Forward Concepts an MID requires a 4- to 6-inch screen with higher resolution (VGA), TV out and optional Mobile TV capabilities.

Meanwhile a lot of attention is paid to the flagship application and base band processors used within both the iPhone and MIDs, which has been characterised as a battleground for Intel X86 against ARM-based chips.

Intel has more chance of success in a different class of device, the ultramobile PC, according to the consultancy, because x86 compatibility is important, and battery life expectations are similar to those of notebook computers.

Texas Instruments, with its OMAP application processor family and the largest market share of the stand-alone Smartphone applications processor market, is one of the two best-positioned non-X86 semiconductor vendors for supplying stand-alone applications processors for all classes of MIDs, Forward Concepts asserted. The other is Qualcomm with its SnapDragon application processor and the company's 3G wireless position, a must have feature for the MID market.

Other chip suppliers will have plays in the MID market, including Nvidia, with its strong graphics capability, which will play well for gaming applications and Samsung, with its applications processor experience and stacked memory capability. However, the user interface will be key to success in individual MID units and will likely need to respond not only to touch-based inputs but also to keep pace with other evolving input methods, such as those based on motion, gesture, placement, and so on.

"We don't envision MIDs as ever employing Microsoft's Vista operating system; however, we believe that Microsoft has a MID play with future versions of Windows Mobile. Of course, Linux will be popular in MIDs for its lower processing overhead and tighter OEM control," said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, in a statement.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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