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Mobile processors on an exponential growth

Posted: 24 Oct 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile devices  processor market  mobile processor 

Analyst John Peddie of John Peddie Research forecasts an exponential growth for the mobile processor market driven by the strong growth of mobile devices up until 2016.

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

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According to the report, smartphone shipments will swell to 75 crore in 2016, with 30 crore tablets, 10 crore e-readers and 9.1 crore 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 47.2 crore globally, while tablets are predicted to ship 5.35 crore by year's end. A recent report by E-Ink also predicted the number of e-book reader sales in 2011 would reach between 2-2.5 crore units.

Peddie's report also predicts that more than 200 crore 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 per cent 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 multi-functionality.

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 per cent 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 base band functions will also increase at double-digit growth rates, with processors garnering the highest value at Rs.1.48 lakh crore ($33.1 billion), according to analyst estimates.

"More than16 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 3 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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