Telecom Lead Asia: Shipments of Wireless Connectivity Combo ICs are expected to surpass 2 billion units by 2017.
IC vendors such as Broadcom, Qualcomm, TI, Marvell, MediaTek, and others, have already created integrated wireless connectivity solutions to gain market share. Besides smartphones, these vendors are targeting segments such as laptops, flat panel TVs, and automotive infotainment systems.
“Combo ICs have seen strong adoption in the smartphone market as attach rates of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are very high. This move towards combo ICs has not only helped reduce BoM costs but has also changed the competitive environment entirely,” said Peter Cooney, practice director.
In 2011 smartphones accounted for almost 60 percent of total wireless connectivity combo IC shipments. This is set to change significantly over the next five years as other markets such as laptops and tablets start to use combo ICs in ever-increasing numbers.
There are also a whole range of other markets including feature phones, games consoles, health and medical equipment, home automation gateways, and many more that will adopt combo ICs as penetration rates for wireless connectivity technologies increase.
The next phase in market development is the integration of wireless connectivity technologies into platform ICs. This is starting to happen in the smartphone market and is expected to accelerate as lower-end smartphones, with tight costs constraints, become the largest section of the market over the coming years.
Many vendors may follow Qualcomm’s strategy on snapdragon 4 platform. Though the snapdragon 4 platform is not fully integrated (it currently uses a separate RF chip for connectivity) it shows a clear progression towards more fully integrated solutions.
Intel’s recent announcement of its Radio Free Intel strategy shows that integration continues to be a major focus for many IC vendors.
According to a recent report in TelecomLead.com, Qualcomm is leading the global mobile handset IC market with 26 percent share in 2011.