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© photodynamx dreamstime.com Business | January 15, 2013

Mobile Semi market topped USD 30bn in 2012

Although overall semiconductor industry growth was nearly flat in 2012, sales of mobile semiconductors reached $31 billion in 2012 according to The Linley Group, an increase of 18 percent over the previous year.
"Smartphone and tablet sales continue to skyrocket, creating demand for mobile semiconductors that is growing at a faster rate than the overall semiconductor market," said Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst with The Linley Group. "Our research indicates the market will continue its upward trajectory, with some well-known OEMs continuing to dominate in market share and revenue. With this report, readers gain access to expert opinions on the market trends that will impact their success."

As with previous editions, the report tracks chip vendor market share, revenue and unit shipments in five semiconductor categories -- cellular baseband processors, application processors, Bluetooth transceivers, mobile Wi-Fi chips and GPS receivers. This year, the report adds coverage of Near Field Communication (NFC) chips. While today many companies are shipping NFC standalone chips, The Linley Group believes that future Wi-Fi combo chips and processors will integrate this function, limiting opportunities for current NFC leaders NXP and InsideSecure.

Though the application processor market has typically been dominated by smartphone vendors Samsung and Apple that design their own chips, Qualcomm edged out Apple for the first time, shipping 249 million units and holding more than a 25 percent share of the market. Qualcomm is benefiting from explosive growth in lower-cost smartphones, particularly in China and other emerging economies.

In the cellular baseband market, MediaTek cellular matched Qualcomm's unit shipments, but Qualcomm continues to hold a massive 56.5 percent share of revenue due to higher ASPs. Moreover, as the market continues to shift from GSM to UTMS, Qualcomm unit shipments are expected to rise, increasing its overall share of the baseband processor market.

Broadcom today dominates the Wi-Fi market with 62 percent market share. However, The Linley Group expects Broadcom's share to fall to 51 percent by 2016 due to increased competition from Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung. These vendors will take share from Broadcom by bundling or integrating Wi-Fi with their popular application processors.
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