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Electronics Production | July 29, 2008

WLAN & Bluetooth market sees growth opportunities for wireless chip suppliers

The WLAN and the Bluetooth semiconductor markets continued to post double digit growth in 2007, driven by strong demand for connected devices and new applications.
In newly released forecasts for the two segments of the worldwide short range wireless semiconductor industry, IDC indicates that wireless connectivity will remain a high growth opportunity for wireless semiconductor vendors as specifications for WLAN and Bluetooth continue to evolve.

"Both markets are set for another year of double-digit growth in 2008," said Ajit Deosthali, research manager, Consumer Devices and Wireless Semiconductors at IDC. "More integration will occur as WLAN will likely be combined with other radios, such as Bluetooth and GPS. Integration will likely lead to lower bill of materials (BOM) costs for the platforms and higher value proposition for the semiconductor vendors."

According to IDC, the top WLAN semiconductor vendors in 2007 based on revenue were:

1. Broadcom remained the market leader in the WLAN market, broadly helped by the growth in consumer PC, residential gateways and gaming segments.
2. Atheros was ranked second and had a strong year thanks to the growth in residential gateways and the consumer PC segment.
3. Intel ranked third and remained one of the market leaders due its WLAN solution integrated with its Centrino program.

In the worldwide Bluetooth semiconductor market, IDC found that CSR and Broadcom captured over three quarters of the total market, while four companies – Texas Instruments, NXP, ST Microelectronics, and Infineon – shared the remainder of the market. Most of these companies focused on Bluetooth for mobile handsets. The top Bluetooth semiconductor vendors in 2007 based on revenue were:

1. CSR maintained its market leadership position due to the strength of its Bluecore product offerings, and the high Bluetooth attach rates in mobile handsets.
2. Broadcom grabbed the second highest market share with a focus on mobile phones, gaming, and the PC market.
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