© Jakub Jirsak Dreamstime.com Analysis | June 03, 2019
Smartphone giants breaking into the TWS bluetooth earbud market
According to TrendForce 's latest report, the release of Bluetooth 5.0, which solved the problems of transmission and power consumption inherent in TWSs, along with the release of Apple's AirPods, gave rise to a speedily growing market.
One by one, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi and other smartphone brands are also releasing TWS headsets in 2019, projected to bring TWS earbud shipments up to 78 million sets, registering a YoY growth of 52.9%. TrendForce points out that TWS headsets have become a hot topic in the market: besides possessing acoustic features, it also has a wide variety of function augmentations, placing it nearer smartphones and other consumer electronics compared to other earphone products in terms of product strategies. Not only that, but TWS shipment numbers also have the potential to move into the hundred millions, motivating Apple, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi and other brands to release products like there's no tomorrow. Apple's AirPods, in particular, form the majority of the market, boasting a towering market share of 51.3%. Moreover, smartphone manufacturers have been developing voice assistants and other speech recognition applications in order to boost the added value of TWS headsets. This is especially the case under the considerations to boost response speeds in voice recognition: apart from augmented transmission functionalities, simple voice assistants will also be implemented into TWS headsets, allowing certain speech recognition and analysis loads to shift to these small devices and reducing data transmission loads and response time. This development trend will bring up the hardware capabilities of TWS headsets to another level. Therefore numbered alongside Bluetooth communication chips as key TWS components to upgrade in the future are computing chips, memories and even MEMS microphones. Looking at the current supply and demand situation for components, if voice assistants are to be introduced into TWS headsets in the future, noise reduction and voice recognition are bound to become important functions. This will also increase the adoption of MEMS microphones, which will arrive to at least 4~6 per pair. As for key Bluetooth chip modules, apart from Apple, who develops and implements its own Bluetooth chips, most brands will use chips made by international giants Qualcomm, Broadcom and China supplier Bestechnic. Suppliers including Taiwan's Realtek , Airoha and Pixart will also be rolling out TWS Bluetooth chip modules, inviting adoption by various brands.