Combination IC shipments aim high, thanks to Wi-Fi

Wireless combination IC shipments are expected to grow 24% in 2011 thanks to smartphones and tablet PC's.


Wireless combination IC shipments are forecast to grow by almost 24% in 2011. The vast majority of the growth is due to just two applications, smartphones and tablet PCs; and one particular combination IC, Bluetooth/FM/WLAN.

Historically, the vast majority of combination ICs shipped have featured Bluetooth and FM technologies, with this specific combination being incredibly successful in cellular handsets. However, with the rapid growth of the smartphone sector in recent years, thanks largely to Apple’s iPhone and handsets using Google’s Android OS, inclusion of Wi-Fi technology has become almost essential. This is evidenced by the WLAN attach rate in smartphones rocketing from 56% in 2009, to a projected 93% in 2011.

Given the immense success of the smartphone and tablet PC sectors of late, the market for combination ICs is really pushing forward at a great pace. Many of the latest, greatest consumer devices contain a combination IC, for example Motorola’s Atrix smartphone, Apple’s iPad2 and Sony’s Playstation 3.

In particular, many devices now combine Bluetooth technology, an FM radio and Wi-Fi as part of a Bluetooth/FM/WLAN combo IC. The number of devices shipping with this particular type of chip is forecast to increase by an incredible 62% in 2011, and by 2012 Bluetooth/FM/WLAN ICs will overtake shipments of Bluetooth/FM chips, which really highlights just how important a part of our lives Wi-Fi has become.

With combination IC shipments booming, there will be increasing revenues for IC vendors, rising from ‘just’ $2.5 billion in 2010 to almost $7 billion in 2016; an aggregate growth rate of 18%.

One particular threat to the growth of combination ICs will be further integration of wireless technologies into the baseband – a trend which Qualcomm started with the inclusion of GPS on its Snapdragon processors, and looks set to continue with the S4 line of processors it is currently developing.

However, wireless combination ICs are certainly here to stay in the medium-term, and the range of technologies they offer continues to expand. Blackberry’s Playbook recently became the first consumer electronics device to use a Bluetooth/FM/WLAN/GPS combination, highlighting the progress that has been made with the technology. The next step will be to squeeze NFC on board as well.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security

(copy 5)