Standardized low-power wireless adoption in consumer electronics devices set for rapid growth

Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC and proprietary devices are expected to show the highest adoption among RF technologies.


With well over 20 billion devices* set to be shipped between 2011 and 2015, consumer electronics represent a major market for wireless technology suppliers. According to a recent report from IMS Research, ‘The World Market for Low-Power Wireless-enabled Consumer Electronics – 2011 Edition’, RF technologies set to show the highest adoption within these devices include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC and proprietary.

Figure 1: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC and Proprietary Low-Power Wireless Uptake in Select Consumer Electronics Devices. Courtesy: IMS Research

Bluetooth technology is set to continue to show the greatest uptake in consumer electronics devices, driven by: its inclusion in rapidly growing segments such as smartphones (which are projected to more than double in unit shipments between 2011 and 2015); its growing attach rate in portable computing devices; and its adoption in emerging device categories such as active-shutter 3DTV glasses. Shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics devices are also projected to increase significantly, led by rapid growth within both the smartphone and mobile computing segments (where attach rates were 90% and 100% respectively in 2010), as well as – albeit to a lesser degree – the growing implementation within home entertainment devices such as televisions.

NFC technology – although currently shipping in only low volumes – is expected to achieve mass adoption within the next 18 months. Lisa Arrowsmith, Senior Analyst with IMS Research’s Connectivity Group, comments: “NFC technology in consumer electronics will predominantly be driven by its integration into cellular handsets, with over 100 million handsets predicted to be shipped with NFC in 2012. Additionally, adoption of NFC in mobile computing devices is expected to grow to almost 200 million unit shipments cumulatively by 2015."

Arrowsmith continues, “Essentially, low-power wireless-enabled consumer electronics shipments are projected to grow for two main reasons. Firstly, rapid growth is projected in the overall market for key devices such as smartphones and mobile computing devices, as well as emerging device categories such as 3DTV glasses. Secondly, the attach rate of low-power wireless technologies within these device categories is set to increase due to a greater demand for RF connectivity, the emergence of technologies such as NFC, and the declining cost of RF ICs."

*Note: consumer electronics devices included within this research are: notebook PCs, netbooks, tablet PCs, computer mice, keyboards, associated dongles, cellular handsets, sports, fitness and health monitoring devices, TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-Ray and DVD players, static games consoles, gaming controllers, bundled remote controls and active-shutter 3DTV glasses. Other technologies aside from those mentioned within this release, such as ZigBee RF4CE, ANT and Z-Wave (amongst others) are also being integrated into consumer electronics devices.

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