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Next Gen Smartphone Components? Dual-core processors and more MEMS


While Qualcomm released news of its dual-core processor line, Snapdragon, for smartphones back in June 2010, the recent CES 2011 is really the first big OEM showing of devices equipped with these dual-core platforms – namely from LG and Motorola.  Other smartphone OEMs (HTC, Samsung, and Nokia) are expected to unveil their dual-core based devices at the upcoming Mobile World Conference, as reported by DigiTimes on 1/27/11.  Sources to DigiTimes added that it is likely that dual-core processors will also be adopted by Apple, RIM and Sony Ericsson in their forthcoming smartphone roll-outs.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon now has competition from all the usual suspects: Nvidia, Samsung Electronics, TI, and Broadcom, as recently discussed in a DigiTimes report 1/27/11.  Perhaps, the most interesting data cited by DigiTimes are the forecasts for 15% of smartphones this year to adopt dual- or multi-core processors, but rising to 45% by 2015.  The reason for this move is cited as the demand for multi-tasking, multimedia capabilities, 3D gaming and HD video support.

On the MEMS front, we all know that Apple is the recognized champion of bringing MEMS to the mass CE market through their iPhone and iPad devices.  This year the number of smartphones equipped with MEMS components are set to increase by nine-fold (from five devices in 2010 to an estimated 45 in 2011).  MEMS are quite in demand as smartphone (and tablet) components; from radio tuners, microphone noise limiters, gyroscopes, accelerometers, as well as other sensors, MEMS in 2011 will be absolutely pervasive.  What this means for the MEMS industry?  How about double-digit growth forecasts from 2012-2014 with estimates of the MEMS market revenue reaching US$10.81 billion by 2014 (up from US$5.91 billion in 2009), according to this recent iSuppli report.

Together the forecasts and present trending in these components is good news for the CE market; the data underscore that there's no reason to think that demand for next generation smartphones will abate anytime soon.  And what about those watershedding handsets? No worries, demand continues to rise in emerging economies for handsets, period.  Watch for updates to our ongoing monitoring of the emerging economies importance for the semiconductor industry (cf. this MarketWatch Quarterly article).

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Thursday, 27 January 2011 18:41 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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