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Industry News

The Commercial Market

October 1, 2002
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The Commercial Market


Bluetooth is Steadily Gaining Market

In the midst of the technology downturn, Bluetooth is steadily gaining market traction - evidenced by steady market growth in 2002 - and proving the skeptics wrong. Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) projects Bluetooth chipset shipments to increase to 33.8 M in 2002, up from 11.2 M in 2001. In the longer run, the Bluetooth semiconductor market is forecast to grow to just over 1.1 B chipsets by 2007, with associated revenues of $2.54 B.

The key enablers for moving forward will be the efforts of handset vendors and the Bluetooth IC suppliers. Nokia and Motorola are beginning to catch up with Ericsson's lead in integrating Bluetooth functionality. By the end of 2003, Bluetooth should become a standard checklist feature for handset vendors designing 2.5G and 3G phones.

Bluetooth IC vendors are also in the midst of a competitive frenzy as they look to capture a foothold in the market, with a view to being long term survivors. Particularly impressive has been the chipset ASP declines over the last 12 months, which has been achieved in the absence of a bigger ramp-up in volume. Bluetooth chipset pricing is rapidly shifting from being cited as a market obstacle to becoming a market driver. As pricing becomes more favorable, Bluetooth integration becomes more compelling for a larger set of device vendors.

The ABI report "Bluetooth: the Global Outlook for Bluetooth Component and Equipment Markets" examines the evolution of Bluetooth technology, analyzes potential overlap with other wireless technologies, forecasts the IC market and segments Bluetooth device shipments into 15 categories. While mobile handsets are set to dominate the Bluetooth device market, the report notes that other key Bluetooth device categories will include cordless headsets, computing devices and the automotive market.

For more information on this study, visit http://www. alliedworld.com/servlets/ResearchDetails?productid= BLU02.

Kopin Harness Nanotechnology to Achieve Breakthrough in Solid-state Lighting

Kopin Corp. for the first time has harnessed nanotechnology to produce light-emitting diodes (LED), yielding blue LEDs that are smaller than a grain of sand but are ultra efficient solid-state light sources. The technical breakthrough is revealed and published in the July 29 edition of the prestigious Applied Physical Letters .

Using a new patent-pending process that creates "NanoPockets¬™" and other improvements, Kopin has developed a way to produce blue LED chips as bright as those commercially available and yet are driven by a much lower voltage. Kopin's new CyberLite™ blue LED chips require less than 2.9 V of electricity (for 20 mA of current) - significantly lower than the 3.3 V for commercially available LEDs - and yet have 100 millicandela brightness. "Getting below 3 V has been a scientific hurdle for nearly a decade," said Kopin founder and chairman Dr. John C.C. Fan. "It took a new way of thinking to overcome this challenge. With further development, we can approach the holy grail of using these solid-state sources for general lighting." The blue CyberLite can be combined with a yellow phosphor to create a white LED. These blue and white CyberLite are ideal for compact portable light-using devices, such as wireless phones, games, camcorders, cameras, laptops and PDAs, which operate on battery power. "Today's CyberLites announcement is significant because Kopin has cleverly integrated nanotechnology into the semiconductor process to create LEDs that are extremely low voltage and ultra bright," said Bob Steele, director of optoelectronics at Strategies Unlimited, a market research firm.

"With CyberLites, we have taken a very important first step in the commercialization of nanotechnology," said Fan. "The next step is achieving mass production. Although this is always the toughest part, as we did with our HBT transistors and CyberDisplay™ technologies, we believe we can move CyberLites into large-volume production for the mass-market. We have already begun shipping evaluation samples of CyberLites to prospective customers towards this goal."

Kopin selected LED lighting as its next innovation based on its Wafer Engineering Process™ because it has synergy with its current III-V and CyberDisplays products, and because the high brightness LED market is already large at $1.2 B today and expected to grow rapidly, reaching more than $3 B by 2005, according to Strategies Unlimited.

New Automotive Wireless Networks Study

By way of Chrysler's Uconnect system, 2002 will mark the introduction of an automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) Bluetooth offering. However, the question remains: what lies ahead for Bluetooth in automotive and what role is 802-11 expected to take?

Bluetooth's largest automotive driver is the technology's proliferation into mobile handsets. Because the greatest portion of handset use is inside a vehicle, automotive OEMs are looking to link the handset with onboard systems. Since Bluetooth car kits are relatively simple and inexpensive to install, OEMs are proactively installing them, realizing the growing probability they will be federally mandated.

Ultimately, Bluetooth's reach will extend far beyond telephony in the vehicle. Today's telematics systems will soon escape the bonds of cellular networks and will exploit new wireless connectivity options, including 802-11. Potential applications for 802-11a range from electronic toll collection and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to safety applications, navigation, remote diagnostics, etc.

A new ABI study, "Automotive Wireless Networks: Examining the Proliferation of WLAN and PAN Technologies Into the Automotive Platform," discusses the automotive potential for both Bluetooth and 802-11, including business issues and emerging, market-driving applications. In addition to analyses of key market players, the report provides forecasts for automotive-targeted WLANs and PANs nodes, as well as adjunct devices used in the automobile, including PDAs, laptops and headsets.

Active Microwave Modules Market in N. America to Exceed $3.9 B in 2007

In early summer 2002, Engalco released its second issue report on Active Microwave Modules - Markets to 2007 (AMMNA02). This report forecast that the overall total available merchant market for this class of microwave products will grow from the $2.3 B level this current year (2002) to exceed $3.9 B in 2007. The study includes detailed market data on: electronic switches (both PIN- and MMIC-based), VCOs, DROs, YIG oscillators, linear amplifiers, fixed wireless RFICs, frequency synthesizers and other relatively complex function modules.

The first report published by Engalco that provided these data was in 1995 ("Microwaves North America") and this specific product family was first reported upon in 2001. In AMMNA02, a new approach has been adopted: notably the top group of companies addressing various product categories are identified and the end-user segmentation is appropriately adjusted. The radically changed industry dynamics since 2001 are accounted for including the current saturation of the cell phone market and the strengthening of the defense sector. A full supply-side industry directory is included.

Each year, the lead is taken by frequency synthesizers with markets for these types of modules worth over $700 M in 2002 and forecast to exceed $1 B in 2007. Fixed wireless RFICs and linear amplifiers occupy second and third places in the ranking. In contrast to previous years, especially pre-2001 when telecoms, including cell phones, made most of the running, the defense sector is now increasingly important again and this fact is reflected in all the market segmentation. For further information, contact Terry Edwards at terryengalco@compuserve.com.

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