- Buyers Guide
Worldwide handset shipments decreased 1.9 percent YoY to 387.3 million units in Q3 2012, according to new data from market intelligence firm ABI Research. Worldwide smartphone shipments increased 32.8 percent YoY to 155.5 million over the same period. Samsung retained the lead position in both handset and smartphone shipments. Underscoring its accomplishment, Samsung shipped more than double the smartphones of second place Apple.
As wireless connectivity attach rates increase in many markets and OEMs continue to push for cost savings, IC vendors such as Broadcom, Qualcomm, TI, Marvell, MediaTek and others, have created integrated wireless connectivity solutions to gain market share. These solutions known as Wireless Connectivity Combo ICs have already seen rapid adoption in smartphones and are now seeing strong usage growth in many other end applications including laptops, flat panel TVs, and automotive infotainment systems.
Wi-Fi protocols have changed significantly over the last two to three years and almost every smartphone shipped this year will offer some form of Wi-Fi capabilities. However, a new Wi-Fi protocol will begin to dominate mobile devices soon. New market intelligence from ABI Research projects the IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol will begin to conquer the existing protocols (802.11b, g, and n) in the next two to three years.
ABI Research forecasts that the total value spend of NFC mobile payments will rise from $4 billion in 2012 to $191 billion in 2017, breaking the $100 billion mark in 2016. Mobile payments and more importantly the convergence between payment types - proximity, P2P and online - stored on a single NFC handset will be the initial trigger driving market convergence across a host of other markets, including ticketing, retail, loyalty, and access control.
Cisco remains on the top spot of the enterprise Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) equipment market with 36 percent of the world market share followed by ZTE and Aruba based on shipments. Cisco has a dominating presence in North America and European markets, but is increasingly losing ground from close competition from ZTE in APAC, Latin America, and MEA.
Greater adoption of mobile broadband modems in portable and mobile computing and the rollout of 4G networks have not been enough to overcome a downturn in USB modem shipment volumes. New data analysis released from market intelligence firm ABI Research finds that 49 million mobile broadband modems shipped in PC and Consumer Electronics devices worldwide during the first half of 2012.
The demands of cost reduction and greater efficiency in cellular base station design are leading to a rapidly growing market for remote radio heads. According to a new study from ABI Research, this market is on track to exceed a value of $1 billion in 2017. Cellular base stations are now undergoing a design revolution. A base station was traditionally a rack of equipment inside a shelter. That design is now becoming anachronistic because it is expensive, and because the required coaxial cable running up the tower to the antennas often results in significant losses of power.
The market for mobile handset IC, including platform and connectivity ICs, surpassed $32 billion in 2011 and is forecast to grow a further 11 percent in 2012 to reach $35.7 billion. Growth is being led largely by the smartphone segment, with ultra-low end handsets also growing strongly. “Qualcomm stands out as the market leader with 26 percent overall share in 2011,” stated Peter Cooney practice director, of semiconductors, “its continuing focus on the handset market and in particular its efforts to increase platform integration look set to further strengthen Qualcomm’s hold on the market in the near term.”
The number of Wi-Fi enabled devices shipped in 2012 is expected to surpass 1.5 billion. Growth is occurring across many markets including mobile handsets, laptops, media tablets, printers, TVs, and automotive. “Since 2009 over 9 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices have been shipped,” commented Peter Cooney, wireless connectivity practice director, “whilst growth was driven by networking in the early years the smartphone soon became the major market.
Wireline operators have been the largest market for IMS services to date, but due to an increase in the number of mobile IMS deployments, ABI Research forecasts IMS revenues to reach $3.4 billion in the next five years.
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