Forward Concepts has announced the publication of its newest in-depth study of the worldwide cellphone chip market. The extensive study, “Cellular Handset Chip Markets '10,” is an in-depth analysis of virtually all the chips that go into cellphones, worldwide. The study provides dozens of detailed forecasts through 2014 by each key chip type (and even by air interface, where applicable). The report ranks the top chip vendors overall and provides vendor market shares for each chip type for 2009. We believe that this is the most comprehensive study of chips that serve the cellular handset market.

The report discusses the vendor and key product changes in 2010, brought about through innovations and the many acquisitions and mergers that will shift market shares over the next year or two. Market metrics are the central focus of the study. A few key findings include:

• Qualcomm continues as the cellular handset chip market leader in the $25 B 2009 cellphone chip market with a 20 percent market share, followed by Texas Instruments with 14 percent, ST-Ericsson with 10 percent and Infineon with 9 percent. Next in line are MediaTek, Broadcom and Samsung followed by almost two dozen significant vendors of a great variety of chip types.

• In addition to semiconductor chips, the dominant cost of cellphones is still the LCD display, which constitutes a $13.7 B market.

• Smartphone shipments are predicted to grow by 42 percent in 2010, severely impacting the growth of feature phone sales, while mid-range and ultra-low-cost phones continue to grow, but at a slower pace.

• The smartphone market is driving the strong adoption of combo peripherals that support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio on a single chip, with GPS integration not far behind.

• The integration of application processor and digital baseband in a single package is essential to address the shift to lower-cost smartphones. Qualcomm's Snapdragon product is the most public example of such "Com-Processors." It is estimated that this trend has already impacted severely the demand for the standalone application processors, dropping from 38 percent of cellphone total processor revenues in 2008 to 25 percent in 2009.

• Touch screen phone shipments grew from 14 percent of all cellphone shipments in 2009 to an estimated 27 percent this year. It is predicted that capacitive controller shipments will overtake resistive ones in 2011. The capacitive touch screen has now migrated down into mid-range phones, which will create even larger demands for the technology.

• MEMS constitute another fast-growing component family in the cellphone market, expanding from basic accelerometers into (multiple) microphones, gyroscopes, compasses and now RF switches, collectively forecasted to reach the $6 B level in 2014.

According to the study's principal author, Carter L. Horney, "The cellphone continues to be the physical and market magnet that is pulling in the functionality of digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players, GPS navigators, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM Radio, mobile TV, cordless phones, smart cards and even fingerprint sensors, and the cellphone is quickly becoming the dominant market for each and all of these functions." The report covers all of these cellphone component markets, and companies making stand-alone versions of such products would be well-advised to understand how their market will be impacted by cellphones.

Will Strauss, Forward Concepts’ president and editor of the study report, said, "With new peripherals and features being continually added, there are opportunities for smaller vendors to target new chip types to get their piece of the market. And this valuable resource provides the key information needed for new business plans. We are confident that this study provides the most comprehensive coverage of cellphone chip markets available."