The total Bluetooth IC market (including stand alone and combo ICs) is expected to reach $4.3 billion in 2012 — an increase of 21% on 2011. Revenues are forecast to grow at a compound growth rate of over 20% to reach almost $12 billion by 2017.

“Bluetooth market growth continues to be driven largely by the smartphone sector, with an extra push coming from other major markets such as laptops and media tablets,” said Peter Cooney, wireless connectivity practice director. “The emergence of Bluetooth Smart and increasing Bluetooth adoption in new markets will be a major driver in future growth.”

Broadcom had over 40% market share in 2011 and is expected to increase this somewhat in 2012 as its combo ICs continue to gain traction, particularly in the smartphone market. Broadcom has continued to gain many high volume design wins but competition is growing, suppliers such as Texas Instruments and Marvell are hot on Broadcom’s heels.

“Platform integration is also set to change the market place considerably as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4 (with integrated connectivity) has entered the market and is rapidly being adopted; other platform suppliers such as MediaTek are developing more integrated solutions,” continued Cooney. “Samsung’s recent move to become a platform solution supplier is also set to shake up the market in the next few years.”

Broadcom have built a substantial business by spotting the opportunity for combo ICs in smartphones and providing compelling solutions to its customers; reducing cost, die size, and design time. As with any market, competition has increased as other suppliers see the potential revenue growth and want to carve out a section of it for themselves.

Broadcom’s market share is expected to fall over the coming years, however, providing it can stay ahead of the competition by developing new combo solutions (for example adding technologies such as NFC) and in the longer-term develop its own more integrated platform solutions it has the potential to continue to be the leading supplier and benefit from increasing revenues for a number of years to come.

 These findings are part of ABI Research’s Bluetooth Research Service, which includes Research Reports, Market Data, Insights, and Competitive Assessments.