Microwave Journal

Over a Billion Ultra-mobile Device ICs Expected to Ship in 2015

November 17, 2010

The classification “ultra-mobile device” (UMD) in this case encompasses media tablets, netbooks, mobile Internet devices (MID) and eBook readers, and together they comprise one of the fastest-growing consumer product markets in the world. All these products need ICs, and according to the latest ABI Research forecasts, this demand could result in shipments of nearly one and a quarter billion ICs in 2015.

But there’s a big “if” in that “could.” According to principal analyst Peter Cooney, “Our forecast for UMD ICs hinges on one factor that is still unknown: whether the media tablet market performs as expected. Media tablets are potentially very important but still very new, and the ultimate size of their market will in turn determine the demand for these ICs. If the tablet market meets or exceeds our expectations, then UMD IC shipments should surpass 1.24 billion in 2015.”

Illustrating this conundrum, netbooks accounted for 90 percent of the UMD market in 2009. If media tablets find widespread consumer adoption, by 2015 the market will be split about 50-50 between netbooks and tablets. (MIDs and eReaders will still exist, but their market share is expected to be negligible.)

Many but not all of these ICs will be central processors; the remainder of the market consists of connectivity and other chips, including Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and MEMS. In fact, notes Practice Director Kevin Burden, “The connectivity IC and MEMS manufacturers will probably get the most ‘bang’ out of this market, as these components will show the strongest revenue growth even though the volumes are lower than for the X86 or ARM-based processors that stand at the heart of these devices.”

ABI Research’s “Semiconductors in Tablets, Netbooks, MIDs and Mobile CE” study focuses on processors, power management ICs, connectivity ICs, audio ICs and MEMS sensors used in ultra-mobile devices. It provides forecasts from 2009 to 2015 for each semiconductor type by device category, and provides insight on market drivers. Supplier market shares and key company profiles are included.

It is part of the Netbooks, MIDs and Mobile CE Research Service that also includes other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, ABI Insights, ABI Vendor Matrices and analyst inquiry support.​