According to ABI Research, the market for short range wireless ICs is forecast to expand this year; total shipments of Bluetooth, NFC, UWB, 802.15.4 and Wi-Fi ICs will increase approximately 20% compared to 2009. “Bluetooth ICs still lead the short-range wireless IC market,” says ABI Research industry analyst Celia Bo. “Unit shipments are expected to exceed 58% of the total short-range wireless IC shipments in 2010. Wi-Fi ICs rank second place in this market, making up approximately 35% of the total shipments, with the rest of the shipments accounted for by NFC, UWB and 502.15.4 ICs.”
Cellular handsets and accessories are taking a significant portion of the market for Bluetooth-enabled products in 2010, accounting for almost 75% of total shipments. This is followed by the notebook and UMD segments, taking approximately 12%. The demand for Bluetooth-enabled consumer electronic and home entertainment products is expected to grow steadily over the next five years. Shipments of portable media players are forecast to grow tenfold in 2015 as compared to 2010, and the total shipments of networked game consoles and handheld game consoles are expected to show a 14% CAGR between 2010 and 2015.
Bo adds, “Combination chip solutions that integrate two or more short-range wireless technologies will be broadly deployed in hundreds of millions of electronic devices due to their advantages of lower cost and smaller chip size, paving the way for expansion of the short-range wireless IC market.”
The Bluetooth+FM radio integration solution is taking the highest market share among the major integration solutions of “combo” chips today, followed by Bluetooth+Wi-Fi+FM radio and Bluetooth+FM radio+GPS solutions. Bluetooth’s integration with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless technology will be adopted widely from next year and is projected to account for more than 50% of total Bluetooth combo IC shipments in 2015.
ABI also reported that shipments of “combo” chipsets for mobile devices that gather a variety of connectivity types in one small package are expected to approach 280 million worldwide by the end of 2010. Integrating different radio technologies such as FM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS on a single chip may sometimes involve performance compromises, but saves money, space and power. ABI Research forecasts that more than 979 million such chipsets will ship in 2015.
These forecasts bode well for the wireless industry. Hopefully, they will be on target or better.