Friday, May 7, 2010

ABI Handset Market Estimates for 1Q-2010

According to ABI Research, handset shipments globally for 1Q-2010 powered ahead to 303 million, up 19% Year-on-Year. This bodes well for 2010 as a whole as shipments could reach 1.3 billion. It is also notable that 3G handset shipments eclipsed 2G handset shipments. The strongest handset shipment growth was seen in the Middle East and Africa (20% YoY) followed by the Americas, particularly the US (11%). Europe, on the other hand, is languishing with single-digit growth.

Nokia’s market-share stood at 34%. New smartphones such as the N8 are helping the manufacturer to shore up its handset portfolio, as its loss of traction in the smartphone sector hit sales hard. In response, revamped efforts with Symbian ^3 and ^4, are intended to help Nokia regain momentum. Samsung had a strong quarter, securing 21%, and has been cultivating deeper relationships with US and European carriers which helped the firm grow its shipments 40.2% YoY.

LG’s market-share, 8.9%, has suffered from a weak smartphone portfolio in the North American market. Shipments grew 20% YoY. Motorola is benefiting from its initial success (2.8%) with the Droid and it keen to back it up with new products such as the Quench but the market is overtaking it. 1Q-2010 proved to a strong quarter for Apple (8.75m, 2.9%) devices shipped, which is up 130% YoY: a remarkable feat, but Apple should diversify its lineup.
I think the HTC is a real up and coming leader in the market. They make many phones for other manufacturers but I like their HD2 which is out of stock every where in my area due to high demand (I tried to get one the other day but there was even a waiting list, so I settled for a Blackberry Bold). With 1 GHz processors and many GBs of flash memory standard on most new phones, smartphones are really just mini-computers now.

M/A-COM Merges with Mimix

M/A-COM Technology Solutions and Mimix announced yesterday that they had agreed to merge and all products in the Mimix portfolio would reside within the M/A-COM family of products. This is not too surprising as they are both owned by the GaAs Labs/John Ocampo group after they purchased M/A-COM from Cobham in March of 2009.

I think this will strengthen both companies as Mimix brings some very good pt. to pt. radio and other MMIC products into the M/A-COM family that complement M/A-COM's existing portfolio. After Tyco Electronics divided M/A-COM up and sold them off several years ago, this gives the remaining entity that will carry on the name and heritage some more size and broadens the portfolio as the regain their market presence.

The original M/A-COM now resides in 5 different companies:
  • M/A-COM Technology Solutions has the commercial product lines
  • Cobham has the aerospace/defense product lines
  • Harris has the wireless systems (LMR) product lines
  • Autoliv (Sweden) has the automotive radar product lines
  • Micronetics has the RFID product lines

I believe M/A-COM Technology Solutions will be the company that carries on the name and the others will transition away from the brand. It looks like the company will leverage a hybrid fab model as they continue to operate the M/A-COM wafer fabs but also use external foundries for chip production. Mimix is a fabless company and M/A-COM was already transitioning to the hybird model to improve flexibility and reduce capital investments from what I could tell.

For a short history of M/A-COM, read our April special report "M/A-COM is Reborn on Its 60th Birthday". What do you think of the merger and implications on the industry?