Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Military Spending and GaN Driving RF Power Markets

Although spending on RF power semiconductors in wireless infrastructure markets has continued to stagnate, according to ABI Research other markets – notably the military – are seeing increased activity. Also, according to a new study from ABI Research, Gallium Nitride – long seen as a promising new “material of choice” for RF power semiconductors – is continuing to gain some market traction. Gallium Nitride (GaN) increased its market share in 2010, and is expected to do the same in 2011. Although its adoption hasn’t been as rapid as originally expected, it is nonetheless forecast to be a significant force by 2016.

Other than wireless infrastructure, the vertical market showing the strongest uptick in the RF power semiconductor business has been the military. While the producers of these devices are located in the major industrialized countries, the military market is now so global that equipment buyers may come from anywhere.

High Growth Electronics Drive Wireless Chipset Markets

According to ABI research, Surging sales of netbooks, media tablets, and other “always connected” consumer and industrial electronics products mean equally robust performance in markets for wireless connectivity ICs. ABI Research expects that when the final numbers for 2010 are gathered, shipments of wireless connectivity chipsets will reach a total of approximately two billion units, a 22% shipment increase compared to 2009.

"Market demand for wireless connectivity chipsets has been increasingly robust in recent years, a trend that will continue in the medium term," says industry analyst Celia Bo. “Total shipments of wireless connectivity chipsets are forecast to reach seven billion units in 2015, with a 2010-2015 CAGR of 30%.”

Bluetooth maintained its lead among all wireless connectivity chipset categories, accounting for almost 60% of all 2010 shipments. Wi-Fi chipsets take second place with approximately a 38% market share. They are expected to achieve the highest growth rate among connectivity chipsets, with a 22% CAGR between 2010 and 2015.

For technology applications, the increasing demand for Wi-Fi-enabled mobile and consumer electronics devices is a key engine driving market growth. Wi-Fi-enabled mobile handset shipments have increased as much as 50% since 2009, and the adoption rate of Wi-Fi technology in mobile handsets is set to reach 32% in 2015. Today almost every netbook, media tablet, and gaming console has Wi-Fi embedded, and 2010 shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled consumer devices showed an increase of about 18% compared to 2009.

Besides the already established segments, other Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics devices such as digital still cameras (DSCs), digital camcorders, TVs, DVD players, DVRs and set-top boxes (STBs) are all set for strong growth in the coming years. Between 2010 and 2015, the CAGRs of Wi-Fi-enabled digital still cameras and TVs are expected to reach 63% and 65% respectively, followed by DVD players with a 47% CAGR.