Combo chips drive short-range wireless IC growth for 2010

Market for short-range wireless ICs is forecast to expand this year by 20 percent, says ABI research, with Bluetooth and FM radio integration heading the pack in "combo" chip solutions.

Total shipment of Bluetooth, near field communication (NFC), ultra-wide band (UWN), 802.15.4 and Wi-Fi Internet connection sharing (ICs) devices are set to increase approximately 20 percent this year compared with 2009, according to research firm ABI.

"Bluetooth ICs are leading the short-range wireless IC market," commented ABI research analyst Celia Bo.

"Bluetooth unit shipments are expected to exceed 58 percent of the total short-range wireless IC shipments in 2010. Wi-Fi ICs rank second place in this market, making up approximately 35 percent of the total shipments, with the rest of the shipments accounted for by NFC, UWB and 502.15.4 ICs," said Bo.

Cellular handsets and accessories account for almost 75 percent of Bluetooth-enabled products shipped this year, followed by notebook and ultra-mobile device (UMD) segments taking approximately 12 percent.

ABI adds that demand for Bluetooth-enabled consumer electronic and home entertainment products are expected to grow steadily over the next five years.

Shipment of portable media players is forecast to grow tenfold in 2015 compared with 2010, while the total shipment of networked and handheld game consoles is expected to show a 14 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2010 and 2015.

Bo explained: "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."

According to ABI's press release, the Bluetooth+FM radio integration solution is taking the highest market share among the major integration solutions of "combo" chips today, followed by the Bluetooth+Wi-Fi+FM radio and Bluetooth+FM radio+GPS solution.

ABI says that Bluetooth's integration with the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless technology will be adopted widely from next year and is projected to account for more than 50 percent of the total Bluetooth combo IC shipment in 2015.

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