Hybrid processors contributed half of the US$111 billion processor market last year, as market players look to increase their competitive advantage and move into the mobile space, according to a report by IMS Research.
In particular, the research firm pointed to the 2010 launch of the combined central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) by both Intel and AMD. Released Thursday, the study revealed that hybridization--chips that include two or more different types of processor cores--had eliminated the market for integrated graphics chipsets, but would not affect the GPU segment, which was expected to grow at 4.1 percent from 2011 through to 2016.
Hybridization is a key step in increasing the computer's competitive advantage and paves the way for vendors to move into smartphones, tablets and other high-performance embedded devices, said IMS which was acquired by IHS. It added that hybrid application processor growth in smartphones and tablets would clock 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively, CAGR (compunded annual growth rate) from 2011 to 2016 .
Tom Hackenberg, semiconductors research manager at IMS Research, noted in the report that the last decade had been pivotal for the hybridization trend, driven by the mobile and media consumption device markets. Processing vendors such as Apple, Broadcom, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung, ST Ericsson and Texas Instruments began offering heterogeneous application-specific processors with a microprocessor core integrating a GPU, to add value in light of confined space, power and costs, Hackenberg explained.
As the sale of smartphones exceed computers, and tablet demand explodes in the market, hybridized application-specific mobile processors represent the next largest class of processor in terms of revenue, IMS noted.
"With double-digit revenue growth in these markets, it's not surprising to see major processor vendors such as AMD and Intel adopting this strategy to compete for computer market share and expending increasing research and development on embedded solutions," Hackenberg said.