Wireless chipsets hit 2B in 2010

Strong demand for "always connected" devices including netbooks and tablets pushed shipments of connectivity chipsets skyward to 2 billion last year, according to new study.

Increasing demand for netbooks and media tablets helped push the worldwide shipment of wireless connectivity chipsets to approximately 2 billion last year, according to new estimates from ABI Research.

This figure represents a 22 percent increase over 2009, the research firm said, noting that these are based on preliminary estimates pending the release of the final numbers for 2010.

Published Tuesday, the report attributed the robust demand for chipsets to the surging sales of netbooks, media tablets and other "always connected" consumer and industrial electronics products.

This growth will continue in the medium term, predicted Celia Bo, ABI's industry analyst.

She noted that the total shipment of wireless connectivity chipsets is projected to reach 7 billion units in 2015, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30 percent between 2010 and 2015.

ABI noted that Bluetooth will lead the overall chip shipment accounting for 60 percent of the market, followed by Wi-Fi chips at 38 percent. The latter is expected to achieve the highest growth rate among connectivity chipsets, clocking a 22 percent CAGR.

According to the research firm, the increasing demand for Wi-Fi enabled mobile and consumer electronics devices is also driving demand for the chips. The volume of Wi-Fi enabled mobile handsets shipped grew 50 percent over 2009, while the adoption of Wi-Fi mobile technology is set to reach 32 percent in 2015.

Overall shipment of Wi-Fi enabled consumer devices such as game consoles, increased by 18 percent compared to 2009, said ABI. Popular consumer gadgets such as digital still cameras (DSCs), camcorders, DVD players and set-up boxes will also post strong growth in the coming years, the research firm predicted.

It further estimated that between 2010 and 2015, the CAGR of Wi-Fi enabled DSCs and TVs are expected to reach 63 percent and 65 percent, respectively, followed by DVD players at 47 percent.