The mobile communications ecosystem is now responsible for stimulating demand in many other related areas of the technology sector. As an example, mobile device semiconductors were one of the few bright spots in a chipset market that had stalled in 2011.
Revenue from chipsets designed specifically for mobile devices increased by more than 20 percent to $35 billion, while the total semiconductor market in 2011 reached just a 2 percent year-on-year growth.
"It’s tempting to describe this industry as lackluster," says Peter Cooney, practice director, semiconductors at ABI Research.
"But then, some segments of the semiconductor market are booming and vendors concentrating on the mobile device sector have delivered very healthy growth in 2011."
Shipments of mobile devices such as smartphones, media tablets, and e-book readers are in high-growth. They, as a result, are driving related growth for a range of semiconductor components -- including modems, applications processors, wireless connectivity ICs, MEMS sensors, and audio ICs.
Platform ICs (including modems, applications processors, RF components, and PMUs) account for the bulk of overall revenues, but are becoming an increasingly competitive section of the market.
Vendors including Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson, MediaTek, Intel, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Marvell, and Renesas Mobile have positioned themselves as platform solution suppliers.
The top 10 suppliers now account for more than 75 percent of total revenues and their dominance will continue to build as niche suppliers are acquired or weak suppliers choose to leave the market.
Growth and opportunities will be more prevalent within wireless connectivity ICs (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, etc.) as well as MEMS sensors and audio. Combined growth across the three segments will top a 30 percent CAGR from 2011 to 2016.