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Semiconductor Role in Next-Gen CE Products

Recent teardown research from IDC's semiconductor analysts provides insight into the value chain for cutting-edge consumer electronics (CE) products, such as the Apple iPhone, the Apple TV, and the Slingbox AV.

"Teardown research analyzes product bill of material (BOM) costs and, more importantly, allows us to witness technology adoption and integration trends firsthand," said IdaRose Sylvester, senior analyst for IDC semiconductor program. "It also allows us to evaluate the competitive supplier situation from one product generation to the next."

IDC's teardown analysis of the iPhone reveals that many of its revolutionary features, including PDA functionality, strong multimedia playback, and Wi-Fi, are made possible by the semiconductor content found in the device.

"As a result, IDC sees new opportunities for semiconductor companies to sell into the converged mobile device market, now that Apple has pushed these features to the consumer," added Sylvester. "However, the competition is already lining up."

A similar teardown analysis compares two next-generation video products, the Apple TV and the Slingbox AV, and reveals that while both products are designed to make digital media more accessible, they approach video ubiquity from two different perspectives.

The Apple TV is focused on getting PC-based content to the TV via a local area network (LAN) connection. The Slingbox AV is focused on getting TV and broadcast content to the PC via an Internet connection.

"Although both products are evolving the category of media extender and are subject to substantial growth, there are several issues potentially inhibiting the market, including cost, consumer acceptance, and digital rights management (DRM),'' noted Sylvester.

"Semiconductor vendors have a role to play in providing the right features for the right price, but face a degree of uncertainty about market growth rate and ultimate size."

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