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HD Video Driving New Mobile Device Requirements

Partly driven by the desire to be connected anywhere, anytime -- and to have access to every type of content -- the consumer electronics (CE) industry continues to develop new mobile communication and computing platforms.

A key dynamic of this change is the consumer desire for a rich visual experience on any size screen. This experience continues to push the limits of current mobile System-on-a-Chip (SoC) capabilities and makes the graphics processing unit (GPU) one of the most critical components in the design and differentiation of the SoC and consumer devices.

According to the latest market study by NPD In-Stat, they now forecast that these trends will push the mobile SoC TAM to over 3.1 billion devices in 2015 -- that's up from 2 billion in 2010.

Devices that may require a mobile SoC include cellphones, smartphones, netbook PCs, media tablets, digital still cameras, mp3 players, personal navigation devices, e-readers, handheld game consoles, digital camcorders, and portable media players.

"The shift toward graphical user interfaces and media-rich content in entertainment and computing has pushed multimedia acceleration, including graphics, video, and audio, in electronic devices from a simple co–processing function to the forefront of semiconductor and system design," says Jim McGregor, Research Director, NPD In-Stat.

This demand has been accelerated by HD video content, higher accessibility to multimedia over the Internet, industry standards, new technologies, and increased communication bandwidth. These advancements, however, also come with the challenges of increased complexity, increased performance requirements, and constraints in power, size, and device cost.

Key findings from the latest study include:
  • There are three driver/magnet platforms in the mobile segment - smartphones, tablets, and notebooks PCs - that will grow at a CAGR of 25.7 percent, as compared to 8.7 percent for the overall mobile market.
  • Only 40 percent of the mobile SoC TAM will use at least one dedicated GPUs in 2011. It is important to note that both the number of SoCs using GPUs is increasing and the number of GPU cores per SoC is increasing throughout the forecast period.
  • Intel and Imagination lead the GPU market because of their dominance in PCs and smartphones, respectively. Combined, the two are projected to comprise 61.3 percent of the GPU Technology Mobile Serviceable Available Market in 2011.
  • The division between PC and mobile CE GPUs will narrow in the future, increasing the competition between GPU technologies.

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