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Evolution of Smart IP-Enabled Consumer Electronics

The consumer electronics (CE) market was once driven by the ability of devices to provide single functions -- like music playback, video viewing, or basic voice communications.

Today, multifaceted intelligent CE devices are increasingly providing several functions and Internet-protocol (IP) network connectivity for online access to information, communications, and multimedia entertainment.

This is resulting in the overlap of features and functions between product categories -- not only in the mobile segment, but also in other CE devices like digital HDTVs and set-top boxes.

As a result, this entire group is morphing into a larger product category -- often referred to as "smart" devices. These evolved devices are increasingly sharing the same silicon components, operating systems, and application software.

There are three leading platforms in the mobile segment -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks PCs -- and according to the latest study by NPD In-Stat, they now forecast that this category of mobile platforms will grow at a CAGR of 25.7 percent through 2015, as compared to 8.7 percent for the overall mobile market.

"The technology driver of all these smart devices is the mobile technology, because it represents the largest and fastest growing segment of the entire electronics market," says Jim McGregor, Chief Technology Strategist at NPD In-Stat.

Even in the PC product category, where high performance was once the mantra, CPU vendors are now focused on the efficiency of mobile computing and using the resulting product capabilities to drive other advancements -- including desktop PCs, servers, and embedded applications.

The innovation of the mobile market is being driven by four key factors: richer content, network access for communications and multimedia, increased bandwidth to enable this access, and new technologies.

The evolution of these four factors form a self-sustaining circle of innovation that feeds from, and ultimately re-enables, each category.

Key findings from the latest market study include:
  • Only 40 percent of the mobile SoC TAM will use at least one dedicated GPU in 2011. It is important to note that both the number of SoCs using GPUs and the number of GPU cores per SoC is increasing throughout the forecast period.
  • The mobile SoC TAM will exceed 3.1 billion devices in 2015.
  • 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.
  • Smartphones will increase from just under 20 percent of total handsets in 2010 to 43 percent in 2015.

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