Bluetooth versus Combination ICs in Handsets - 21 May 2007
To date, Bluetooth has been the single most successful wireless technology (the volumes speak for themselves. However, the wireless communications industry is converging and “wireless coexistence” is now vital to the future success of a large number of companies in this industry.
Companies who have traditionally focused on a single radio technology are now branching out into other technologies to keep up with the fast pace of this evolving industry.
IMS Research’s Report entitled “ICs with Multiple Wireless Functionality” comes at a critical time when the wireless industry is in an exciting state of change. In the future there’s little use in considering a single technology when looking at handsets; recent announcements from the likes of Broadcom, CSR and TI, who are now combining multiple radios on a single IC, confirm the industry has progressed beyond this.
The cellular handset is a unique market for Bluetooth; its volumes dwarf all of the other sectors, making it a highly sought after market which has lead to fierce competition for market share. However, relatively few design-in opportunities are left at the leading handset manufacturers and this has lead to special requirements being placed upon IC vendors.
IMS Research predicts that these special requirements will automatically transfer to combination ICs, especially for those aimed at cellular handsets. Single-chip solutions that adhere to the size, power and cost demands of handset manufacturers are the only option for IC suppliers if they want to remain competitive in this market. Price pressure means that combinations such as Bluetooth/FM, Bluetooth/WLAN/FM and Bluetooth/GPS/FM need to remain as cost effective as possible. Suppliers are looking at the add-on price on top of Bluetooth being minimal, with the eventual target for manufacturers that the add-on price will be negligible.
According to Fiona Thomson, Market Analyst, “IMS Research predicts that by 2011 single Bluetooth solutions will only account for around 25% of Bluetooth penetration into handsets”. She added, “over 50% of handsets will include Bluetooth combined with at least one other technology on a single chip”.
About IMS Research
IMS Research is a supplier of market research and consultancy services on a wide range of global electronics markets. The company is supported by headquarters in Wellingborough, UK and offices in Austin, Texas and Shanghai, China. IMS Research regularly publishes detailed research on markets, among others. www.imsresearch.com