Embedded Wi-Fi Chipsets Could Impact Potential Combo Chipset Revenue by $590 Million in 2015

In November of 2011, Qualcomm unveiled new details regarding its Snapdragon S4 class processors. These new Snapdragon processors will have integrated baseband processors for not only 3G/4G cellular standards, but also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Qualcomm believes that these new chipsets will enable power savings and improve the manageability of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. NPD In-Stat ( believes that other processor manufacturers, which have been acquiring both cellular and Wi-Fi intellectual property over the past two years, will soon follow suit. Asa result, new In-Stat research forecasts the potential Wi-Fi combo chipset revenue loss, as new processors with embedded Wi-Fi baseband eliminate the need for separate monolithic Wi-Fi combo chipsets, could be as high as $590 million in 2015.

“One of the critical factors in determining the impact from these integrated processors is the impact on the bill-of-materials cost,” says Greg Potter, Analyst.  “Not only do you eliminate the need for a Wi-Fi combo chip, you potentially simplify the PCB in phones, tablets, and similar devices. Other benefits include the potential to decrease the number of antennas and the elimination of potential signal interference. The initial markets for these chipsets will be high-end and mid-tier smartphones along with Android tablets. Moving forward, expect these chips to migrate down to low-end smartphones, low-end tablets, and even basic and feature phones.”

Potter continues, “With new processors integrating Wi-Fi, we are also likely to see a benefit to Wi-Fi adoption rates in some markets. Digital home devices such as TVs and set top boxes that are beginning to consider smartphone processors as the basis of their platforms may find Wi-Fi as additional and valuable feature, accelerating adoption and increasing the overall Wi-Fi demand.”

Key research findings include:

  • The introduction of low-power Wi-Fi chipsets presents a challenge to Bluetooth in certain markets.

  • Monolithic chipset revenues and shipments will decline slightly from 2010 to 2011 as more cellular phones switch to combo chipsets.

  • Combo chip prices will see a steady decline, and by 2015 they will decrease by over one fourth of 2010 pricing levels.

  • 802.11ac will grow rapidly with shipments to surpass 650 million chipsets by 2015.

This market Alert is drawn from the In-Stat research,  Wi-Fi Chipsets: Is 802.11ac The New Black? (#IN1104996SI), which provides recent news in Wi-Fi, analysis of new standards such as 802.11ac and Wi-Fi Direct, analysis of low-power chipsets, and of monolithic, combo, and embedded chipsets. Chipsets are forecast by type (monolithic, combo, embedded) and by standard (802.11a/bg, 802.11n, 802.11ac) with data provided for the years 2010 through 2015. Data and analysis are presented on the number of Wi-Fi chipsets shipped worldwide across 33 different product categories, including:

  • Automobiles
  • Cell Phones (Basic and Feature Phones)
  • Cell Phones (Smartphones)
  • Mobile Hotspots
  • Desktop
  • Mini-Note
  • Notebook
  • Tablets
  • Broadband Routers
  • FTTH Residential Gateways
  • Network-Attached Storage (Consumer Network-Attached Storage)
  • Network-Attached Storage (SMB Network-Attached Storage)
  • Residential Gateways
  • Wireless Access Points
  • Multifunction Peripherals
  • Printers (Ink Jet)
  • Printers (Laser)
  • USB Adapters (USB Wi-Fi Adapters)
  • Cameras (Digital Still Cameras)
  • E-Readers
  • Handheld Game Consoles
  • PMP
  • PND
  • Blu-ray Player (Blue Laser)
  • Digital Photo Frames
  • Digital Televisions
  • Set Top Box (Digital Cable)
  • Set Top Box (Digital Satellite)
  • Set Top Box (Digital Terrestrial)
  • Set Top Box (IP/DSL)
  • Standalone PVR
  • Video Game Consoles
  • Streaming Media Players

This research is part of In-Stat's Mobile Technology service, which provides analysis of the market for technologies, IP, and semiconductors that enable next-generation mobile devices, including processors, graphics, modems, GPS, displays, memory, storage, operating systems, software, and human interfaces.

Related In-Stat research:

Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) by Device, Q1'12 Forecast

Wi-Fi in Consumer Electronics: Wi-Fi Continues Its Push Into the Digital Home

Wi-Fi Direct: It's All About the Software

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