Now that Qualcomm has unveiled new details about its Snapdragon S4 class processors that will have integrated baseband processors for not only 3G/4G cellular standards, but also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, research agency NPD IN-Stat believes other processor manufacturers, which have been acquiring both cellular and Wi-Fi intellectual property over the past two years, will also do so.
This has caused it to 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.
Qualcomm believes that these new chipsets will enable power savings and improve the manageability of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios and this is what will obviate the need for separate Wi-Fi combo chipsets.“One of the critical factors in determining the impact from these integrated processors is the impact on the bill-of-materials cost. 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,” said Greg Potter, analyst., NPD In-Stat.
“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,” he added.
NPD In-Stat research has found that 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, it forecasts.