Apple's iPad is helping tablets become one of the largest global markets for semiconductors, according to new data from IHS.
Media tablets will become the worlds fourth-largest market
for semiconductors, according to new data from research firm IHS.
That marks a meteoric rise for tablets, which ranked as the
thirty-fifth largest semiconductor market in 2010. IHS, which released its new
report March 9, expects tablet-semiconductor sales to reach $18.2 billion in
The speed of the media tablets rise from near
insignificance to top-tier prominence is unprecedented in the history of the
global semiconductor industry, Dale Ford, head of IHS electronics and
semiconductor research, wrote in a March 9 research note. Driven primarily by
Apples iPad, the media tablet in four years is expected to scale semiconductor
heights that took more than a decade for other products to attain, such as
notebook PCs and cell phones.
Tablets are also boosting the fortunes of other
manufacturers, including those who supply NAND flash, image sensors and
light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Apples newest iPad could help further spur tablet sales,
according to another analyst. We believe Apple will maintain its dominant
market share of the fast-growing tablet market despite increased competition,
T. Michael Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, wrote in a March 8
research note. We believe the new iPad has raised the bar relative to
competing tablets with impressive hardware specifications, competitive pricing
and the leading software ecosystem.
Apples new iPad includes a high-resolution Retina
Display, along with a proprietary A5X processor with quad-core graphics and a
5-megapixel rear camera capable of shooting 1080p video. It weighs slightly
more than the iPad 2, at 1.4 pounds, and offers comparable battery life. Those
in the United States will have the option of purchasing the new iPad with 4G
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity on either Verizon or AT&T.
Despite its commanding market share, however, the iPad
continues to face competition on a number of fronts. Amazons Kindle Fire sold
millions of units over the holiday season, estimated analysts (the online
retailer itself is typically shy about revealing Kindle-related sales numbers),
and Android tablets havent yet disappeared from store shelves despite
generally anemic sales. Later this year, manufacturers will likely begin
issuing tablets loaded with Windows 8, which will come with its own app store.
Whether or not that competition manages to squeeze even the
new-and-improved iPad remains to be seen. But if IHS proves correct, the
consumer and business interest driving those combined tablet sales will also
prove a very, very good thing for the semiconductor industry.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.