Competition in Mobile Chips to Grow in 2009: In-Stat

Analyst firm In-Stat expects the mobile processor market to see heightened competition in the second half of 2009, as x86 chip makers such as Intel and AMD continue to drive down power consumption and ARM vendors, including Freescale, Texas Instruments and Samsung, grow the performance of their processors by adding more cores. In-Stat also expects to see the mobile processor market grown by 22.3 percent by 2013.

With Intel and Advanced Micro Devices driving down the power consumption of its x86 processors, and ARM chip makers increasing the performance of theirs, research firm In-Stat expects the competition in the mobile chip market to increase this year.

A key area of competition will be the fast-growing mini-notebook market, according to In-Stat analyst Jim McGregor. The findings are in a report, "Mobile Processor Review: The Battle for the Next Generation Consumer Devices," which In-Stat announced Aug. 18.

"While both [x86 and ARM processor vendors] will offer competitive solutions, In-Stat does not anticipate quick changes in the current market mix," McGregor said in a statement. "Mini-notebooks will be the primary battleground as the market starts seeing some crossover in 2011. However, both architectures are likely to co-exist as devices become more focused in features and usage models."

Intel and AMD continue to reduce the power envelope of their x86 processors, and Intel is making an aggressive push into the mobile space with its Atom processor, which initially was aimed at the netbook space but is now making inroads in other devices, including servers.

In the ARM space, vendors like Freescale, Texas Instruments and Samsung are looking to increase the performance of their chips by adding more cores, which enable them to grow the power while maintaining power levels, according to In-Stat.

Overall, In-Stat expects the overall mobile processor market to grow 22.3 percent through 2013, and that chip makers will continue putting more cores, graphics features, I/O capabilities and baseband functionality onto the processors.

The market for mobile processors looks strong, according to other analyst firms. Gartner reported Aug. 12 that while worldwide mobile phone shipments fell 6.1 percent in the second quarter over the same period last year, shipments of smartphones grew 40 percent.

In addition, IDC said July 30 that the consumer notebook market in the second quarter reached a new record, with 6.3 million units shipped. IDC analysts said the rise of the mini-notebook was a key factor in driving sales in the consumer notebook market.