Global market for processors up by 24 percent thanks to smartphones and tablets

December 2, 2013
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novathor st ericsson chip soc processorNew forecast data about the number of microprocessor shipments show that the global market for processors will rise to 1.50 billion chips by the end of this year, up from 1.21 billion in 2012. Processors included in the data are traditional chips from the likes of Intel and AMD, found in desktop PCs and servers, as well as mobile System-on-a-Chip (SoC) solutions found in smartphones and tablets. The vast majority of these SoC designs are based on the ARM architecture. Big names in the smartphone and tablet processor market include Qualcomm, Samsung, NVIDIA and Apple.

Although the end of the year is just a few weeks away, the data is still only a best estimate as Q3’s numbers have yet to be finalised and Q4 has yet to finish. However, overall processor shipments grew by 27 percent in Q1 and 24 percent in Q2, compared to their respective quarters in 2012. Q3 is expected to see a growth of around 19 percent and Q4 is forecast to boost the total numbers for the year with a 24 percent growth.

The PC market that traditionally drove the growth of the microprocessor segment has slowed. The new mobile platforms have more than picked up the slack, delivering both large volumes and fast growth for processor shipments.

While traditional desktop PC shipments are dropping, sales of smartphones and tablets are increasing. According to the report by IHS, a global information company, processor shipments for PCs are declining. During the second quarter of 2013, processor shipments for PCs dropped  to 84.3 million units, down from 89.9 million in Q2 2012.

The opposite trend is found in the smartphone and tablet market. Based on the shipments for Q2 2012 and 2013, smartphone processor shipments grew by 38 percent from 147.9 million to 204.2 million units. While tablet processor shipments rose from 38.3 million units to 53.5 million, which is a growth of some 40 percent!

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‚ÄúThe overall processor market would not be so healthy if it weren’t for smartphones and tablets,‚ÄĚ said Gerry Xu, senior analyst, processor research for IHS. ‚ÄúThe PC market that traditionally drove the growth of the microprocessor segment has slowed. The new mobile platforms have more than picked up the slack, delivering both large volumes and fast growth for processor shipments.‚ÄĚ

The report also mentioned the impact of low-cost devices from China. These smartphones and tablets have boosted the shipments by companies like MediaTek, Allwinner and Rockchip, who are not only seeing success in the white-label market but are also breaking into the mainstream with supply contracts for companies like Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo.

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