Popularity of tablet computers to boost semiconductor market by 2015: Gartner


TAIPEI–Tablet computers will contribute enormously to the worldwide semiconductor market by 2015 as different platforms compete to interest consumers, according to market intelligence firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner forecasted that tablet semiconductor revenue will amount to US$20 billion (NT$604.5 billion) in 2015, compared with US$6 billion in 2011, ranking fourth behind semiconductor revenue in laptops, smartphones and desktop computers.

NAND flash memory, wireless connectivity and sensor devices will benefit from the emergence of tablet PCs, while processors with mixed impact and dynamic random access memory (DRAM) will suffer, the research firm said.

“Software compatibility, design flexibility and cost of development will determine the winner,” Taiwan-based Gartner analyst Ben Lee said at a recent press conference.

“Chip vendors should focus on evolving usage patterns while choosing processor architecture,” he added.

Lee said major processor architectures for tablets, including ARM Holdings PLC, Intel Corp. and MIPS Technologies Inc., will level out on power efficiency and performance by 2015.

He believed that ARM will still dominate the market by that time due to the almost 100 percent share in smartphones and tablets it currently owns.

Speaking on the overall tablet market, Lee expected total tablet shipments to increase to 316 million units in 2015 from 63.6 million last year with a compound annual growth rate of 77 percent, much higher than the 14 percent forecast for laptops.

Lee added that shipments of Apple Inc.’s iPad reached 49 million units in 2011, taking 73 percent of the overall market, while shipments of tablets running on Google Inc.’s Android open platform totaled 11 million units last year with only a 17 percent share.

However, the market share of Android tablets will gear up to 35 percent by 2015 with a compound annual growth rate of 114 percent, while the share of Apple’s iPad will drop to 45 percent with a lower growth rate of 58 percent, he said.