Forward Concepts Unveil Report on Mobile Internet Device, Chip Market

Forward Concepts has announced the publication of a new study that covers the market prospects of the emerging Mobile Internet Device (MID) that serves a gap between high-end smartphones and ultra-portable PCs (UMPCs). In addition to MIDs, the report covers the chips that go in them, both high-end ARM-based application processors and Intel’s new competing Atom X86-heritage processor. Cellular-centric chips that enable mobility are also covered in detail. The 206-page study, “Mobile Internet Device (MID) & Chip Market Opportunities” lays out the prospects of this emerging market and forecasts both device and chips through 2012.

Some key findings in this report are:

  • Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) represent a new class of mobile communications and lifestyle devices. Its hardware, software and form factor will require design from the ground up in order to meet market requirements for features, price, performance, and power requirements.
  • The user interface will be key to success and will likely need to be capable of responding not only to touch-based inputs but also keep pace with other evolving input methods such as ones based on motion, gesture, placement, etc.
  • Although Apple’s 3G iPhone plows new ground in Internet access, user interaction and utility, we don’t consider it to be a MID, since we believe a true MID also requires a larger (4- to 6-inch) screen with higher resolution (VGA), TV out and optional Mobile TV capabilities.
  • We predict that global MID shipments will grow from 305,000 units shipped in 2008 to almost 40 million in 2012, reaching $12 billion in revenue.
    Integrated circuits for MIDs are forecast to grow from $29 million in 2008 to $2.6 billion in 2012.
  • Intel has a much better shot at UMPCs, being predominantly an enterprise play, where X86 compatibility is important, and with battery life expectations in line with notebooks.
  • Texas Instruments, with its mature and proven OMAP application processor family and the largest market share of the stand-alone Smartphone applications processor market, is one of the two best-positioned non-X86 semiconductor vendors for supplying stand-alone applications processors for all classes of MIDs.
  • Qualcomm is the other best-positioned non-X86 semiconductor vendor, with its powerful new SnapDragon application processor and the company’s market-leading 3G wireless solutions required for the MID market.
  • Other chip suppliers will have plays in the MID market, including Nvidia, with its strong graphics capability which will play well for gaming applications, and Samsung, with its applications processor experience and stacked memory capability.

According to Satish Menon, Senior Analyst for Forward Concepts and primary author of the report, “This study explores the market dynamics for MIDs and profiles early market examples. And the study forecasts low-end, mid-range and high-end MID markets and the integrated circuits, including the all-important application processors, digital basebands, RF transceivers and PAs, graphics and other coprocessors, imagers, touch-screen controllers, and peripheral chips like Wi-Fi, WiMAX, GPS, Bluetooth, Mobile TV, etc.”

Will Strauss, Forward Concepts’ president and editor of the report, said, “We don’t envision MIDs as ever employing Microsoft’s Vista operating system; however, we believe that Microsoft has a MID play with future versions of Windows Mobile. Of course, Linux will be popular in MIDs for its lower processing overhead and tighter OEM control.”

The 206-page study provides detailed forecasts of MIDs and the chips that enable them. It profiles key players and includes 46 figures and 23 tables plus appendix.

More info: Mobile Internet Device (MID) & Chip Market Opportunities