Embedded Wi-Fi Chipsets to Eliminate Separate Wi-Fi Combo ICs

The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 class processors will have integrated baseband processors for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G/4G cellular standards. According to NPD In-Stat, other processor manufacturers will soon follow suit. These companies have been acquiring both cellular and Wi-Fi intellectual property over the last two years. According to NPD In-Stat, new processors with embedded Wi-Fi baseband may eliminate the need for separate monolithic Wi-Fi combo chipsets. In-Stat expects the Wi-Fi combo chipset revenue loss could be as high as $590 million in 2015.

According to a NPD In-Stat, the impact on the bill-of-materials cost is one of the critical factors in determining the impact from integrated processors. These integrated chips eliminate the need for a Wi-Fi combo chip. They also simplify the PCB in smartphones, tablets, and other devices. In addition, the new embedded Wi-Fi chipsets can decrease the number of antennas and eliminate potential signal interference.

The initial markets for the integrated chipsets will be high-end and mid-tier smartphones along with Android tablets. Moving forward, the chips are expected to move down to low-end smartphones, low-end tablets, and even basic and feature phones.

Below are some other interesting research findings by NPD In-Stat:

  • The introduction of low-power Wi-Fi chipsets presents a challenge to Bluetooth in certain markets
  • Monolithic chipset revenues and shipments will decline slightly from 2010 to 2011 as more cellular phones switch to combo chipsets
  • Combo chip prices will see a steady decline, and by 2015 they will decrease by over one fourth of 2010 pricing levels
  • 802.11ac will grow rapidly with shipments to surpass 650 million chipsets by 2015

More info: NPD In-Stat