Sales of chipsets that enable connectivity for mobile devices are expected to surge in the months ahead, and this is seen as an area of opportunity for smaller players. The biggest part of the mobile semiconductor space is the market for platforms that process applications and connect devices to cellular networks, but ABI Research says this market has already consolidated around top suppliers like Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson and Broadcom, with the top 10 companies controlling 75% of the market. The research firm projects that for other companies, the biggest opportunities going forward will be in wireless connectivity ICs such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and near field communication chipsets.
ABI says sales of chipsets for mobile devices surged 20% to $35 billion last year, while the overall semiconductor market grew just 2%. Of that $35 billion, an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion can be attributed to applications processors for smartphones, based on a recent report from Strategy Analytics that measured sales of these processors at $2.2 billion in the third quarter of 2011.