Tablet processor chip market to surge
IHS predicts strong growth in the processor market for tablet devices
Global shipments in 2014 of tablet processors will reach an estimated 299.7m units, up 23% from 243.1m last year, analyst firm IHS has said.
According to the research company that tracks the processor market, another robust increase is expected in 2015 when volumes are expected to spike 18%, with tablet processors then exceeding 400m units by 2016.
"With the iPad from Apple, Samsung's Galaxy and other offerings from various tablet makers still selling well among consumers, a number of vendors are starting to join the race to supply tablet processors for the market," said Gerry Xu, senior analyst for processor research at IHS. The players range from kingpin Intel, to a smattering of Chinese suppliers involved in the so-called white-box market for lower-end tablets, Xu noted.
However, IHS said new entrants will face a small, entrenched group of tablet processor makers with very deep pockets, which could make gaining headway difficult for upstarts.
Among this powerful group is Samsung Electronics, the maker of tablet chips for the iPad, still the industry's best-selling tablet, noted HIS. Another formidable actor is Qualcomm, the chief supplier of baseband chips for smartphones, which is also placing a huge bet on the tablet space with semiconductors that provide cellular functionality to complement the built-in Wi-Fi feature of tablets, said the company
For Intel, the highest-profile new competitor, its tablet chips will find their way into a broad array of Android-based tablets, added HIS.
The company said Intel processors has already made entry in 7- and 8-inch Android tablets, while later generations of chips-such as Cherry Trail and Willow Trail-are planned for future implementation down the road.
According to HIS, the main challenge facing Intel will be how to compete in the entry-level segment as the category, which claims one-third of the tablet processor market, is crowded with Chinese vendors known for producing lower-end but more affordably priced chips.