GSA Silicon Series Seminar: New Markets, New Economics, Feb 10, 2010 Santa Clara, CA

This very informative, analyst – only panel discussion assessed the outlook for new and growing markets throughout the semiconductor industry. While several markets were covered, this summary will focus exclusively on the hot communications related markets and products. During the meeting, analysts from FBR Capital Markets, iSuppli, Databeans and Gartner shared their perspectives and predictions on what’s hot and why in several markets of interest to communications and network practitioners.

Craig Berger of FBR Capital Markets singled out smart phones and Set Top Boxes (STBs) as key semiconductor industry drivers. He said that China’s 3G infrastructure build-outs would have ripple effects across the industry and accelerate in late 2010. China is expected to spend over $60B in 3G related telecom equipment over the next two years. That’s certainly impressive! Craig opined that he expected India to "ramp up" 3G network production, but didn’t say when (India’s 3G licensed spectrum auctions have been postponed for well over one year now). In addition to 3G, Mr. Berger commented that wireless interfaces, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS, were propogating much more broadly into hand held devices that didn’t have much or any IC content previously.

FBR see a continued proliferation of smartphones, with +15% growth in 2009 and +25% expected in 2010. Handset chip content is actually increasing versus recent years. Other gadgets are expected to do well – Tablets, eBook readers, and MIDs. Chip makers that will benefit from this advanced wireless handheld trend are Qualcomm, Infineon, Broadcom, Marvell, Nvidia, Intel, and STMicro, according to Craig.

Distributed computing is another trend to watch. As broadband becomes faster and increasingly available, PCs do not need to have large amounts of on board storage, expensive operating systems and processors. Instead, they can be ‘dumb terminals‘ that just interface to Internet or cloud computing based servers.

Success is created when products are specifically designed to address a particular market niche. For example, Bluetooth is really 20 different sub-markets, depending on application and usage models. Broadcom has done paricularly well in these sub markets by offering a wide variety of components and combo chips that address the different requirements of the sub markets.

To read the rest of this article go to: