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Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Markets Are Evolving in Different Directions

  • Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Global markets for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi both continue to show strong growth and will remain the leading personal area networking technologies, but prices and market developments are pushing each of them in new directions, according to a new short-range wireless communications forecast from ABI Research.

Senior analyst Doug McEuen says, “Bluetooth and Wi-Fi equipment and chipset numbers continue to increase. But with IC prices continuing to fall due to technology evolution and greater IC production efficiency, revenues aren’t rising as dramatically. That’s especially the case for Wi-Fi, where the chipsets have been very expensive for a long time. As the attach rate, particularly in laptops, increases to 100%, production is growing rapidly and prices are falling. That’s a good thing, because as the laptop market reaches saturation, Wi-Fi will need to find new opportunities.”

So IC vendors are hoping that lower price points will make the ICs attractive to other market segments, especially the huge but very cost-sensitive wireless handset market. “If you’re a radio or IC manufacturer and your unit price is above $2.00, you’re going to have trouble getting your product into a cell phone,” notes McEuen. “That is definitely one of the reasons why Wi-Fi has seen slower adoption in that market.”

Another key trend noted by McEuen is that Bluetooth’s prevalence in wireless handset/headset combinations is being supplemented by greater penetration in MP3 players and other portable media devices. It is also making inroads in the automotive industry. Bluetooth already has great penetration in the handset world and its price point is very low. It is also evolving towards higher speeds and greater capabilities. [ABI Research]

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