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Mobile wins big in MPU ranking

22 May 2013

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The $56.5 billion microprocessor market continued to be the largest single semiconductor product category in 2012, accounting for 22 per cent of total IC sales. However, microprocessor sales growth slowed to 2 per cent in 2012 following a strong 19 per cent increase in 2011. IC Insights is forecasting a 10 per cent increase in total MPU sales in 2013 to $62.0 billion. During 2012, strong increases in mobile application processors used in cell phones and tablet PCs offset a 6 per cent decline in MPU sales for desktop and notebook PCs, servers, and embedded-processor applications. Between 2012 and 2017, total MPU sales are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent, reaching $97.7 billion in the final year of the forecast.

In the 2013 McClean Report, IC Insights expanded its coverage in the microprocessor market category to include SoC processors used in cellular-phone handsets and touch-screen tablet PCs. Previously, these SoC processors were counted in the special-purpose logic/MPR category of the IC market—with cell phone application processors being part of the wireless communications segment and tablet processors in the computer and peripherals product segment. Prior to being reclassified, cell phone application MPUs represented about 32 per cent of wireless communications special-purpose logic sales and 17 per cent of unit shipments in 2011, based on IC Insights' previous market data. Tablet MPUs accounted for about 7 per cent of computer/peripheral special-purpose logic sales and 2 per cent of units in 2011, when these mobile processors were part of this IC segment.

With smartphone and tablet PC system shipments increasing by strong annual rates, IC Insights believes the inclusion of mobile application processors into the MPU category has become necessary to fully comprehend market and technology trends impacting this important IC product segment. SoC application processors in cell phones accounted for 22 per cent of worldwide MPU sales in 2012 compared to 14 per cent in 2010, while tablet microprocessors represented 4 per cent of the total in 2012 versus a little under 1 per cent in 2010, which was the year Apple launched its first iPad products and dramatically changed portable computing in the consumer PC market.

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