Qualcomm continues it seemingly relentless charge to the top of the semiconductor vendor charts with another high profile acquisition. It aims to acquire UK based CSR for $2.5 billion, the deal still needs to go through the usual regulatory hurdles and be accepted by CSR but it certainly seems quite generous.
CSR has had its own fair share of acquisitions and sell offs in recent years, it bought Zoran in 2011 and sold its mobile division to Samsung in 2012.
Qualcomm has made some significant purchases to bolster its wireless connectivity prowess over recent years including its recent purchase of Wilocity, but CSR will be the most significant one since Qualcomm acquired Atheros in 2011 ($3.1 billion).
A successful purchase of CSR will put Qualcomm in an enviable position in the connectivity market and certainly see it become a force to reckon with in IoT.
The market for mHealth Wellness/Sports & Fitness Devices will be worth $2.4 billion in 2014 and grow at a CAGR of 8% to reach $3.8 billion in 2020. It represents a total opportunity of >$22.5 billion in the seven years from 2014 to 2020. This market includes many end device types, including Heart Rate Monitors, Connected Weighing Scales and Smart Sports Clothing, but the major growth markets will be Activity Trackers and High End Sports Watches.
“Heart Rate Monitors and Sports Watches have been around for many years. However, more recently the range of devices that are emerging and the increasing amount of technology being used is drastically changing the market dynamics.”, commented Peter Cooney, Principal Analyst & Director of SensiAn Research. “Activity Monitors, Smart Sports Watches, Heart Rate Monitors and Smart Sports Clothing are all becoming significant markets for device and technology vendors and the list of device types continues to grow.”
SensiAn Research expects that the total market for mHealth Wellness/Sports & Fitness Devices will grow to almost 25 million units shipped per annum in 2014. Much of this growth has been driven by the emergence of Activity Tracker devices and consumer demand for these connected devices. Other devices (such as high end Sports and Fitness Smart Watches and Heart Rate Monitors) are also seeing growth but not in the same volumes as Activity Trackers. Smart Clothing is a category of devices that has long term potential, but it is not expected to reach annual shipments >1 million before 2017. It is expected that simple pedometers will continue to have a place in the market but shipments of these have been severely negatively affected as consumers increasingly choose Activity Trackers and Smart Watches with added functionality.
The mHealth Wellness/Sports & Fitness Device market is served by a wide range of suppliers, from well-established health and wellness/sports and fitness device vendors such as Polar, Garmin, Suunto, Omron and Beurer, to newer more focused vendors such as Fitbit and Jawbone, large multinational sports clothing suppliers such as Nike, and many smaller niche suppliers.
These are findings from SensiAn Research’s recently published study on “mHealth Wellness Wearable Devices: Activity Trackers, Sports Watches, Heart Rate Monitors, Smart Sports Clothing, Connected Weighing Scales and Other Consumer Wellness Devices”.
The eagerly anticipated Moto 360 smartwatch goes on sale today (9/5) and it its specs are very impressive, some that stand out include:
- Wireless Charging
- Optical HRM
- Bluetooth Smart
- Stereo Mics
- TI OMAP AP
This device really looks like a good all rounder, providing much of the functionality that consumers are looking for in a companion smart watch. The smartwatch/band market is still developing and very fragmented but this could be a good solution for many. This has come a long way since the Moto ACTV (although we still believe this was well ahead of its time).
Motorola has a good chance of getting ahead of its competitors (again) as long as it puts lots of support behind it (users will remember how the Moto ACTV was discarded and will be wary it may happen again).
No doubt many will point to the possibly imminent arrival of an iWatch as the killer of any other smartwatch but I don’t agree. Yes, an iWatch will be successful, if not purely due to the Apple ecosystem but the Android ecosystem has grown significantly over the last few years and we believe there is a place for 3-4 main brands, with a few specialist suppliers on the fringes.
For the last few years start-ups have been the major innovators, now is the time for the incumbents to start to flex their muscles and take over the market as it starts to reach significant volumes. Watch (no pun intended) out for an uptick in mergers and acquisitions in this space as major consumer device manufactures start to gobble up smaller specialist suppliers in order to purchase interesting technology.
This market is just starting to heat up …….
The latest press release from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) predicts good news for semiconductor suppliers in the short term.
WSTS expects the overall market to grow 6.5% in 2014 (from 2013) to reach total annual revenues of US$325 billion. It stated “All major product categories will show a high single digit growth rate, except microprocessors which will show a soft decline. The growth will be largely driven by smartphones, tablets and automotive. The highest growth rates are shown for the Analog (9.1%) and Sensor (9.1%) category. ”
SensiAn Research’s assumption is that while overall microprocessor revenue may be falling the market for microcontrollers is growing as many low power devices associated with IoT (wearable devices, beacons, etc.) are growing rapidly.
WSTS predict that overall market growth will continue into 2015 and 2016 reaching US$350 billion in 2016.
Interesting statistics relevant to IoT:
ARM signed 20 new licenses for its Cortex-M microcontroller-class designs and reported its customers shipped 900 million Cortex-M units http://ow.ly/zuUet
Shows that low power microcontrollers are increasingly important as they enable many IoT type devices.
Wearables and Beacons come together in a system to track the elderly and vulnerable in the home. CarePredict is soon to start shipping an activity monitor and beacon system that can continuously track a persons movements and vital signs and then transmit them via beacons/hubs situated around the home to a loved one or care professional.
Uses Bluetooth for communication between the 2 devices, Wi-Fi to send data to the cloud and then alerts, when needed, can be sent over a cellular network.
Atmel is to acquire Newport Media strengthening its Wi-Fi portfolio (building on Osmo purchase in 2013) as well as adding Bluetooth capability, making Atmel a stronger competitor in IoT.
Its wireless connectivity portfolio is looking very strong and builds on its work on low power micros for IoT applications.
The total number of audio signal chain ICs shipped for use in mobile devices reached almost 4 billion units in 2013. Strong growth is predicted as improvements in audio quality and volume are required by mobile device vendors whilst “always on” functionality is desired for voice control applications, particularly in smartphones. This gives opportunities for growth of various audio signal chain components including audio speaker amplifiers and MEMS microphones, at the same time integration of audio functionality into audio hubs continues to drive innovation and change the market place.
Continue reading A Big Deal in Audio Signal Chain ICs – Cirrus Logic + Wolfson