Mobility

Unbound Spiral: Everything Cell Phones

August 1, 2004 08:26 AM

To me via Smart Mobs.

The handset is rapidly consuming every other aspect of mobile consumer electronics: PDAs, cameras, GPS receivers, MP3 players, DVD players and game consoles. In the process, the SoC companies and intellectual-property (IP) providers that had planned to make a living in each of those areas will be drawn in — for the most part, to their doom.

Convergence is being driven by a simple consumer want: "Don't make me carry a bagful of toys when one will do." Two electronic gizmos in a package are better than one, as long as the form factor doesn't get out of control or the user interface become inscrutable. This is what's happening with second- or third-generation PDA/cell phone combinations, which are rapidly spreading through the ranks of professional users.

At the same time, the very cellular handsets that are bringing them nothing are destroying the SoC vendors' original markets. Free handsets with 2- to 3-megapixel cameras, good MP3 players, decent organizers and good videogames will decimate each of those standalone markets. The only survivors among mobile consumer devices will be high-end niches temporarily beyond the reach of the handset's electronics professional digital cameras, for example.
EE Timesl



Comments (2)

The unheralded monopoly
July 9, 2004, 4:00 AM PT
By Michael Kanellos

http://tinyurl.com/2khvp

Imagine a company that controls more than 80 percent of its segment of the cell phone market and has 40 percent of the digital camera market. Now it wants to expand its reach in consumer electronics. Many would consider it predatory--even a monopolist. Somehow, though, Cambridge, England-based ARM just doesn't give people the willies the same way behemoths like Microsoft or Intel do. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone spouting "ARM is evil! EVIL!!!"

Posted by: standa at August 2, 2004 2:52 PM

Thanks for the link! Useful perspective on ARM chips.

"Seven hundred-and-eighty million ARM processors were shipped on the planet last year," Inglis said. In Japan, someone came up with a toilet with an integrated ARM-powered MP3 player, while someone else has designed a fireman's glove with a built-in ARM-based walkie-talkie.

A new ARM processor design, code-named Tiger, is expected to come out in silicon in 2006. It should raise handset speeds to 1GHz--well past the speeds available today.

ARM doesn't make the chips--it licenses the designs to Texas Instruments, Intel and other companies, which pay ARM licensing fees and royalties. Despite getting whacked by the chip industry downturn, ARM's revenue and profits are climbing again. The unheralded monopoly | Perspectives | CNET News.com
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Posted by: Stuart at August 2, 2004 5:05 PM