According to iSuppli Corp., digital multimedia products have greatly boosted the sales of analog IC devices used for interface and power management. Two of the fastest-growing electronic products that contain analog ICs are mobile handsets with a 21 percent annual growth rate for analog ICs and digital TVs which are producing a 93 percent annual growth rate for analog ICs.
While the digital TV market shows a steeper growth rate, the handset market is more significant for analog ICs. The mobile handset market represented $9.9 billion in analog IC sales last year, while the digital TV market consumed $1.5 billion in analog ICs over the past year. iSuppli expects handsets will continue to constitute the largest market for analog ICs in the next five years.
Surprisingly, analog ICs represent the largest single revenue category in digital mobile handsets, partly because analog ICs take on a number of functions. They handle baseband and RF signals, as well as manage power.
Power management is key to the future of most electronic products. Analog IC manufacturers are competing to deliver highly precise devices that require less power and take up less space. “Customers are consistently demanding higher precision with lower power and lower operating voltages in order to increase the performance and value of their sensor signal acquisition systems,” says Art George, senior vice president of Texas Instruments Inc.'s High Performance Analog business unit.
Over the next three years, iSuppli expects analog IC revenues attributed to digital TVs will grow three times faster than those from the mobile handset market. Analog ICs for digital TVs will likely grow 21 percent per year through 2011, while devices used in mobile handsets will grow 7 percent per year.