Spending on microchips for wireless devices soared to $58.6 billion in 2011, according to a study released today. That’s an increase of 14.5% over 2010, when original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) spent $51.2 billion. What’s more, spending on chips for wireless devices beat spending on chips for computers by a significant margin.OEMs spent $53.7 billion on chips for computers, an increase of only 4%.
While this is not the first time spending on chips for wireless has beaten spending on chips for computers, it is the first time the margin has been so big. In 2009 spending on wireless chips was also higher, though the two were considerably closer. In 2010 PC chips spending just barely edged out wireless chip spending.
This trend is only going to continue in the coming years, it seems. The study projects OEM spending on wireless chips to continue its surge in 2012 and 2013 – maybe as high as $72.9 billion – while computer spending remains basically the same.
The cause of this trend is easy to identify. The smartphone market has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, and the introduction of Apple’s iPad in 2010 created a tablet market that has also seen incredible growth. As smartphones and tablets continue to become even more ubiquitous, spending on the microchips necessary to build the devices will only increase. Computers, on the other hand, are already ubiquitous, and unlikely to see anything like the surge we are seeing in the mobile device market.