MID shipments to increase nearly eightfold by 2012

MID shipments to increase nearly eightfold by 2012

iSuppli defines MIDs as devices that have integrated connectivity for Wireless Local Area Network (WLANs), Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (WMANs) or 3G-or-higher Worldwide Wide Area Networks (WWANs).

They must also have a maximum-sized display of eight inches (diagonal dimension), an instant-on function, an always-connectable capability and a full day's battery life under typical usage.

This wide-ranging definition accommodates many products, with many more set to join the fold during the coming years.

Among the MID devices included in the forecast period from 2008 to 2012, smartphones are projected to dominate the segment. iSuppli estimates that about 60% of all smartphones now are considered MID-class devices, but that figure will rise to 100% by 2012. A key gating factor is the inclusion of WLAN or 3G connectivity, and applications like video downloads, gaming and full Internet browsing will proliferate when smart phones attain 3G-speed downlink and uplink capabilities.

Despite their relatively recent arrival on the scene, e-book readers already achieved 35% MID penetration in 2008, which will rise to 76% by 2012. The high penetration is primarily driven by the success of Amazon's Kindle, with 100% WWAN penetration; and of Sony's counterpart, the Sony Reader, with 25% WLAN penetration.

A mere 2% of all UMPCs were considered to be MID-class in 2008, but the figure is expected to grow to 28% by 2012.

iSuppli considered netbooks in its research because they provide a low-cost alternative to UMPCs when netbooks are employed as portable devices. Key factors excluding most netbooks from being considered as MIDs include screen size, instant-on capabilities and battery life. However, battery-life in some netbooks will reach MID performance levels by 2012.

For gaming devices, only 2.8% can be considered MID-class by 2011 if the full set of criteria is brought to bear, with the rate increasing markedly to 15.1% the following year. However, if the requirement for ubiquitous coverage is relaxed to cover only WLAN, then the percentage of gaming devices that can be considered MID-class shoots up to 98.6% in 2008 and 100% by 2011.

In the case of portable media players (PMP)/MP3 players, no significant volume shipments occurred in 2008. Only 3% of the devices will be MID-class by 2012, but a potential upside to this market exists if manufacturers increase the amount of WWAN support for the players, which are capable of delivering rich multimedia content and experience.

Among PNDs, a mere 0.22% are currently MID-class-capable, with the number growing to 10% by 2012. The one criterion driving PNDs for MID functionality is the rate of wireless connectivity, primarily through WWAN. Once enabled, PNDs allow the implementation of solutions such as real-time traffic, re-routing, remote map and database updates, location-aware advertising and purchasing of services such as fast-food orders and fuel. PNDs are also unique among MID devices in that they use the vehicle as a power source, and are therefore not limited by battery-life constraints.

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