According to market research firm iSuppli, broadband subscriber growth around the world dipped 6.6 percent in the second quarter of 2010, but all is well again with third quarter numbers up 5.8 percent.
"Broadband subscriber additions declined in the second quarter because of normal seasonality as well as a poor performance in the North American market," said Lee Ratliff, senior analyst for broadband and digital home at iSuppli. "However, Chinese consumers’ insatiable demand for high-speed Internet is so high that it will cause subscriber numbers to rise again in the second half of the year."
In terms of broadband subscriber growth, China is coming off of its best-ever first quarter with the addition of around 6 million subscribers.
Here in the states, telcos and cable companies continue to jockey for position, with telcos extending their lead with successful fiber deployments, such as AT&T's U-verse and Verizon's FiOS, iSuppli notes.
According to iSuppli's itemized breakdown of parts, Samsung's new Galaxy Tab carries a Bill of Materials (BOM) totaling $205.22. That's a good chunk less than Apple's iPad, which breaks down to a little over $264 for the 16GB 3G version.
"Instead of matching up with the iPad on a feature-by-feature basis, the Galaxy Tab really is a larger version of Samsung's Galaxy smartphone," said Andrew Rassweiler, director, principal analyst and tear down services manager for iSuppli. "While the design approach makes the Galaxy less expensive to produce than the iPad 3G, it also makes for a product that lacks the same usability. The Galaxy Tab's screen resolution, size, and technology are not at the same level as the iPad. This is a critical difference, given the fact that the display is a key differentiating factor for the iPad."
As is typically the case, the most expensive part of Samsung's tablet is the display, which iSuppli pegs at $57. The Flash memory costs $51, and after that there's a steep dropoff in component prices, starting with the mechanical parts (PCBs, metals, plastics, connectors, etc.) that add up to $15.22.
Market research firm iSuppli noted that "expansion is unstoppable in the sizzling tablet market, led by Apple Inc.'s bestselling iPad," and that Intel's Oak Trail platform has what it takes to go the distance.
"Oak Trail will work on three operating system platforms -- Android from Google, Windows 7 from Microsoft, and MeeGo from Nokia -- potentially expanding the universe of tablet devices in which the Intel processor might be used," iSuppli said.
Intel's Oak Trail platform is a System-On-a-Chip (SOC) design being built specifically for tablets. Early reports suggest Oak Trail will consume perhaps as much as 50 percent less power than previous processors from the company, while still being able to muscle its way through Full HD video.
"Intel is smart," said Matt Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli. "The company knows perfectly well that the media tablet market is being defined right now."
Say what you want about how Nokia's N8 smartphone stacks up to Apple's iPhone 4, but at a minimum, the two devices share one trait in common: Bill of Materials (BOM).
According to iSuppli, the N8's BOM comes out to $187.47. If you want to split hairs over four cents, then technically Apple's iPhone 4 costs more to produce. Otherwise, the two are identical in terms of component parts.
"The N8's BOM shows Nokia is targeting the product squarely at the touchscreen smartphone segment now dominated by the iPhone," said Andrew Rassweiler, director, principal analyst and teardown services manager, iSuppli. "Although the two phones differ markedly in key areas, including th camera and core silicon, both are designated to hit similar production cost budgets."
While the costs are nearly identical, the parts in each device are not. The N8, for example, makes use of a CMOS sensor with a 12-megapixel resolution, whereas the iPhone 4 goes up to 5 megapixels. At $31.08, the camera subsystem is the third most costly part of the N8.
The N8's display ranks as the most expensive piece of hardware. It uses an AMOLED screen, while the iPhone 4 comes with an 3.5-inch LCD screen using In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology.
Market research firm iSuppli took a chisel and a calculator to Apple's second-generation Apple TV and what they found was a fair bit of iPad and iPod touch DNA inside.
"The first Apple TV was built like a nettop computer. The architecture was basically a stripped down, small form-factor desktop PC," said Andrew Rassweiler, director, principal analyst, and teardown services manager for iSuppli. "The second generation Apple TV is more like an iPad or iPod touch with no display. The Apple TV's A4 processor core, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip, and power management chip are the same building blocks used in the iPad, iPhone 4, and iPod touch."
According to iSuppli's teardown analysis, the Bill of Materials (BOM) of the second-gen Apple TV comes out to two pennies shy of $62. After factoring in the cost of manufacturing, iSuppli reckons Apple spends a nickel short of $64 on each new Apple TV box it grows.
The most expensive part inside is the Samsung A4 processor, which iSuppli pegs at $16.55. Memory adds another $14, while all the other parts cost less than eight bucks a pop.
By the time this month comes to a close, the number of subscriptions for wireless services around the globe will reach 5 billion, or almost three-fourths of the Earth's population, according to market research firm iSuppli.
"If the importance of an event can be measured by the number of people it affects, then the proliferation of wireless communications stands out as one of the most significant phenomena in the history of technology," said Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for wireless research at iSuppli. "Wireless communication now has spread to every nation, every age, and every income level, becoming a basic staple like food, clothing, and shelter. Wireless now represents the biggest stage that any technology market has ever played on, offering unlimited opportunities for members of the mobile communications supply chain."
iSuppli reckons that by the end of of 2010, wireless subscriptions will have increased by another 100 million for a total of 5.1 billion, or 74.5 percent of the world's population. In case you're wondering, iSuppli is counting recurring payments for wireless services delivered to a device, whether it's an Ultra Low-cost Handset (ULCH) or a high-end smartphone.
You already know there's a trillion or so tablets on the horizon -- even your technology hating neighbor is planning to launch a slate -- but none of them will threaten the iPad's dominance in the market, at least not through 2012, market research firm iSuppli boldly predicts.
"Although the iPad has been on the market for only a few months, powerful interests throughout the technology business are devoting enormous resources to challenge and topple Apple's domination in this fast-growing marketplace," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at iSuppli. "However, if recent history is any lesson, it will take some time for these companies to get their products to market, longer for them to offer necessary software support and infrastructure, and an even lengthier period to begin to rival the overall user experience Apple is able to deliver."
According to iSuppli, Apple's magical slate won't be performing a disappearing trick anytime soon, and instead will account for nearly three-fourths of the global tablet market by the time 2010 comes to a close. That number will only drop to 70.4 percent in 2011, and through 2012, iSuppli predicts whatever version of the iPad exists by then will claim 61.7 percent of the tablet space.
Hi the jump to see what else iSuppli had to say on the topic.
Market research firm iSuppli expects declining NAND flash memory prices to fall to $1 per gigabyte at the end of 2010. This is significant as the $1 per gigabyte level is deemed critical to the success of SSDs. Interestingly, the last time the price was below the $1 threshold the year on the Gregorian calendar was 2008; MLC pricing averaged 90 cents per gigabyte in the fourth quarter of 2008.
iSuppli anticipates 3-bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash memory to average $1.20 per gigabyte during the fourth quarter of 2010 before ending the year at around $1.00. The research firm feels this would be a “precipitous drop from the first quarter of 2010, when pricing for TLC averaged $1.80 per gigabyte and 2-bit per cell (MLC) flash was at $2.05.”
Even though plummeting prices are expected to breathe new life into the SSD market, NAND flash memory prices will have to decline even further for SSD adoption to reach critical mass. According to Michael Yang, senior analyst for memory and storage at iSuppli, NAND flash memory prices will have to plummet to 40 cents by 2012 to pose a threat to HDDs.
“With NAND pricing having returned to per-gigabyte pricing levels not seen in two years, there’s likely to be a lot of new buzz created for the solid state storage market at the end of 2010,” Yang said. “However, traditional HDDs gained a lot of additional ground during the past few years in terms of rising capacity and falling prices. In fact, HDDs have gained so much ground that SSDs now are in danger of never regaining their competitive footing.”
"The semiconductor market already was in for beefy growth in 2010 because of strong consumer demand for electronic products," observed Dale Ford, senior VP for iSuppli. "However, it's now apparent that semiconductor sales are getting an infusion of growth hormone in 2010 because of a number of factors, including rising prices, inventory buildups and richer chip content in key electronic products like smartphones and advanced LCD TVs. All this is causing chip revenues to bulge to awesome dimensions this year."
If iSuppli's crystal ball is to be believed, worldwide semiconductor revenues in 2010 will climb to $310.3 billion, up 35.1 percent from $229.6 billion in 2009. That's a fair amount more than the 30.9 percent growth rate iSuppli predicted earlier this year.
iSuppli's confidence in the semiconductor industry doesn't stop there. While some have compared the recent upswing to that of the year 2000 and warns that the bubble could again pop, iSuppli says these are two very different scenarios.
"The most common word that is heard in the last month regarding the economy and the semiconductor industry is 'double-dip,'" Ford observed. "Fears abound that the market's recent success is too good to be true and that an imminent correction is due. However, iSuppli does not agree with a double-dip outlook. Rather, iSuppli projects a return to more standard growth patterns in the second half of 2010 and into 2011 that will result in semiconductor revenue growth of 7% next year."
All the talk in TV land in recent months has centered around the 3D movement, but according to market research firm iSuppli, 3D TVs are playing second fiddle to Internet-enabled TVs (IETVs).
"Despite aggressive promotions from the industry and intense consumer interest generated by the blockbuster Avatar and other titles, the 3D TV market in 2010 will be limited to a small pool of enthusiastic early adopters," said Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for TV systems at iSuppli. "In contrast, IETV is entering the mainstream in 2010. This is because 3D is still dealing with a number of barriers, including cost, content availability, and interoperability, while IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to access a range of content readily available on the Internet."
By the end of the year, iSuppli reckons IETV shipments will reach 27.7 million units. That's a rise of 124.9 percent compared to 2009. By contrast, 3D TVs will see only 4.2 million shipments by the time 2010 comes to a close, iSuppli says.
Over the next few years, IETVs will continue to do well. iSuppli predicts IETV shipments will expand at rates of 50 percent for the next two years, while maintaining double-digit growth rates until the end of 2014.