Smartphones Drive Component Sales

Entry of other companies into smartphone market boosts orders for electronics component makers.


The impact of smartphones on electronic components and semiconductors is growing. As reported by the Nihon Keizai Newspaper in October, the total value of orders received in Q3 for six major electronic components set a record. Also, in Taiwan, the overseas orders in September increased to 38.4 billion dollars, which is a 2% increase compared with the same month of the previous year, as reported by the same newspaper.

The value of orders received by Murata manufacturing for Q3 was 230 billion yen, a 29% increase compared with the same period in 2012 the last year. Nitto Denko recorded 6% increase of approximately 110 billion yen. TDK recorded 2% rise of 220 billion yen. And Kei Sera recorded a 6% increase of almost 210 billion yen, according to Nikkei. The reason for the increases? The market is expanding. It’s no longer just about Samsung and Apple. Customers now include Huawei Technology and ZTE in China, among others. (See related story.)

The current battle smartphone makers are waging involves battery life. There are solutions to make the battery last longer, such as carving out a larger space for the battery and reducing the power consumption for semiconductor products and displays. When Nikkei Electronics disassembled the iPhone 5s and 5c, it discovered the area of the main circuit board within the body has been reduced by 6% to 10%, while the battery capacity increased 8%, as reported by Nikkei Sangyo. In addition, there are many common components are used in iPhone 5s and 5c.

Murata and Taiyo Yuden introduced 0201 components at CEATEC—called 0201 because they measure about 0.2mm x 0.1mm—which are much smaller than the previous 0402 components. The smaller components, which include such items as capacitors and resistors, attracted a lot of attention at the show. Murata and Taiyo Yuden make capacitors, while TDK and Toko make coils. Murata designs and manufactures transceiver module, making the front-end module that uses SAW filter visible.

The value of orders received by Taiwan is the highest in three years, with the smartphone the big driving force. Total orders received for information and communication products, such as smartphones and tablets, reached 11.05 billion dollars, a 16.2% increase compared with the same month of the previous year. That also sets a record for any single month. The iPhone undertaken by Honhai precision machinery industry is now a recurring order, and orders for semiconductors also are increasing.

The downward market spiral of personal computers also has reflected on the performance of AMD and Intel. Nikkei Sangyo reported that for Q3 AMD posted a profit of $48 million, the culmination of a turnaround that began five quarters ago. Revenue in Q3 was $1.46 billion, up 15% compared to the previous year. AMD is moving its effort from CPUs for personal computers, embedded systems and graphics cores to integrated APUs (application processor units) and game console for Microsoft and Sony Computer. Intel, meanwhile, is shifting its focus to high-end servers, where sales are up 12%. The expansion of data centers for cloud computing is a huge market, growing 40% for data processing and 20% for storage.

AMD and Intel also use x86 architectures in embedded systems outside of personal computers. In addition, AMD is planning on a 64-bit embedded CPU based on ARM’s processor architecture.

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