Hybrid processors fuel $111 billion market

Hybrid processors have made up half of 2011’s $111 billion processor market, according to new research.

A report released by IMS Research, which has recently been acquired by IHS, said this included two or more different types of hybrid processor cores.

Most notable of these was the 2010 introduction of the combined central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) by both Intel and AMD.

IMS said this hybridisation had eliminated the market for the integrated graphics chipset, however it said this wouldn’t affect the GPU market, which was expected to continue to grow at an estimated 4.1 percent from 2011 through 2016.

Hybridisation seems to be what’s knitting the industry together, with IMS claiming that not only is it a critical step in upping the competitive edge in computers but is also a step for vendors into smartphones, tablets and other high performance embedded devices.

Hybrid applications processor growth in smartphones and tablets were predicted to rise between 10 percent and 14 percent  respectively from 2011 to 2016.

Tom Hackenberg, semiconductors research manager and author of the Comprehensive Processor Report, said that the last ten years had been key for hybridisation as a result of the mobile and media consumption device markets.  

Apple, Broadcom, Marvell, MediaTek, NVidia, Qualcomm, Samsung, St Ericsson, Texas Instruments and many other processor vendors have offered heterogeneous application-specific processors with a microprocessor core integrating a GPU to add value within extremely confined parameters of space, power and cost. 

Now that smartphone sales are exceeding computers, and as tablets make great headway onto the market, these hybridised application specific mobile processors represented the next largest class of processor by revenue.

And with this growth continuing to rise, other vendors such as AMD and Intel are adopting the strategy to compete for the computer market . They are also increasing research and development on embedded ideas.

No less than 20 processor vendors now provide dozens of heterogeneous processing products on a single chip.