The global 3G/4G mobile broadband device market, including smartphones, embedded devices and routers, totaled $93 billion in 1Q13, dropping off 6% from 4Q12, according to Infonetics Research.
Tablets comprised 89% of embedded device units in 1Q13. Tablets have also dealt a death blow to the netbook: leading netbook manufacturers Acer and Asus announced plans to cease production of netbooks.
“The growing popularity of low-cost, WiFi-only tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire is having a direct and negative impact on embedded mobile broadband cards, as the vast majority of embedded device units come from connected tablets,” notes Richard Webb, Infonetics Research’s directing analyst for microwave and carrier WiFi.
Webb adds: “Both unit shipments and revenue for the embedded card segment sank by double digits in 1Q13 from the previous quarter and the year-ago quarter.”
By 2017, Infonetics expects FDD-LTE mobile broadband tablets to edge out Wi-Fi only tablets in revenue share, with the higher selling price of connected tablets playing a key role.