Analysts herald wireless social networking revolution

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Wireless social networking will revolutionise the global technology business and reshape the global display and semiconductor industries, experts predict..

Analyst firm iSuppli said that the wireless social networking value chain (including products, services, applications, components and advertising) will generate more than US$2.5 trillion in revenue by 2020.

"Over the next 10 years, mobile devices like smartphones will become the primary channel for viewing content or accessing the internet," said Derek Lidow, president and chief executive at iSuppli.

"Social networking will then move largely into the wireless realm, providing the type of ubiquitous connection that consumers are demanding.

"This event will accompany the creation of a new generation of applications that will greatly expand the appeal and utility of social networking, and will finally generate profits for the social networking industry."

Lidow predicts that, within 10 years, the social networking business, driven primarily by wireless devices, will transform into "must have" applications and products for consumers and businesses.

"New intuitive applications enabled by innovative technologies introduced from 2009 to 2015 will spur the adoption of social networking and lead to major revenue growth in this area," he said.

According to iSuppli, the proliferation of wireless social networking applications into these diverse areas will accompany the development of a new generation of mobile devices.

This is expected to have a "profound impact" on key enabling technologies for such devices, including displays, semiconductors, storage and memory.

The variety of different applications for social networking, from collaborative games to work groups, will place increasing emphasis on display technologies for mobile platforms.

New and emerging technologies, including touch screens, flexible displays and integrated motion sensors, will be employed to serve the input/output needs of these varying platforms and applications, the analyst firm predicts.

"This increased emphasis and surge in technological advancement means that displays will emerge as the most valuable portion of the mobile device value chain," said Lidow.

"Makers of portable wireless devices will stress differentiation via superior display technology."

The semiconductor industry also will face "fundamental changes" as it strives to deliver the chips that will enable wireless social networking.

Such chips will require a level of complexity that scales beyond the limitations of Moore's Law, according to iSuppli.

Semiconductor companies will be forced to deliver highly integrated processors that combine numerous high-performance, multi-threaded special purpose cores.
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