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Tablets are shaking up the chip industry, even more

Tablets like Apple’s iPad are on their way to becoming a great equalizer of the semiconductor industry.

Sales of semiconductors used in tablets are ballooning and are set to nearly double to $18.4 billion by 2014 , according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.  Although still smaller than the  chip market for mobile phones and personal computers, that’s a massive market — and one that has not been dominated by one or two behemoth players. Last year, tablets were only the No. 8 destination for microchips.

Intel has long ruled over the PC industry and Qualcomm has enjoyed a similar position in cellphones, but the fast-growing tablet market is almost completely up for grabs, and each device needs a broad range of chips. Application processors attract the lion’s share of attention form from Wall Street investors but the iPad and other tablets are also packed with radio frequency chips, DRAM memory, NAND storage, sensors and analog semiconductors made by everyone from Avago to Samsung.

“Media tablets and handsets are a key driving force in reducing some of the consolidation in the semiconductor industry that has developed in more mature markets like PCs,” Dale Ford, head of IHS’ electronics & chip research said in a report.

Diversity is one of the reasons tablet and smartphone manufacturers have been quick to embrace  the business model that has grown up around ARM Holdings, whose technology is licensed by a wide range of chipmakers, each adding their own distinct twist to individualize their offerings.

from Summit Notebook:

Dell’s enterprise chief pooh-poohs netbooks

Netbooks: flavor of the month? Not according to Dell's Steven Schuckenbrock.

The PC giant's head of enterprise sales was quick to point out flaws in the stripped-down, no-frills mini-computers that have garnered rave reiews for their ultra-portability and anywhere-connectivity.

"Netbooks are a secondary device. The user experience of a netbook is just not as good. It's slower than a conventional notebook computer," Schuckenbrock said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York.

Perhaps that's why Dell was slow to get into a space dominated early on by aggressive Taiwanese upstarts like Asustek. Dell, the once-preminent U.S. personal computer manufacturer, which has steadily given away market share to rivals from Hewlett Packard to Lenovo, unveiled its first netbook only in September.

from Summit Notebook:

AT&T: Netbooks key to expansion beyond cellphones?

AT&T says it sees a lot of promise for the netbook and the connection fees that come with the devices as a growing source of revenue as consumers look to take broadband connectivity on the road. But will consumers be as enthusiatic to sign another contract for the service? Click below to hear AT&T's President of Mobile & Consumer Markets talk about what he sees as the future of the netbook.

AT&T: Netbook popularity on the rise from Reuters TV on Vimeo.