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Wireless Social Networking To Generate $2.5 Trillion By 2020

The semiconductor and display industries will see significant changes as more people rely on wireless devices to connect with friends, according to iSuppli.

Wireless social networking products, services, applications, components, and advertising will generate more than $2.5 trillion in revenue by 2020, according to iSuppli. Companies that can't keep up could become irrelevant, it added.

"Over the next 10 years, as mobile devices like smartphones become the primary channel for viewing content or accessing the Internet, social networking will move largely into the wireless realm, providing the type of ubiquitous connection that consumers are demanding," Derek Lidow, president and CEO at iSuppli, said in an announcement Wednesday. "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."

Wireless social-networking applications and products will become must-haves for consumers and businesses, Lidow said.

"New intuitive applications enabled by innovative technologies introduced in the timeframe from 2009 to 2015 will spur the adoption of social networking and lead to major revenue growth in this area," he said. iSuppli analyzed social networking and found three levels of interaction for users: immediate family and close friends, extended friends, and shared interest groups. Users interact sporadically -- but intensely -- with extended friends through games, avatars, and general updates and information. Users with common interests communicate in ways that extend into business. The popularity of social networking in business -- for trading, online collaboration, and virtual meetings -- is likely to spur advancement of mobile devices equipped for content viewing and sharing, iSuppli said.

Wireless devices are likely to become the primary means of communicating, accessing content, and using applications by 2018, and that will change the semiconductor and display industries globally, iSuppli predicted.

"Because of this increased emphasis and surge in technological advancement, displays will emerge as the most valuable portion of the mobile-device value chain, with makers of portable wireless devices stressing differentiation via superior display technology," Lidow said.

Display technologies, like touch screens, flexible displays, and motion sensors, will become increasingly important, while demand rises for highly integrated processors that combine numerous high-performance, multi-threaded special purpose cores, iSuppli said. Companies that supply core silicon for wireless social networking devices will need more software engineers than hardware engineers in order to succeed -- but they will need plenty of both, according to iSuppli.

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