According to VDC’s Embedded Systems Practice, embedded processor unit shipments in 2008 were over 10 billion in the year ended 2008. Embedded processor categories included embedded CPUs, DSPs, FPGAs, and MCUs. The vast majority of this embedded processor market are microcontrollers, which are low-cost autonomous embedded processing units used in embedded applications that have lower-end processing requirements. Embedded CPUs, DSPs, and FPGAs all typically provide higher levels of processing performance than MCUs and command much higher average selling prices (ASPs), but exist in far smaller unit quantities, making MCUs also the largest dollar volume segment of the four embedded processing technologies.
The embedded processors market has been one of very high growth in recent years. Embedded processing functionality has created intelligent and smart products and equipment throughout many industries, causing growth rates that have been well into the double digits as embedded computing has proliferated. However, the current global recession is creating an extremely challenging environment for the entire semiconductor industry and the embedded processor segment will not be immune to negative effects from the current downturn. As a result of the downturn, both dollar volume and unit volume growth rates will be impacted, however dollar volume growth will be more adversely affected than will unit volume growth as a result of falling ASPs due to pricing pressure from embedded OEMs competing in a challenging economic environment.
More information: VDC Research Group