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8 September 2016

Consumer electronics chargers to comprise 30% of GaN market in 2022

The launch in late August by Dialog Semiconductor plc - a fabless provider of highly integrated power management, AC/DC power conversion, solid-state lighting (SSL) and Bluetooth low-energy technology - of a gallium nitride (GaN) power IC targeting consumer charger applications adds to the list of recently released GaN devices, which are all power ICs targeting that consumer market segment, forming a trend noted in the report 'Applications & Markets for GaN in Power Electronics' by Point The Power. The first market for GaN in power electronics is consumer power supplies, led by laptop and electronic device chargers, it adds. Consumer electronics chargers could comprise 30% of the GaN market in 2022, it forecasts.

"Consumer systems do not require the same lifetime and warranty as industrial systems," comments Alex Avron, principal market analyst at Point The Power. "Industry or energy segments like PV [photovoltaic] inverters need a minimum expected lifetime of 10 sometimes 15 years, while the lifetime of a laptop charger is 5 years at most," he adds. "It's a perfect playground for innovation and new product releases. Many start-ups have taken advantage of this, such as California-based companies FinSix and Avogy or Canada-based Appulse Power."

Point The Power notes that the laptop and smartphone charger markets are perfect for testing and trialing wide-bandgap devices and new topologies, due specifically to the comparatively short lifetime required; the fact that size reduction is a main driver; and lower price sensitivity.

According to Point The Power, GaN will remain in direct competition with super-junction MOSFETs, which are already the most used devices for consumer power supplies of all kinds – with a total market of more than $800m this year.

The market research firm reckons that GaN will enable new applications to emerge for power converters, just as IGBTs and MOSFETs have done in the past; i.e. not replacing bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) but, in fact, facilitating new applications. "Each time a new device has arrived on the market, it did not eat its competing devices' market share, but rather enlarged the overall market size through new applications," says Avron.

According to the report, GaN for consumer power supplies is just the beginning of a bigger trend to offering new, smaller and more efficient charging and powering systems.

Tags: GaN power devices

Visit: www.pointthepower.com

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