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NF: The antenna market for mobile devices continues to grow as well. Is that growth due to replacement devices (or upgrades, rather, as people move to smartphones) or more regions adopting cellular devices?

BG: There are multiple growth factors. As you mentioned, there’s the continual turnover cycle of existing smartphone customers buying new models, as well as feature-phone users upgrading to smartphones. There also is geographic expansion. And we’re seeing growth due to new devices including LTE tablets, notebook PCs, netbooks, and more.

NF: Can you explain where mobile-device antenna growth is centered geographically?

BG: We continue to see growth in existing mobile markets. We’re also seeing notable growth in developing countries, such as those in Africa and Latin America.

NF: Which areas do you think will be the “next frontier” for the mobile-device antenna market in terms of growth?

BG: Historically, smartphones have been a high-end offering. There is a tremendous growth opportunity for manufacturing and producing mid-range and low-end phones—smartphones below the $200 range. Evolution toward lower-price-point smartphones will stimulate the demand for WiFi—another major growth area.

NF: Talk to me about the mobile-device antenna of the near future—say, five to 10 years from now.

BG: Well, five to 10 years is a very long time in the world of technology, so it’s virtually impossible to predict to any degree of accuracy. Over the next few years, we can expect the trend of fully integrated antennas within the handset’s enclosure or the PCB to continue, but with much greater capabilities. In one device, we might have more than 10 antennas supporting cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, etc., with more on the way. They also will be able to ‘monitor’ environment factors with feedback control to optimize performance by dynamic tuning.

NF: Do you see opportunities for antennas for millimeter-wave devices?

BG: There are opportunities for millimeter-wave-based devices based on the next WiFi standard,  IEEE 802.11 ad, which provides for very-high-speed in-room communication.  We’ve also seen early success for millimeter-wave applications in some consumer-electronics standards. There are opportunities in wireless backhaul infrastructure as well.

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