SCOTTSDALE, USA: Crosscurrents, conflicting signals, and mixed-messages lead to high anxiety and uncertainty in the global IC industry, as per IC Insights.
* Worldwide GDP hit a "soft patch" in 2Q11, dropping to 3.1 percent growth from 4.6 percent growth in 2Q10. However, second half 2011 growth is poised to be much stronger. Which regions will lead the rebound? What role does the price of oil play?
* Apple registered stellar financial results in 2Q11 but guided its 3Q11 sales to be down by 12 percent sequentially. Why? What does this mean for the important holiday season for smartphone and tablet PC sales and the ICs that go inside them?
* The automotive analog IC market is currently very strong but automotive MCU sales are expected to be weak through 3Q11. Is the automotive IC market still being affected by the Great East Japan earthquake? What about automotive logic IC sales?
* IC industry capacity is on pace to increase 8 percent this year. Is this too much? How strong are IC wafer starts?
* In 2011, China will become the largest market in the world for PCs, cellphones, digital TVs, and automobiles. What are the ramifications for the IC industry and its suppliers?
* After growing by 56 percent in 2010, smartphone unit shipments are forecast to grow by 60% in 2011. Which company is expected to ship the greatest number of smartphones this year -- Apple, Nokia, or Samsung? What affect will the current surge of smartphone sales have on the NAND flash market?
* Semiconductor industry capital spending reached a record high in 1Q11. However, 2Q11 spending and orders weakened. What is the quarterly capital spending outlook for the remainder of 2011? Which companies are spending the most? Which are cutting back?
* Nokia, the largest cellphone producer in the world, initiated a huge inventory purge in 2Q11. Its cellphone unit shipments dropped by 20 million in 2Q11 as compared to 1Q11, spurred by a 21 percent decline in sales to Europe and a massive 53 percent decline in sales to China! Can Nokia rebound in the second half of 2011? What are the company's smartphone sales forecast to be this year?
* Corporate PC sales are in the midst of a strong refresh cycle that is expected to continue through 2012. Consumer PC sales are a different story. What will quarterly PC shipments look like in 2011? Is Intel's 2011 PC unit shipment forecast of 8-10 percent growth realistic?
* DRAM average selling prices (ASPs) rose throughout the first half of 2011, while NAND flash ASPs were flat. What are the ASP trends for the second half of the year? What will DRAM and NAND flash bit volume growth be for 2011?
* Total 2Q11 cellphone unit shipments were down 2% from 1Q11. In contrast, during the 2007-2010 timeperiod, 2Q/1Q cellphone unit shipment growth averaged 7%. What caused this softness? What is the quarterly growth outlook for cellphone shipments in the second half of this year?
* Tablet PC sales are on pace for at least 50 million unit shipments this year (up from 17 million in 2010). However, tablet PCs are currently causing an inventory problem for the IC industry. What is driving this IC inventory build? When will it be eliminated?