Japanese chipmaker NEC is planning to slash prices for its first- and second-generation USB 3.0 chips in the fourth quarter and will launch its next-generation models with a price below US$2 in the first quarter of 2011.
Digitimes said that market watchers expect USB 3.0 chip shipments to reach 20 million units in 2010 and over 40 million units in 2011. Mostly it is Taiwan-based chipmakers ASMedia Technology, a subsidiary of Asustek Computer; VIA Technology; Etron Technology and US-based Fresco Logic who are cleaning up. ASMedia has cut its USB 3.0 chip prices down to US$1.7-1.8 for batch orders recently, but NEC has a bit of time before its rivals make any significant impact.
All three Taiwan-based chipmakers have not yet passed certification by USB-IF and their USB 3.0 chips can't ship until October or November. NEC currently has more than 90 per cent share of the USB 3.0 market and its price cut in the fourth quarter is expected to help further strengthen its position.
On top of that it has a range of third-generation USB 3.0 chips, which feature higher performance and lower power consumption. This is not much more expensive than the cheaper older gear and should also help to see off opposition.