(Updated to include Morningstar analyst comments about Lam Research).
NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- Smartphone and tablet wars between
(AAPL - Get Report),
Samsung and other hardware companies have intensified the need for faster, smaller and cheaper semiconductors.
That has benefited chipmakers such as
(LRCX - Get Report),
(ISIL - Get Report) and
Smartphones and tablets are selling briskly despite Europe's debt woes and the slowly growing U.S. economy. And that will continue as people shift from personal computers and laptops to mobile computing devices. Semiconductors these days need to be more powerful as the devices pack on features and capabilities unheard of just a few years ago.
Highlighting ongoing demand for smartphones, research firm Strategy Analytics said that handset shipments rose 11% year-over-year to 445 million units in the fourth quarter, with Apple having 8% of the market share during the fourth quarter of 2011. For the full year, handsets saw a growth rate of 14%, reaching 1.6 billion units shipped.
Semiconductor companies like
(INTC - Get Report)
(QCOM - Get Report)
say the semiconductor cycle has hit the bottom, and is ready to rebound in 2012.
five under-the-radar semiconductor stocks
that investors should know.