The growth in mobile platforms has made wireless hardware vendors the top consumers of silicon components for the second straight year.
A report from research firm IHS found that wireless manufacturer spending on semiconductors topped even that of PC manufacturers.
Overall, the firm estimated that vendors spent $58.6bn on components for wireless devices, compared to $53.7bn for computers.
Wireless spending has outpaced computer spending for two of the past three years, and analysts expect the gap to widen in the coming years.
Over the past year, computer spending climbed by four per cent, while wireless spending climbed by 14.5 per cent in 2011.
For 2012, IHS projects wireless spending to hit $65.1bn, while PC semiconductor costs will decline slightly to $53.5 before recovering in 2013.
"A substantial portion of the segment’s increase will be due to rising tablet sales, although mobile handsets like smartphones will continue to account for the lion’s share of semiconductor segment in the wireless area," said IHS analyst Wenlie Yi.
"The market for desktops and notebooks has stumbled in the shadow of smartphones and tablets, whose portability and computer-like features have usurped the position of the once-mighty PCs."
The semiconductor and hardware manufacturing industry saw a tumultuous year in 2011. Production ground to a halt across the sector in the wake of a chain of disasters in Japan and later by flooding in Thailand.
The year also saw the mobile market reach new heights. The continued success of Apple's iPhone and iPad models was joined by record sales for Android lines and the emergence of the Windows Phone platform.
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