Radio frequency chip makers tune in to smartphone race

Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:23pm EDT
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* RF Micro, Skyworks to benefit as more LTE chips used in smartphones

* Investors favor chipmakers with exposure to Samsung

By Sayantani Ghosh and Sruthi Ramakrishnan

March 15 (Reuters) - Radio frequency chip makers are set to gain as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc unveil ever more sophisticated smartphones and tablets to battle for the No. 1 spot in the global mobile devices market.

Investors and analysts say they like shares of RF Micro Devices Inc, Skyworks Solutions Inc and Avago Technologies Ltd - companies that make the chips that enable gadgets to send and receive data wirelessly.

Samsung unveiled its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, in New York on Thursday. The S4 can stop and start videos when someone looks at the screen, flip between songs at the wave of a hand and record sound to accompany pictures.

As manufacturers improve and add new features to phones, which are increasingly used to stream music, video and games, they are boosting the RF chip technology used in the devices.

"The RF content in handsets continues to go up," said Stewart Stecker, a portfolio manager at AlphaOne Capital. "That's good from an immediate to longer-term perspective for the entire RF supply chain."