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Smartphone, tablet apps processors market soared in 2012

Posted: 15 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:apps processors? smartphone? tablets?

The global market for smartphone applications processors showed a robust 60 per cent year-on-year growth last year at $12.9 billion, with Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, MediaTek and Broadcom capturing the top-five revenue share rankings. On the tablet realm, a significant 83 per cent rise was also achieved in 2012 with $2.7 billion in revenue and Apple still leading the pack, followed by Nvidia, Texas Instruments. Both reports were issued by research firm Strategy Analytics.

Qualcomm maintained its lead last year with 43 per cent revenue share as its Snapdragon processors gained acceptance across multiple smartphone price tiers. Apple ranked number two thanks to its in-house designed A series processors, showcased in its flagship iPhones. Third place Samsung made the cut because of its Exynos processors featured in Galaxy S III and Note II. MediaTek grabbed the number four spot as the company's integrated processors gained strong traction in low-to-mid range smartphones. Broadcom ranked number five as its processors found its way in multiple low-end Android smartphones from Samsung.

Freescale, Marvell, Renesas Mobile and Texas Instruments showed negative growth in 2012 while ST-Ericsson and Spreadtrum registered significant growth. Nvidia's Tegra shipments remained relatively flat growth in 2012 compared to 2011. However, its upcoming Tegra4i LTE chip will enable Nvidia to go after high volume markets.

Intel grabbed just 0.2 per cent revenue share though the to-be released Clover Trail+ dual-core x86 Atom chip could help turn things around for the microprocessor giant in 2013.

According to Stuart Robinson, Director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service, "Strategy Analytics notes that the applications processor market is increasingly bifurcating with vertical vendors like Apple and Samsung designing their own chip on the one hand and merchant vendors like Qualcomm and MediaTek supplying to multiple customers on the other hand. Strategy Analytics estimates that the vertical vendors grabbed over one-fourth of the applications processor market in revenue terms in 2012. However, there is plenty of opportunity for vendors such as Qualcomm, MediaTek, Broadcom and Nvidia to drive the technology hard and gain share."

As for tablet apps processors, Strategy Analytics noted that while Apple continued its dominance, a handful of Chinese tablet chip vendors captured 20 per cent volume share between them, rivalling frontrunners Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Samsung and Qualcomm.

Nvidia led the non-iPad tablet market with 27 per cent revenue share in 2012 and scored high-profile design-wins such as the Google Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface RT, which fuelled the 83 per cent YoY growth. Robinson pointed out that Intel and Qualcomm missed the tablet boat last year and their success hinges on Microsoft' Windows tablet operating system's take off.

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