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Qualcomm takes biggest chunk in mobile GPUs pie

Posted: 08 Dec 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPU? smartphone? SoC? tablet?

Despite economic snags, the market for mobile devicesincluding notebooksremains robust. Although portable devices are not necessarily replacing the PC, they are outselling it. These devices each contain a graphics processor integrated in its application processor. Overall, the market for SoCs with GPUs grew 81 per cent from the first half of 2011.

Our study of this segment found Qualcomm has more than 42 per cent of the total market for personal mobile devices (below). Among the more than four dozen SoC suppliers characterised as "Others," Imagination Technologies is overwhelmingly the largest supplier of graphics cores, with the exception of four proprietary, vertically integrated suppliers. However, ARM and Vivante have shown tremendous growth year-to-year (see table below).

Total market

Other SoC suppliers that buy GPU cores include Allwiner, Freescale, Huawei, MediaTek, Rockchip and Wonder Media/VIA. These companies have participated in the feature phone market, and some of them have recently entered the smartphone, tablet and handheld game machine segments.

The exploding tablet market in China is fuelling the growth of portable SoCs, contributing significantly to the astounding growth that ARM and Vivante are experiencing. As a result of China's tablet surge, dramatic changes are expected during the next 12 months. Because of the turbulence in the market, we expect market shares to shift dramatically through 2013.

Market share changes

Market share changes for portable devices from 1H11 to 1H12. (Source: Jon Peddie Research)

More than four dozen semiconductor suppliers produce application processors, including Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Qualcomm and Samsung. Of these players, AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm are vertically integrated companies with their own GPU and CPU designs. All of the other companies buy GPU cores from one of four IP suppliers: ARM, DMP, Imagination or Vivante.

Samsung and Broadcom are two exceptions. Samsung has an internal GPU design and buys graphics IP from both ARM and Imagination. Broadcom also has an internally designed GPU and buys GPUs from ARM.

The leading high-volume suppliers of application processors are Apple, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Samsung. Imagination supplies GPU IP to Apple, TI and Samsungwhich also uses ARM GPUs in some phones. Qualcomm designs its own GPU cores.

The upcoming SoC suppliers with impressive design wins to their credit are Intel and Nvidia. Qualcomm, however, is the giant in the industry.

- Jon Peddie
??Jon Peddie Research





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