Apple Leads Tablet Processors, while Qualcomm Dominates Phones

By Tom Allen
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The global market for tablet application processors rose 16% YoY in Q3’14, to $1.4 billion, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung were the top tablet processor vendors in terms of revenue. Apple led with a 30% share, followed by Intel at 19% and Qualcomm at 14%. Over the 12 months to Q3’14, Strategy Analytics estimates that Intel’s shipments more than tripled, thanks to increased traction in Android tablets. Momentum will be maintained this year by Intel’s upcoming low-cost Sofia 3G/4G processors (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 15) and partnerships with Rockchip and Spreadtrum.

Chinese and Taiwanese processor vendors, including Actions Semiconductor, Allwinner, MediaTek, Spreadtrum and Rockchip, increased their combined volume share to 36% of the market, compared to 29% in Q3’13. Again, Strategy Analytics expects momentum to continue this year.

In the smartphone processor market, Hisilicon and Intel both posted triple-digit on-year growth over the same period. The entire market was up 16% YoY, to $5.6 billion. Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek, Spreadtrum and Samsung led, with the top three exhibiting 51%, 19% and 15% revenue shares, respectively.

Despite its huge scale and rising competition, Qualcomm continues to grow, reaching 57% YoY growth in Q3’14. Strategy Analytics attributed this to global LTE smartphone momentum, as well as strong traction in mid-range 3G models.

Although they were not present in the top five, the significant growth enjoyed by Intel and Hisilicon is noteworthy. Strategy Analytics associate director Sravan Kundojjala said, “In Q3 2014, Hisilicon’s [application processors] featured in multiple high-volume LTE smartphones from Huawei, while Intel drew almost all of its growth from Asus Zenfone-branded smartphones”.

It is also worth mentioning the global baseband processor market, which Qualcomm also led with a 64% revenue share, followed by Mediatek (17%) and Spreadtrum (6%).