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Broadcom Breaks Into Top-Five Smartphone Chip Supplier Rankings in Q3 2011

by Sravan Kundojjala | Dec 02, 2011

Today, we released our Q3 2011 global smartphone apps processor market share numbers and based on our estimates, the market grew 59 percent on a year-on-year basis to reach $2.24 billion in Q3 2011.

Here are some highlights from our smartphone apps processor market share tracker:

- Qualcomm, Samsung, Texas Instruments (TI), Marvell and Broadcom took the top-five places in unit share terms in Q3 2011.

- Qualcomm ranked number one with almost 50 percent revenue share in Q3 2011. The company benefitted from its multi-tier product portfolio and its strong relationships with equipment manufacturers. Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors gained strong traction and featured in multiple popular smartphones during the quarter. Despite its long-term emphasis on an integrated approach, Qualcomm now also participates in the stand-alone apps processor market with its APQ8xxx Snapdragon processors and took 4.3 percent unit share in this category. The APQ product line helped Qualcomm to tackle the LTE smartphone market as the company currently does not have an LTE-integrated Snapdragon processor yet. Qualcomm's LTE Snapdragon processors such as MSM8960 will debut in 2012.

- Samsung ranked number two overall on the strength of its strong dual-core processor momentum. Samsung ranked number one in the stand-alone apps processor category with over 70 percent unit shipment share. Samsung's dual-core processors featured in popular products such as the Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Galaxy Note.

 - TI ranked number three in Q3 2011 and showed signs of improvements after hiccups at its major customer, Nokia. We estimate that TI's shipments to non-Nokia customers grew 65 percent on an annual basis in Q3 2011. TI's dual-core OMAP4 processors featured in multiple popular products for the holiday quarter and this has helped the company to hold steady during the quarter.

- Marvell tried to diversify its customer base in Q3 2011 with its new TD-SCDMA smartphone processor, PXA 920. We believe the company has had some success so far. This, coupled with Marvell's recent LTE chip announcement should keep the company in the race.

- For the first time, Broadcom featured in our top-five smartphone apps processor unit shipment rankings, thanks to its Android ramp ups at a major customer.  Broadcom replaced NVIDIA as a number five player in Q3 2011. We believe Broadcom's management has now recognised the importance of smartphone apps processors and is likely to strengthen its efforts further in 2012. Broadcom has the potential to be a strong competitor to Qualcomm in the long-term, given the company's strong emphasis on wireless markets and integration capabilities.

- NVIDIA ranked number six in unit terms and number five in revenue terms in Q3 2011, by our estimates. Tegra smartphone shipments showed only modest sequential growth as the company lost design-wins to competitors' dual-core products at major customers.

- MediaTek showed significant improvement in Q3 2011 with the help of its HSPA smartphone processor MT6573.

The stand-alone applications processors out-grew baseband-integrated applications processors in Q3 2011 and accounted for over 40 percent of total smartphone applications processor shipments in Q3 2011, up from around 30 percent in the same quarter last year. This growth can be attributed to strong demand for dual-core processors and LTE smartphone shipments.

The smartphone apps processor market will continue to grow in the next few years despite the pressure on ASPs. There is enough room for new market entrants and for some significant market share changes in future.

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