The global markets for smartphone and tablet applications processors (AP) both fell in 2015 compared to 2014, according to Strategy Analytics.
The smartphone AP market decreased 4% to US$20.1 billion in 2015, while the tablet AP market declined a larger 33% to US$2.7 billion, said Strategy Analytics.
In the smartphone AP market, Qualcomm maintained its top spot but faced strong competition and lost market share in 2015, Strategy Analytics indicated. Qualcomm’s smartphone AP revenue share dropped to 42% from 52% in 2014. Apple and MediaTek ranked number two and three with 21% and 19% revenue shares, respectively.
“2015 proved to be a transition year for Qualcomm as the company’s flagship APs faced strong competition from vertical vendors such as Samsung LSI. Qualcomm, however, capitalized on its mid-range 64-bit chips and overtook Apple to take the 64-bit leadership crown in 2015,” said Sravan Kundojjala, associate director at Strategy Analytics. “Strategy Analytics believes that Qualcomm’s strengthened product portfolio will boost its shipments in 2016.”
Samsung LSI was the star performer in 2015 as the company doubled its smartphone AP shipments with the help of 14nm-based Exynos APs, Strategy Analytics noted. Meanwhile, Intel registered 66% shipment growth year-over-year in 2015 and captured just 1% unit share.
“Samsung LSI, Leadcore and Rockchip registered a triple-digit growth in their AP shipments in 2015 while MediaTek, HiSilicon and Intel registered a double-digit growth,” said Stuart Robinson, executive director of Strategy Analytics’ handset component technologies service. “HiSilicon and Samsung LSI, in particular, capitalized on their design-wins at their respective in-house customers. Strategy Analytics predicts continued momentum for many of these players in 2016.”
In the tablet AP market, Apple maintained its leadership in 2015 with a 31% revenue share, followed by Qualcomm with 16% revenue share and Intel with 14% revenue share, narrowly ahead of MediaTek, according to Strategy Analytics.
“For the first time on an annual basis the tablet AP market declined, thanks to strong competition from large screen smartphones, long replacement cycles and a general slowdown in the tablet devices market,” Kundojjala noted. “In 2015, Intel ceded its non-iPad tablet AP ‘unit share’ leadership to MediaTek as the company shifted focus to improve profitability in its mobile business. Intel, however, scored some prominent design-wins in 2015 with the help of its 14 nm-based Atom X5 and Atom X7 APs. In addition, Intel’s 3G integrated tablet AP Atom X3 contributed over 10% of Intel’s total tablet AP volumes in 2015.”
“Despite the overall tablet AP market decline, the integrated AP category registered a strong 61% year-over year growth in 2015, driven by Qualcomm, MediaTek, Spreadtrum, Rockchip and Intel,” said Robinson. “However, the sharp decline in stand-alone AP shipments resulted in an overall decline in 2015.”