Jon Peddie Research (JPR) has announced estimated personal mobile device graphics chip shipments for the first half of 2013. Personal mobile devices include smartphones, tablets and handheld games consoles.
The market for portable devices (mobile devices that we can carry, including notebooks) continues to soar in spite of economic difficulties and general uncertainty. Although personal devices are not necessarily replacing the PC, they are outselling the PC. All of these devices have a GPU integrated in the device's system on a chip (SoC) application processor.
JPR has found that Qualcomm has over 32% of the total market for personal mobile devices.
Except for the four proprietary (vertically integrated) suppliers, of the more than four dozen SoC suppliers characterized as others, Imagination Technologies is the largest supplier of GPU IP to them. However, ARM and Vivante have shown tremendous growth on year.
Other SoC suppliers that buy GPU IP are Allwiner, Freescale, Huawei, MediaTek, Rockchip, Wonder Media/VIA and others. These companies have participated in the feature phone market, and some of them have recently entered the smartphone, tablet, and handheld game machine segment.
One area that is fueling the growth of portable SoCs is the tablet market in China, which is contributing significantly to the growth that ARM and Vivante are experiencing. As a result of this tablet surge in China, dramatic changes are expected during the next 12 months. Apple introduced a 7-inch tablet, Microsoft brought out its Surface tablet, and Texas Instruments will continue to supply Amazon (even though the company has pulled back from the smartphone market as Nokia loses market share).
The market for SoCs with GPUs grew 81% from the first half of 2012. As a result of the turbulence in the market, JPR expects market shares to shift dramatically through 2013.
Over four dozen semiconductor suppliers including Broadcom, Apple, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Qualcomm and Samsung, produce application processors. All of those companies fall into one of two categories: vertically integrated, or IP buyers. AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm are the vertically integrated companies with their own GPU and CPU designs; all of the other companies buy GPU IP from one of four IP suppliers (ARM, DMP, Imagination Technologies, or Vivante). The exceptions to this categorization are Samsung, which has an internal GPU design as well as purchasing IP from ARM and Imagination Technologies. Broadcom is also an exception; it has an internal design GPU as well as buying IP from ARM.
The leading high-volume suppliers of application processors are Apple, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, and Samsung. ARM supplies GPU IP for some of Samsung's mobile phones, while Imagination Technologies' GPU IP is used in Apple, Texas Instruments, and some of Samsung's mobile phones and tablets.
The upcoming SoC suppliers with design wins to their credit are Intel (proprietary GPU) and Nvidia (proprietary GPU). Qualcomm, however, is the giant in the industry.