Last week we published our smartphone applications processor market share estimates for 2010. By our estimates, the smartphone applications processor market showed an impressive 77 year-over-year revenue growth in 2010 to reach $4.52 billion. Baseband-integrated applications processors accounted for 74 percent of total apps processor revenue in 2010 and we think it will remain relatively stable in the next few years.

Here are some highlights of our smartphone applications processor market share tracker 2010 report:

  • Qualcomm led the smartphone applications processor market in 2010 with 41 percent revenue share on the strength of its strong participation in the multiple software ecosystems and its broad range of integrated processors. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors MSM8x50 and MSM7x30 gained good traction in the second half of 2010 and featured in multiple popular smartphones. We note that Qualcomm had over 50 percent revenue share lead over its nearest competitor Texas Instruments (TI). We believe that Qualcomm has a two-to-three year advantage over most of its competitors in terms of integration and is well positioned to move further ahead of its competitors with its upcoming MSM8960 LTE apps processor.

 

  • TI ranked number two with 27 percent revenue share in 2010 despite topped the unit shipment rankings. TI’s stand-alone apps processor unit shipment share declined to 20 percent in 2010, by our estimates. We think TI's unit shipment leadership will be challenged by Qualcomm and Samsung in 2010.

  • Samsung finished with 19 percent revenue share in 2010 and its unit shipments doubled on a year-over-year basis. Samsung's 1GHz Cortex-A8 Hummingbird apps processors featured in high-volume products such as Samsung Galaxy S, Wave and Wave II.

  •  Marvell ranked number four in revenue terms but the company's over-dependency on a single customer is a cause for concern.

With over ten vendors already announced 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processors, we expect 2011 to be highly competitive and ARM-based applications processor vendors should build competitive barriers by investing in graphics processing technologies, integration, micro architecture, multi-core processors, semiconductor process technologies and software expertise as the entry barrier is relatively low for new vendors to enter into the ARM-based ecosystem compared to the x86 chip ecosystem.

Client reading: Smartphone Apps Processor Market Share: Qualcomm’s Revenue Share Reached 41 Percent in 2010