Thursday, 17 September 2020 07:59

Qualcomm stays ahead in global smartphone SoC market in 2Q

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Qualcomm stays ahead in global smartphone SoC market in 2Q Pixabay

American firm Qualcomm Technologies, with 29%, remained top of the market for smartphone application processors - also known as system-on-chip - during the second quarter of the year, despite losing three percentage points year-on-year.

The technology analyst firm Counterpoint Research said Qualcomm had lost some ground to Chinese vendor Huawei which had increased the use of chips based on designs from its HiSilicon unit during the quarter due to US curbs.

Counterpoint vice-president of research, Neil Shah, said: "While the overall smartphone market declined due to the ongoing pandemic, the decline in market share for Qualcomm was partly also due to Huawei, which increased the use of HiSilicon application processors after US restrictions, and its growing share in China, the world’s largest smartphone market.

"Qualcomm’s share in Huawei (including Honor) smartphones declined from 12% in Q2 2019 to 3% in Q2 2020.”

The agency said manufacturing had been picking up pace due to the pent-up demand in some countries, but expressed doubts about Huawei's future smartphone sames due to its not being able to get its chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company any longer.

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Shah added: “It is not all bleak for the smartphone segment. For example, 5G smartphone sales more than doubled (+126%) in Q2 2020 from just a quarter ago. This trend will try to offset the overall decline in the first half and fuel the growth back in 2021.

"This will also create significant opportunities for application processor suppliers to increase the share of semiconductor content even if the overall market volumes remain lower this year. Furthermore, the restrictions on Huawei will drive the growth for Qualcomm, MediaTek and Unisoc.”

Research analyst Shobhit Srivastava outlined the potential shift in share of the market due to the Huawei curbs. "OPPO, vivo, realme and Xiaomi will be the key drivers for Qualcomm and MediaTek as they look to fill the big gap which Huawei might leave behind in near- to mid-term," he said.

"And this could be more beneficial for Qualcomm in the premium segment (US$400+ wholesale), especially in China, where Huawei dominates with more than 40% market share, and in the mid- to high-tier segments in markets like Europe.

"In the mid and low segments, MediaTek with its affordable 4G and 5G solutions will gain popularity in markets such as China, Russia and Middle East & Africa as realme and Xiaomi look to target Huawei’s market share.”

Srivastava said the growing use of 5G would be a driver for cloud gaming. "Additionally, we are also seeing increasing demand for casual and advanced gaming at the mass-market level. Thus, the affordable smartphone segment with gaming capabilities is estimated to grow a massive 1011% in 2020," he said.

"Smartphone application processor vendors are capitalising on this opportunity by launching solutions with higher clocked GPUs and support for higher display refresh rates – 90 Hz, 120 Hz and even 144 Hz, elevating the gaming experience in the affordable segment.

"With 5G coming to lower price segments, mobile gaming is estimated to grow further due to its low latency connectivity. As a result, we are seeing OEMs working with vendors to add more models with gaming capabilities via solutions such as MediaTek G-series and Qualcomm G variants in the Snapdragon 6 series.”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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