Qualcomm Shipped Most Smartphone and Tablet GPUs in 2011

Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2012 - 09:31 AM |
Tagged: ti, qualcomm, nvidia, mobile gpu, jpr, apple

The researchers over at Jon Peddie Research pushed out their results yesterday for shipments of mobile GPUs in SoC (system on a chip) platforms, and they found some interesting results. The article covers the number of shipments by the major players in the mobile device GPU space and uses those numbers to estimate the amount of market share each of the companies has using an average of all the four quarter shipment numbers. Further, they found that from Q1 2011 to Q4 2011, the number of mobile device GPUs shipped by all manufacturers had a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18%. That's a fairly impressive growth rate that shows the smartphone and tablet hardware market is continuing to steadily grow.

In terms of market share, at the end of 2011 Qualcomm was leading the pack with 31.4%, and the only other manufacturer to come close to that number was Apple with 22.7%. The little Adreno GPU by Qualcomm was obviously a popular choice last year!

To make things even more interesting, they note that although Qualcomm has the highest shipment rates, it was Samsung who enjoyed the highest CAGR with a 39% growth rate (bringing them up from 9.2% in Q1 to 14.9% in Q4). Apple then followed behind Samsung's numbers with 26% CAGR. Finally, Qualcomm had the lowest percentage growth rate but maintained the highest number of shipments.

The table below shows off the relative market share for the major SoC mobile device manufacturers, as provided by Jon Peddie Research.

Market Share Q1'11 Q2'11 Q3'11 Q4'11 2011
Apple 22.2% 21.4% 18.7% 27.1% 22.7%
NVIDIA 2.8% 3.6% 4.1% 1.7% 3.0%
Qualcomm 31.6% 32.6% 31.6% 30.2% 31.4%
Samsung 9.2% 13.9% 15.9% 14.9% 13.8%
TI 20.6% 16.2% 15.9% 16.2% 17.0%
Others 13.4% 12.2% 13.8% 9.9% 12.1%


They further state that the mobile GPU war is really heating up, especially between Samsung, Apple, and Qualcomm, and I tend to agree. This area of the technology market is seeing some very impressive growth and is really booming as mobile GPU SoCs are continuously released and they are getting more powerful each iteration. It is an area that has a lot of competition and is growing rapidly, much like desktop computers did 10 to 20 years ago when personal computers really started to be affordable and powerful enough to take over the world (well, market share wise).

Another interesting point about the marketshare results in that of NVIDIA's shipments.  With all the marketing behind the Tegra SoC and its popularity in high end smartphones and tablets, I was under the impression that they had a lot more marketshare than they do such that when I first saw the JPR chart, I did a double take and had to be sure I read them correctly!  It will be interesting to see how they do this year and whether they will start to see increased growth.

It will be interesting to see if Samsung can catch up to Qualcomm and whether or nor Qualcomm will still be the heavyweight champion by 2012. Nvidia is still just breaking into this market but they have a very powerful GPU, so it will be interesting to see just how much they manage to grow this year. What are your thoughts on these numbers? How do you think things will unfold this year? Let us know in the comments below!

February 29, 2012 | 07:57 PM - Posted by djotter

NVIDIA does has a powerful chip in some heavyweight devices that get a lot of publicity, but think of the hundreds of low to middleweight designs that get pumped out to fulfill the needs of the masses, that is where market share is fought, and won, by Qualcomm.

March 5, 2012 | 06:38 AM - Posted by Coolio68 (not verified)

Given that Apple and TI are PowerVR exclusive, and Samsung,Mediatek and others also employ PowerVR to varying degrees, that gives Imagination Technologies around 50% market share. So whilst Qualcomm is the largest chip vendor, in terms of mobile graphics IP, PowerVR/IMG is easily no.1