Thanks to strong demand for smart phones and tablets, the global application processor (AP) market grew in the double-digit range in 2014. The smart phone application processor market grew 21 percent year-over-year, reaching $20.9 billion in 2014, according to Strategy Analytics. This was followed by 18 percent year-over-year growth for tablet application processors, reaching $4.2 billion.
The research report, "Smartphone Apps Processor Market Share 2014: Qualcomm, Apple and MediaTek Grab Top-3 Spots," ranked Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek, Spreadtrum and Samsung LSI as the top five earners in the global smartphone AP market last year. Qualcomm retained its leading position with 52 percent revenue share, followed by Apple with 18 percent revenue share, and MediaTek with 14 percent revenue share.
"Yet again Qualcomm capitalized on its strong momentum for its high tier Snapdragon chips, Snapdragon 801 & 805 and maintained the top spot in smartphone APs in 2014. However, Qualcomm's competitors HiSilicon, Intel, and MediaTek made good progress and out-grew Qualcomm. Strategy Analytics believes that 2015 is shaping up to be a challenging year for Qualcomm, thanks to increased competition in 64-bit APs and LTE-integrated APs,” said Sravan Kundojjala, associate director, Strategy Analytics, in a statement.
"Strategy Analytics estimates that Samsung LSI's 2014 smartphone AP shipment share reached its lowest in the last six years as its Exynos chips steadily lost ground to Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips in flagship devices. Samsung LSI is looking to regain share with the help of 14 nm-based smartphone APs and Strategy Analytics believes that the latest Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge design-wins bode well for Samsung LSI in 2015,” added Stuart Robinson, executive director, Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service, in a statement.
In February 2015, Samsung Electronics announced that it started mass production of the industry’s first mobile application processor using the advanced 14-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology. The process technology enables up to 20 percent faster speed, 35 percent less power consumption and 30 percent productivity gain compared to its previous 20-nm process. Samsung will use the leading-edge process for its Exynos 7 Octa chips, and expand to other products throughout the year.
Similarly, the report, "Tablet Apps Processor Market Share 2014: Apple and Intel Grab Top Two Spots," ranked Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung LSI captured as the top five in the tablet AP market in 2014. Apple held on to its top position in the tablet AP market with 27 percent revenue share, followed by Intel with 19 percent revenue share, and Qualcomm with 16 percent revenue share.
"Strategy Analytics estimates that Intel's tablet AP shipments registered over 300 percent year-over-year growth in 2014 and for the first time Intel ranked number one in the non-iPad tablet AP supplier market on an annual basis. Intel is well positioned to continue its tablet AP momentum in 2015 with the help of low-cost Atom X3 and 14 nm-based Atom X5 and X7 APs,” stated Kundojjala.
Strategy Analytics reports that 64-bit tablet APs accounted for more than one-third of total shipments last year with Apple and Intel accounting for almost all shipments. The market research firm forecasts an industry-wide migration to 64-bit APs, resulting in the 64-bit chips over taking 32-bit shipments in 2015.