According to a new Counterpoint research, chipset revenues crossed 8 billion dollars in the global smartphone SoC market in Q3 2017. This is definitely a new record, as we have never seen such revenue figures in the third quarter of a year. Compared to Q3 2016, the market grew 19% annually, which is a significant increase. Qualcomm, with its Snapdragon SoCs, is the company leading the global smartphone SoC maker ranking, with a share of 42%, that is 1 percent more compared to Q3 2016. At the second place of the ranking, there is Apple, which occupies a share of 20%, 1% less than Q3 2016. After Qualcomm and Apple, we got MediaTek with a share of 14%.
But MediaTek registered an important decrease in SoC shippings: 4% less than Q3 2016. Samsung Exynos, HiSilicon, and Spreadtrum are at the last three spots of the ranking with shares of 11, 8, and 5 percent. According to Neil Shah, Counterpoint Research Director: “The focus in the smartphone SoC market has shifted away from the number of processor cores to the integration of newer technologies driving newer experiences. For example: focusing on immersion to unlock new experiences such as AR/VR/Depth Sensing leveraging integrated ISP (Image Signal Processors) and GPUs, to other areas such as Artificial Intelligence engines, dedicated security architecture at chipset level, enhanced connectivity paving the path to 5G and higher performance at lower power consumption levels”.
Indeed, Huawei has recently launched a flagship processor with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit to perform AI tasks (Kirin 970), and the same did Apple with its A11 Fusion. Qualcomm has unveiled its new Snapdragon 845 which features AI as well, and it will be in the market starting from Q1 2018. According to Counterpoint a third of smartphones shipped in 2020 will have a processor supporting AI.