Mobile device design is increasingly reliant on integrated platforms, which are chipsets based on combinations of application processor, baseband processor, and wireless connectivity technologies. In 2012, 19 percent of handsets shipped were based on an integrated platform; set to more than double to 46 percent in 2018. “Integrated solutions are used in many handsets from mass-market smartphones to flagship smartphones and will eventually find their way into feature phones,” noted research director Philip Solis. “One industry dynamic mitigating the need for integrated platforms are device reference designs and related services offered by semiconductor vendors.”
Qualcomm certainly benefits from its integrated platform products as it offers a large number of them with different features. Currently, only Qualcomm integrates wireless connectivity into its products, and is the only vendor offering integrated solutions including application processors, baseband processors, and wireless connectivity. ABI Research expects other suppliers to eventually catch up, with Intel and Broadcom looking the most significant competitors.
In 2012, 80 percent of handsets shipped were based on a single-core processor. This will flip by 2018 with 92 percent of handsets using a dual-core or higher application processor. This includes quad-core processors consisting of 4 cores or 4.4 (big.LITTLE, sometimes referred to as “octacore”) cores. In 2018, over one billion smartphones will ship with quad-core processors.
Also, in 2012, 12 percent of handsets included LTE. This will increase to 35 percent of all handsets, with a small percentage of these being singlemode LTE. Naturally, all of these changes are much more pronounced in smartphones with the feature phone market seeing these trends later even as feature phones give way to smartphones.
These findings are part of ABI Research’s fully revamped Mobile Device Semiconductor Research Service.