The market for mobile handset IC, including platform and connectivity ICs, surpassed $32 billion in 2011 and is forecast to grow a further 11 percent in 2012 to reach $35.7 billion. Growth is being led largely by the smartphone segment, with ultra-low end handsets also growing strongly. “Qualcomm stands out as the market leader with 26 percent overall share in 2011,” stated Peter Cooney practice director, of semiconductors,  “its continuing focus on the handset market and in particular its efforts to increase platform integration look set to further strengthen Qualcomm’s hold on the market in the near term.”

Looking at the two main sections of the market – platform ICs and wireless connectivity - there are a number of suppliers that are strong across the board; these include Qualcomm, Broadcom, Texas Instruments, and MediaTek. “For all handset IC suppliers their future fortunes in the market will be bound by their ability to embrace integration and supply the market with compelling solutions that enable high functionality whilst keeping costs down,” continued Cooney, “Qualcomm has continued to embrace this and its Snapdragon 4 platform takes this to a new level.”

MediaTek is following hot on Qualcomm’s heels with its MT6575 platform for low- to mid-end smartphones; it continues its transition from a lower-end handset to a smartphone-focused supplier.

Broadcom continues to lead the handset wireless connectivity market with almost 40 percent revenue market share, due largely to its strength in the combo IC market. Its long-term future in this market will be determined by its ability to match Qualcomm, MediaTek, and others in the integrated platform ICs market.

Texas Instruments is also strong in wireless connectivity being the second largest combo IC supplier but its withdrawal from the baseband IC (modem) market puts it at a disadvantage as platform solutions (whether fully integrated or not) — which include wireless connectivity — start to become the norm.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Mobile Device Semiconductors Database, which includes Market Data and Insights.