ABI Research’s GNSS IC vendor matrix concluded that, overall, Qualcomm is the leading GPS IC vendor, followed by Broadcom in second place, and CSR in third. The vendor matrix compares companies on 15 criteria across the broader categories of GNSS Innovation and Implementation. Qualcomm’s domination of cellular GPS IC shipments courtesy of its embedded platform strategy, coupled with its strong IZat and Gimbal platforms means it is well placed to remain at the top in 2013/14.

Broadcom is now firmly established as number two in this space, scoring highest on Innovation. It has an impressive range of GPS ICs, with the BCM47521 optimized for always-on ubiquitous location and shipping in high volumes.  Its HULA location platform highlights how the GNSS market is changing and the importance of developer support.

CSR retains its position in the overall top three, and while its SiRFstarIV range is impressive, it will need to see a ramp up in shipments in 2013/14. Interestingly, the sale of GNSS IP to Samsung does not prohibitively affect CSR’s ability to address the cellular market, other than limitations around embedded licensing, while its LaaS offering will create new opportunity.

“Mediatek has now emerged as a major threat, taking third on Innovation and 2012 market share rankings, following very impressive shipments of its combo ICs into local Chinese smartphone manufacturers. It is also strong on PNDs/recreational and cameras, with a growing presence in other markets. Its move to fully embedded GPS in 2013 should prove significant in driving market share in the future,” comments senior analyst, Patrick Connolly.

Beyond this, Intel is starting to get serious on GPS while the aforementioned Samsung IP acquisition will enable it to develop its own embedded GPS solution in the future. Also worthy of note, U-Blox continues its impressive revenue, shipment and client growth, while TI continues to be marginalized relying on markets where embedded cellular platforms have yet to dominate.

 These findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Devices Research Service