Qualcomm ships most System on a Chip GPUs in first half

Apple holds steady while MediaTek and Samsung post highest growth rates, according to a new market research report from Jon Peddie Research.

Qualcomm shipped the most System on a Chip (SoC) GPUs in a fast-growing market during the first half of 2012, according to a new research report from Jon Peddie Research. Shipments from all suppliers were up 69.4% from a year earlier.

Samsung saw the biggest increase in compound annual growth rate (CAGR) year-over-year, up 179%. All top five vendors saw CAGR gains except Texas Instruments, down 31.6%. MediaTek had phenomenal 966% growth year-to-year, starting from a very low base. In this report MediaTek is included under “Others” but JPR will break them out by name in future reports. Other suppliers in the market include Broadcom, Freescale, Intel, Marvell, Rockchip, ST-Ericsson, and Wonder Media.

Market share in the first half of 2012 for Mobile SoC’s with 3D GPUs. (Source: Jon Peddie Research)
Modern mobile SoC GPUs are now running OpenGL ES 3.0, released August 2012. In addition to being backward compatible, JPR says it enables functions at least as powerful as PC GPUs and applications. “They have programmable shaders and can deliver amazing game play, UI and browser acceleration, and accelerate the new potentially killer app, augmented reality (AR),” says the report summary. Unlike their PC counterparts, many of the GPUs in mobile devices have image processing functions and can handle camera input directly. They also include video processing and drive 1080p HDTVs or monitors via HDMI.

In addition to the semiconductor suppliers, JPR says there are four primary GPU intellectual property (IP) suppliers: ARM, DMP, Imagination Technologies, and Vivante. Those companies provide IP to all of the SoC builders except Nvidiaand Qualcomm.

Shipments from 1H11 to 1H12 for mobile device GPU suppliers. (Source: Jon Peddie Research)

JPR says 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the tablet as Chinese SoC builders like RockCchip and MediaTek deliver millions of devices for Chinese tablets to the fast-growing Chinese middle class. Price wars have started as these tablets have dropped below $100.