After examining the statistics for the estimated graphics chip shipments and suppliers’ market share for estimated mobile devices, Jon Peddie Research (JPR) has found that shipments of GPUs in mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) during the first half of 2012 had a growth year to year (first-half 2011 to first-half 2012) of 69.4%.
Samsung’s sales surged in the first half, giving it the highest CAGR for the year (179%), followed by Qualcomm (39%), which was already enjoying high shipment rates. MediaTek (included under “others” for this report) had a phenomenal 966% growth year to year (starting from a very low base).
In terms of market share change, Apple held pretty even. Samsung and others grew with the following change percentages: Apple, 70.0%; Nvidia, 36.6%; Qualcomm, 39.0%; Samsung, 179.4%; TI, -31.6%; others, 493.5%. Other suppliers in the market include Broadcom, Freescale, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Rockchip, ST-Ericsson, and WonderMedia.
Modern mobile SoC GPUs are now running OpenGL ES 3.0, which was publicly released in August. In addition to being backward compatible, it enables functions at least as powerful as PC GPUs and applications. They have programmable shaders and can deliver amazing gameplay and UI and browser acceleration, and accelerate the new potentially killer app, augmented reality (AR). Unlike their PC counterparts, many of the GPUs in mobile devices have image processing functions and can handle camera inputs directly. They also include video processing and drive 1080p HDTVs or monitors via HDMI.
In addition to the semiconductor suppliers, there are four GPU IP suppliers: ARM, DMP, Imagination Technologies, and Vivante. Those companies provide IP to all the SoC builders except Nvidia and Qualcomm.
It seems that 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the tablet, as Chinese SoC builders, such as Rockchip and MediaTek, deliver millions of devices for Chinese tablets that are being consumed by Chinese consumers. The price wars have started, as these tablets have dropped below $100.