It may seem strange but Chinese chip vendor Allwinner Technologies Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China) probably sold more application processors for tablet computers in 2012 than Intel and Qualcomm put together.
The numbers for annual sales of smartphones and tablet computers are growing fast and we think we know who the winners are: the likes of Apple, Samsung, Nvidia, Qualcomm and so on, right? But Strategy Analytics is reporting an interesting snippet from its market research; that in 2012 Chinese vendors grabbed 20 percent volume share of the tablet application processor market between them. That's in a market that by value grew 83 percent year-on-year to reach $2.7 billion, the firm reckons. So even if those Chinese vendors were selling at the low-end of the pricing spectrum this is not chicken feed.
Sravann Kundojjala, senior analyst with Strategy Analytics, pointed out that the Chinese vendors are selling dual-core ARM chips at $4 or $5 and quad-cores at $8 or $9, less than half what Nvidia is selling its equivalent chips for and so probably the Chinese vendors, while significant in volume, do not yet have 10 percent of the market by value.
Strategy Analytics reckons Apple had about 48 percent revenue share of the tablet processor market in 2012, although clearly their devices are captive in the iPad. Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Samsung and Qualcomm made up Strategy Analytics' top-five ranking of vendors. Strategy Analytics reckons Nvidia led the non-iPad tablet market with 27 percent revenue share in 2012 having scored high-profile design wins in the Google Nexus 7 and the Microsoft Surface RT.
So who are these Chinese tablet processor vendors? Strategy Analytics would like you buy a $6,999 report to find out their take on it.