Intel's current chips aren't "any better than what others offer today," making share gains unlikely said Gwennap. "We are waiting for Intel's first 22nm smartphone part which should help them out, but just 22nm alone won't put them into a performance leadership," he said, noting the FinFET process Intel pioneered as much as two years ahead of other chip makers.
"A new micro-architecture can help, but they need to amp up their game," said Gwennap. "Today they are just delivering what the other market leaders are delivering and not standing out, and they are behind in integrating the baseband and processor-- even Nvidia with Tegra 4 is moving in that direction," he added.
The next big step is bringing Wi-Fi into the apps processor, something Qualcomm has already done and Mediatek announced it will do in a few months. Broadcom, Marvell and Samsung are also pointed to roll Wi-Fi into their next generation chips, he noted.
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Integrated chips are on the rise as standalone apps processors fade.
Qualcomm is rising to about 33 percent share in apps processors, followed by Samsung which is edging toward 17 percent, according to Gwennap. In house ASICs are declining to about 18 percent as handset makers such as Nokia adopt Qualcomm chips, he said.