Imagination Technologies remained the leading supplier of GPUs for personal mobile devices in the first half of 2013, with 37.6 percent market share, according to Jon Peddie Research. Peddie defines personal mobile devices to include smartphones, tablet computers, and handheld game consoles.
However, compared with the same period a year before, Imagination lost market share (as shown in table below) as proprietary GPU user Qualcomm and IP licensors ARM and Vivante all gained. The gains are the more spectacular as Peddie reckons the number of shipments went up by 81 percent.
Peddie did not provide the absolute number of shipments that it estimated comprised the market in 2013's first quarter in a press release, but reckoned that Qualcomm, acknowledged as the leading supplier of application processors for smartphones, is also the leading supplier of proprietary GPUs into the market for personal mobile devices with 32.3 percent market share. The success of Qualcomm's Snapdragon application processors, which include its own designs of GPUs, meant that it increased market share from 29.3 percent a year before.
Market shares of SoC-with-GPU shipments for mobile applications in first half 2013. Source: Jon Peddie Research
Imagination continues to be successful at the prestige end of the market and does well partly as a result of inclusion in Apple and Samsung application processors. However, there are a number of smaller SoC suppliers that license in GPUs such as Allwiner, Freescale, Huawei, MediaTek, Rockchip, Wonder Media, and others. These companies have participated in the feature phone market, and some of them have recently entered the smartphone, tablet, and handheld game machine segment, Peddie said. Many of these have made use of ARM CPU and GPU support to get to market, and some are turning to Vivante and Digital Media Professionals (DMP) for cost effective graphics.
The market is going through a turbulent period, Peddie said, with some companies designing their own GPUs as well as licensing proven designs from licensors. Broadcom and Samsung are in this camp. There has been speculation that Apple would, at some point, develop GPU technology in-house. Others such as Nvidia, having developed GPUs for use in their own SoCs, are now offering to license the technology out. (See: Nvidia to license graphics IP to other chip vendors.)
One notable absentee from Peddie's ranking is Intel, but if the company should start to gain designs wins for its Atom processor in mobile applications, that could change rapidly. "As a result of the turbulence in the market, we expect market shares to shift dramatically through 2013," Peddie said in the press release.