Smartphone apps with AI up three-fold

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Apple, HiSilicon, Qualcomm and Samsung LSI capitalise on AI’s take off in smartphones

The global smartphone applications processor (AP) market declined 0.3% year on year to reach $4.5 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service report. However, artificial intelligence (AI) functionality grew almost three fold year on year in the same quarter.

According to Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung LSI, MediaTek and HiSilicon held the top five revenue share spots in the global smartphone AP market in the first quarter 2018. Qualcomm maintained its smartphone AP momentum with 45% revenue share followed by Apple with 17% and Samsung LSI with 14%.

Strategy Analytics estimates vertical vendors Apple, HiSilicon and Samsung LSI together captured 40% revenue share in the quarter. Despite these advances, the market leader Qualcomm improved its marketshare driven by broad customer relationships and a strong product line up.

MediaTek and UNISOC (Spreadtrum and RDA) continued to underperform in the smartphone AP market; they once again saw shipments decline year on year in the quarter.

Sravan Kundojjala, associate director at Strategy Analytics, commented: “MediaTek lost smartphone AP market share for the fifth consecutive quarter. In the first quarter 2018, due to challenges in product transition and competition from Qualcomm, MediaTek’s smartphone AP shipments reached the lowest in the past four years. Strategy Analytics believes that MediaTek’s share losses are bottoming out and its renewed Helio P series chip effort has the potential to bring MediaTek back on track in the coming quarters.”

Stuart Robinson, executive director of the Strategy Analytics handset component technologies service, added: “Strategy Analytics estimates that smartphone APs with on-device AI functionality grew almost three fold year over year in the first quarter 2018. Apple, HiSilicon, Qualcomm and Samsung LSI were the prime beneficiaries of AI’s take off in smartphone APs in the quarter, addressing the AI chip market with multiple approaches including dedicated AI IP blocks and repurposed DSP & GPU combination. Key AI smartphone APs include Apple A11 Bionic, HiSilicon Kirin 970, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845/835 and Samsung Exynos 9810. Strategy Analytics feels that AI’s full potential is yet to be realized in smartphones and AI will ignite the architecture innovation in smartphone APs in the coming days.”

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