Chipset maker Broadcom became one of the top five smartphone applications processor suppliers for the first time in the third quarter, reflecting its growing presence on phones using Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The researchers said in a report that Broadcom has the potential to challenge traditional smartphone silicon powerhouse Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).
The report found that the total smartphone application processor market spiked 59 percent in the third quarter to $2.24 billion. In terms of unit shipments in the quarter, Qualcomm led the market, followed by Samsung, Texas Instruments, Marvell and then Broadcom. Nvidia lost its No. 5 position in the market to Broadcom, according to Strategy Analytics.
"Thanks to the ramp up of its Android business, Broadcom finally broke into the top-five vendor list for smartphone applications processors in Q3 2011," Stuart Robinson, director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service, said in a statement. "Strategy Analytics continues to believe that Broadcom has the potential to be a strong competitor to Qualcomm in the long-term, given the company's integration capabilities, cellular IP strength and strong emphasis on wireless markets."
Broadcom agreed in September to buy wireless infrastructure chipmaker NetLogic Microsystems for $3.7 billion in a bid to bolster its position in the wireless market and deliver end-to-end networking and processing platforms to customers.
Interestingly, the report found that standalone applications processors outgrew baseband-integrated applications processors, accounting for 41 percent of total smartphone applications processor shipments in the quarter, up from 31 percent in the year-ago period. Strategy Analytics said the growth can be attributed to strong demand for dual-core processors and growth in LTE smartphone shipments, both of which are relatively new to the market and therefore not yet part of a standard integrated solution. Qualcomm, which has long been an advocate of integrating baseband processors and applications processor into a single system-on-a-chip, or SOC, has also started playing in the standalone applications processor market via its Snapdragon offerings.
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