Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), long known as a mega-supplier of CDMA chipsets, is rapidly extending its position in smartphones, and, according to a new report, may be combining with Google's Android platform to create a dominant synergy in the wireless market akin to Microsoft and Intel's partnership in the PC industry.
According to a report by consultancy PRTM, of the 57 Android handsets from 12 different manufacturers the firm surveyed, 77 percent of them were running Qualcomm's chips. The firm terms the partnership "Quadroid" and compares it to "Wintel." Wintel has dominated computers as Microsoft's Windows operating system coupled with Intel's chips became standard among PC makers.
Android is rapidly growing its market share; indeed, according to research firm Gartner, Android powered 25.5 percent of the smartphones sold to customers worldwide in the third quarter, outclassing all other smartphone platforms except Symbian. According to recent reports from research firms Canalys and the NPD Group, Android captured around 44 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in the third quarter--besting both iPhone maker Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).
Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, which first appeared on Android devices in early 2009, has since expanded its hold on the platform. Although Texas Instruments' OMAP processors run some high-profile Android devices, like the Motorola (NYSE:MOT) Droid X, Qualcomm's chips power numerous Android phones, including the HTC Evo and Incredible and the T-Mobile G2.
Among the other insights from PRTM's report is that Qualcomm is speeding up its chip delivery cycle for Android phones. Another is that once Google releases a new version of Android, almost all handset vendors have the ability to produce a handset running on it within 16 to 20 weeks.
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