Google Tensor, Google’s first homemade SoC, has begun to make its mark in the world of the latest chipsets for Android phones according to Counterpoint Research. The chip is included in Counterpoint’s list of volume share for application processors (APs) used by Android phones last year, broken down by the price range of phones offered.
For example, with Android phones considered to be in the premium flagship category at $900 and up, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips have captured the leading market share of chips-powered phones in this price bracket. For Android devices priced between $500 and $699 and $800 to $900 or higher, Qualcomm was still the main supplier. Samsung came in second with Exynos AP chips even though it overtook Qualcomm and offered more chips for mid-range Android phones in the $700-799 range.
Huawei still has some Kirin chips left in stock
MediaTek ranked third in the premium / flagship category, surprisingly followed by the Huawei HiSilicon brand. In 2020, the US changed its export rules banning foundries using US technology from shipping chips to Huawei, even those chips that Huawei designed themselves. The Hi-Silicon chips that Huawei used last year for its own devices is likely to use the company’s latest inventory and lead to its inclusion in the chart.
Google’s new Tensor AP chip appears in Counterpoint
Google Tensor, Google’s first homegrown chipset made for the Pixel 6 series had a tiny bit of the Android chip pie for phones over $900 (which probably includes most of the Pixel 6 Pro), Android phones priced between $500 and $799 (Pixel 6 purchases).
Qualcomm continues to lead the way in supplying chips to mid-range models priced between $300 and $499. The best AP chipsets in this segment included the Snapdragon 870, 720G, 750G, and 778G. In this price range, MediaTek Dimensity SoCs had the second largest market share with Samsung dropping to third place, and Huawei in fourth place.
In the low-midrange category, MediaTek and its Dimensity chipsets took the lead last year with Qualcomm in second place, Samsung third, Huawei fourth, and Unisoc fifth. For low-cost phones at $99 or less, MediaTek captured the vast majority of the market with Qualcomm in second place, Samsung third, and Unisoc fourth.
Counterpoint says that to alleviate chip shortages in the future, Qualcomm could rely on dual sourcing from TSMC and Samsung. When it comes to its designs, the research firm says that “Qualcomm is generations ahead of its competitors when it comes to premium experiences in the chipset, whether it’s computing (CPU, DSP, GPU), AI (NPU), connectivity (4G, 5G sub-6GHz or 5G). mmWave, Wi-Fi6/6E), security, or gaming capabilities.”
For MediaTek, Counterpoint notes that most of MediaTek’s growth came from smartphones with wholesale prices of $299 or less. The research firm says that most of the chip market’s shortfall has been for SoCs destined for 4G LTE phones.
As expected, MediaTek has dominated the low-end smartphone market
MediaTek is following Qualcomm and Samsung’s flagship with the Dimensity 9000. Most of the smartphone manufacturers in China such as OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi and HONOR will launch phones powered by Dimensity 9000 this year. Counterpoint says MediaTek could end up supplying chips for up to 10% of the premium Android market this year.
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Samsung has suffered a decline in market share for its chipsets across most price points. Significant changes were seen in the low and mid-tier ($100 – $299) segment as Sami’s market share fell from 17% in 2020 to 7% last year. Samsung outsourced its phones belonging to its upper mid-range segment, with its share dropping from 13% in 2020 to 6% in 2021.
Samsung Mobile has handed over the design and manufacture of many of its mid-range devices including the A, F and M series models. The third-party design companies have mostly used AP chips designed by Qualcomm, MediaTek or Unisoc instead of using Samsung’s own Exynos chips.