Chip news this week


Smartphone applications processor market

Qualcomm continues to dominate the smartphone applications processor market, with a 53% third-quarter market share according to Strategy Analytics. Samsung, MediaTek, Apple and Spreadtrum were the other top vendors of smartphone applications processors. Spreadtrum is a new entrant into the top five, replacing Broadcom.

“Strategy Analytics estimates that low-cost suppliers MediaTek and Spreadtrum together captured over one-third volume share in the smartphone applications processor market in the second quarter 2013, thanks to the smartphone boom in emerging markets,” wrote Strategy Analytics senior analyst Sravan Kundojjala.

Overall, the smartphone applications processor market grew 44% year-on-year to $4.4 billion during the second quarter. That growth rate is down slightly from Q1, when the market grew almost 50% year-on-year and totaled $3.6 billion.

The vast majority of smartphone applications processors are based on ARM’s low-power architecture. The British company licenses chip designs and/or CPU cores to chipmakers including Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, MediaTek and Spreadtrum. This week, another British company mounted a challenge to ARM with a low-power CPU core based on a competing architecture.

Imagination Technologies launches first Warrior CPU

Imagination Technologies is challenging ARM with its Warrior family of processors. The Warrior chips are based on the MIPS architecture, which Imagination acquired last year. This week Imagination launched the first Warrior CPU core, the P-class P5600.

Imagination says the P5600 is 30% smaller than “compararable CPU cores” and supports up to six cores per cluster. Features include 128-bit SIMD, extended physical addressing and hardware virtualization. The P5600 is a 32-bit solution, and Imagination says a 64-bit MIPS core is on the way.

Broadcom targets NFV with new server chip

Broadcom says exploding mobile traffic means that service providers need to migrate networks to the cloud – and the company has just the solution to help them get there. Broadcom says it has created a new generation of multi-core processors using its ARMv8-A architectural license. The company says the quad-thread 64-bit processors will drive computational performance for control and data plane processing and throughput for networking functions like security and packet processing.

Earlier this year, Qualcomm made a similar announcement, saying that it will target the server market with an ARMv8-A 64-bit solution of its own. Other companies working on ARM-based solutions for servers include AMD, Cavium, Marvell, Nvidia and Samsung.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR