Google Tensor took market share from AP chipsets in 2021

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Google Tensor took market share from AP chipsets in 2021

Google’s first SoC, the Google Tensor, has started to make its mark in the world of cutting-edge chipsets for Android phones according to Search for counterpoint. The chip was included in Counterpoint’s list of the volume share of application processors (APs) used by Android phones last year, broken down by the price range of the bundled handsets.
For example, with Android phones considered part of the premium flagship tier priced at $900 and above, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets held the major market share of chips powering phones in that price bracket. For Android handsets priced between $500 and $699, and between $800 and $900 and above, Qualcomm remains the main vendor. Samsung was second with its Exynos AP chips although it overtook Qualcomm and provided more chips to midrange Android phones in the $700-799 range.

Huawei still had Kirin chipsets in inventory

MediaTek finished third in the premium/flagship segment, followed surprisingly enough by Huawei’s HiSilicon brand. In 2020, the United States changed its export rules preventing foundries using American technology from shipping chips to Huawei, even those chips that Huawei designed itself. The Hi-Silicon chipsets that Huawei used last year for its own devices likely used the company’s latest inventory and led to its inclusion in the chart.
Google Tensor, Google’s first in-house chipset designed for the Pixel 6 series, had a very small slice of the Android chipset pie for phones priced above $900 (which probably includes most configurations of the Pixel 6 Pro), Android handsets priced between $500 and $799 (Pixel 6 purchases).
Qualcomm was still in the lead in supplying chips to high-end midrange models priced between $300 and $499. Its best AP chips in this sector included the Snapdragon 870, 720G, 750G and 778G. In this price bracket, MediaTek’s Dimensity SoCs held the second-largest market share, with Samsung moving up to third and Huawei nearing fourth.

In the low-midrange category, MediaTek and its Dimensity chipsets led last year with Qualcomm second, Samsung third, Huawei fourth and Unisoc fifth. For low-end handsets priced at $99 and under, MediaTek held the vast majority of the market with Qualcomm second, Samsung third, and Unisoc fourth.

Counterpoint says that to alleviate chip shortages in the future, Qualcomm could rely on the dual source of TSMC and Samsung. Regarding its designs, the research firm claims that “Qualcomm is generations ahead of its competition when it comes to high-end experiences in a chipset, whether it’s compute (CPU, DSP, GPU), AI (NPU), connectivity (4G, 5G sub-6GHz, 5G mmWave, Wi-Fi6/6E), security or gaming capabilities.”

As for MediaTek, Counterpoint points out that most of MediaTek’s growth is coming from smartphones priced wholesale at $299 and below. The research firm says most of the shortages in the chip market were in SoCs for 4G LTE handsets.

As expected, MediaTek dominated the low end of the smartphone market

MediaTek is taking on Qualcomm and Samsung’s flagship business with the Dimensity 9000. Most of the smartphone makers in China such as OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi and HONOR will launch phones powered by the Dimensity 9000 this year. And Counterpoint says MediaTek could end up supplying chips to 10% of the high-end Android market this year.

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Samsung suffered a drop in market share for its chipsets in most price ranges. Big changes were seen in the low-mid segment ($100 to $299) where Sammy’s market share fell from 17% in 2020 to 7% last year. Samsung outsourced its phones belonging to its medium-high segment, where its share fell from 13% in 2020 to 6% in 2021.

Samsung Mobile transferred design and manufacturing duties for many of its high-end handsets, including the A-, F-, and M-series models. These third-party design companies primarily used AP chips designed by Qualcomm, MediaTek, or Unisoc instead of using Samsung’s own Exynos chipsets.

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