The global smartphone market has seen tremendous growth over the past several years, and companies like Qualcomm have been at the forefront of much of the innovation in the sector with its microprocessor and baseband chips. However, with many companies like Huawei, Samsung and even Apple designing their own SoCs these days, dedicated chipmakers like Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum are starting to feel the heat, especially as the three aforementioned smartphone makers represent large chunks of the global smartphone market. While Huawei uses its own HiSilicon Kirin chips in its flagship smartphones, Samsung designs, develops and manufactures its Exynos range of chipsets which have mostly featured in its own smartphones, but the South Korean company is now looking to expand capacity to make its chips available to other OEMs.
According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, the global mobile processor market saw sales of $20.1 billion last year, having declined 4 percent from the previous year (2014). While Qualcomm continues to be the market leader with 42 percent market share, Apple, MediaTek, Samsung and Spreadtrum rounded off the top five. As for Samsung, the only mainstream Android smartphone maker on the list, the company reportedly shipped as many as 50 million Exynos chips last year, but there’s no way to tell which particular SoC accounted for how many units. According to Strategy Analytics, “Qualcomm, the leader of the global smartphone AP (application processor) market, now faces strong competition from Samsung LSI, which is vertically integrated from the semiconductor division to the smartphone division”.
Reports indicate that the company shipped at least about 15 percent of all its smartphones with Exynos chips last year, while the rest were equipped mostly with silicone from San Diego based Qualcomm. However, Samsung also uses Spreadtrum processors in its entry-level devices to keep costs in check. Samsung’s Exynos chips will reportedly power a large chunk of all Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge handsets to ship out of Samsung’s factories this year. To be precise, it is the Exynos 8890 Octa with custom Mongoose cores, which will power some of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge models, while the rest will come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 under the hood. All of Samsung’s 2015 flagships, including the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5, are powered by the Exynos 7420.