The general consensus has always been that Qualcomm is the brand bringing high-quality chips to the market, but MediaTek brings cheaper less powerful chips. This is why it’s surprising to know that MediaTek overtook Qualcomm in the Android phone market. More Android phones are now powered by MediaTek chips than Qualcomm chips.
MediaTek overtook Qualcomm with Android phones in the US
Reviewers and tech enthusiasts usually flinch when they see a phone powered by a MediaTek chip. This company always churned out chips that powered budget devices. However, it’s made some serious gains over the years. MediaTek started targeting more premium markets and introduced stronger and more capable chips.
Now, those efforts definitely paid off, as MediaTek was able to overtake Qualcomm in the US in terms of Android phones. This report comes from data analysis firm IDC (via PGMag), and it sheds some light on how these companies are doing. A bar graph shows the performance of Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and other manufacturers throughout 2021.
In the first quarter, Qualcomm had 67% of the market to MediaTek’s 28%. However, MediaTek rose to 34% in the second quarter, 41% in the third quarter, and finally, 51% in the fourth quarter. That left Qualcomm with 47% in the fourth quarter, trailing behind MediaTek by 4%.
Why did this happen?
While MediaTek has been making a push in the premium market, it overtook Qualcomm with its midrange chips. The company’s success was attributed to phones such as the Moto G Pure, the T-Mobile Revvl+, and several Samsung Galaxy A devices. These phones usually line the “cheap phone” shelves of carrier stores, but now they’re lining a bunch of pockets across America.
This really shines a light on how important the midrange market is for the tech world. The mass majority of people can’t buy the latest $1,199 Galaxy, or even the $899 Pixel 6 Pro. However, most people can afford a $300 or $400 phone that does most of what a person really needs. The midrange market is the bread and butter for most companies like Motorola and ZTE, so a ton of them are produced each year.
These numbers are only for the US market, so things could be different on an international scale. Regardless, the USA is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world. A victory in that country is a major one overall.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as MediaTek has been nipping at Qualcomm’s heels for the past couple of years. If Qualcomm doesn’t want MediaTek’s lead to increase, it’s going to need to increase its midrange phone coverage.