Mobile Devices and the GPUs inside

The market for portable devices (mobile devices that we can carry including notebooks) continues to soar in spite of economic difficulties and general uncertainty. Although personal devices are not necessarily replacing the PC, they are outselling the PC. All of these devices have a graphics processor (GPU) integrated in the device’s system on a chip (SoC) application processor.

JPR has just released a new market study, Mobile Devices and the GPUs Inside, and found that Qualcomm has over 32% of the total market for personal mobile devices, as illustrated in Figure 1.

                                Figure 1: Market share of portable devices GPU IP 1H’13

Except for the four propriety (vertically integrated) suppliers, of the more than four dozen SoC suppliers, characterized as “Others” in Figure 1, Imagination Technologies is the overwhelmingly largest supplier of GPU IP. However, ARM and Vivante have shown tremendous growth year to year. (see table 1).

Other SoC suppliers that buy GPU IP are Allwiner, Freescale, Huawei, MediaTek, Rockchip, Wonder Media/VIA and others. These companies have participated in the feature phone market, and some of them have recently entered the smartphone, tablet, and handheld game machine segment.

One area that is fueling the growth of portable SoCs is the exploding tablet market in China, which is contributing significantly to the astounding growth that ARM and Vivante are experiencing. As a result of this tablet surge in China, dramatic changes are expected during the next 12 months. Apple introduced a 7-inch tablet, Microsoft brought out its Surface tablet, and Texas Instruments will continue to supply Amazon (even though the company has pulled back from the smartphone market as Nokia loses market share).

The market for SoCs with GPUs grew 81% from the first half of 2011, with market shifts occurring as shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Market share changes for portable devices from 1H’11 to 1H’12

As a result of the turbulence in the market, we expect market shares to shift dramatically through 2013.

Over four dozen semiconductor suppliers (Broadcom, Apple, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Qualcomm, Samsung, etc.) produce application processors. All of those companies fall into one of two categories: vertically integrated, or IP buyers. AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm are the vertically integrated companies with their own GPU and CPU designs; all of the other companies buy GPU IP from one of four IP suppliers (ARM, DMP, Imagination Technologies, or Vivante). The exceptions to this tidy categorization are Samsung, which has an internal GPU design as well as purchasing IP from ARM and Imagination Technologies. Broadcom is also an exception; it has an internal design GPU as well as buying IP from ARM.

The leading high-volume suppliers of application processors (i.e., SoCs) are Apple, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, and Samsung. ARM supplies GPU IP for some of Samsung’s mobile phones, while Imagination Technologies’ GPU IP is used in Apple, Texas Instruments, and some of Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets.

The upcoming SoC suppliers with impressive design wins to their credit are Intel (proprietary GPU) and Nvidia (proprietary GPU). Qualcomm however, is the giant in the industry.

JPR’s new Mobile Devices and the GPUs inside market study has 166 pages with 98 tables and figures, and reports on portable and personal devise, and provides a market forecast to 2018. 

  • Executive Summary
  • Definitions & Methodology
  • Introduction
    • Scope of the Study
    • Methodology
    • Information Sources
  • Market Opportunities
    • Platforms
    • Semiconductors
    • SOC suppliers
    • How many GPUs
  • Market Shares
    • Personal Platform
    • Portable Platform
    • Total Mobile: Personal and Portable Platforms
  • SoC Suppliers
    • AMD
    • Intel
    • Nvidia
    • Qualcomm
    • Texas Instruments and Chinese Suppliers
  • IP Suppliers
    • ARM
    • DMP
    • Imagination Technologies
    • Takumi
    • Vivante
  • Devices
    • Tablets
    • Expectations and Observations
    • China-Branded Tablets
    • Giant Tablets
    • Smart Phones
    • Mobile Game Machines
    • Heterogeneous processing and GPU-Compute
  • Displays
  • Operating Systems
  • Appendix



  • Figure 1: Total potential available market for embedded GPUs 2011 to 2018 
  • Figure 2: Total GPUs shipped in various platforms over time 
  • Figure 3: Total GPUs used in Portable Devices 
  • Figure 4: Total GPUs used in Personal Devices 
  • Figure 5: Total Embedded GPUs, all platforms 
  • Figure 6: SoC Personal platform suppliers who design and manufacture their own SoCs 
  • Figure 7: GPU IP Suppliers to Personal platforms 
  • Figure 8: Total Personal platform SoC suppliers 
  • Figure 9: Portable heterogeneous processors suppliers’ market share 
  • Figure 10: Market share of GPU suppliers for all mobile devices 
  • Figure 11: One use for old phones is as an art installation (Source: Robert Pettie) 
  • Figure 12: AMD’s low-power APU roadmap (Source: AMD) 
  • Figure 13: Silvermont introduces a new architecture, while Airmont will take that architecture and bring it down to 14 nm in 2014 (Source: Intel) 
  • Figure 14: Intel’s smartphone roadmap (Source: Intel) 
  • Figure 15: Value-segment platform not to be confused with famous WWII bomber 
  • Figure 16: The heart of the Lexington is Intel’s z2420 Atom (Source: Intel) 
  • Figure 17: Nvidia’s current Tegra roadmap (Source: Nvidia) 
  • Figure 18: Adreno GPU performance (Source: Qualcomm) 
  • Figure 19: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC (Source: Qualcomm) 
  • Figure 20: What’s in a name? Qualcomm temporarily renames their stadium. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith wasn’t amused. (Source: Slashgear) 
  • Figure 21: ARM’s Mali GPU roadmap (Source: ARM) 
  • Figure 22: ARM sees volume of shipments going up as the size of the chips comes down (Source: ARM) 
  • Figure 23: DMP IP roadmap (Source: DMP) 
  • Figure 24: Imagination Technologies’ GPU roadmap (Source: Imagination Technologies) 
  • Figure 25: The scalability of Nvidia’s Kepler core (Source: Nvidia) 
  • Figure 26 Takumi product map (Source: Takumi) 
  • Figure 27: GO PenPoint tablet PC, circa 1987—the first tablet? 
  • Figure 28: Major tablet developments over time (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 29: Tablet market and forecast (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 30: Tablet shipments by size 2011 to 2017 (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 31: Tablet ASPs over time (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 32: Tablet market value 2011 to 2017 (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 33: Market share of various sized tablets 2011 to 2017 (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 34: Growth rate of tablets 2012 to 2017 (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 35: Tablet vs. PC shipments 2011 to 2017 (Source: JPR) 
  • Figure 36: Comparison of PC forecasts and tablet growth (Source JPR) 
  • Figure 37: Panasonic’s un-named 20-inch 4k tablet (Source: CBS Interactive) 
  • Figure 38: Dell’s XPS 18 Touch (Source: Dell) 
  • Figure 39: Sony’s Vaio Tap 20 with detachable keyboard (Source: Sony) 
  • Figure 40: Asus Transformer AIO (Source: Asus) 
  • Figure 41: Ergo Electronics introduced the GoTab DIG!T, 6-inch tablet (Source: GoTab) 
  • Figure 42: Educational activities among tablet owners (Nielsen) 
  • Figure 43: China’s tablet sales 
  • Figure 44: Samsung’s Mega 6.3 (Samsung) 
  • Figure 45: PPI and cost per PPI for some popular tablets 
  • Figure 46: Mobile gaming market 
  • Figure 47: Mobile phone market and forecast 
  • Figure 48: Mobile phone shipments 2011 to 2017 
  • Figure 49: Mobile phone ASPs over time
  • Figure 50: Mobile phone market value 2011 to 2017 
  • Figure 51: Market share of mobile phones 2011 to 2017 
  • Figure 52: Growth rate of mobile phones 2011 to 2017
  • Figure 53: Mobile phones vs. tablet shipments 2011 to 2017 
  • Figure 54: China’s mobile phone sales 
  • Figure 55: Chester Gould introduced the idea of a 2-way wrist TV device in his Dick Tracy comic in 1946. A commemorative US stamp was issued October 1, 1995, Scott #3000-m 
  • Figure 56: Al Gross the inventor of the Walkie-Talkie and the first wireless pager in 1938 
  • Figure 57: History of mobile communications (Courtesy Business Traveler) 
  • Figure 58: The first camera phone (The World of Steam) 
  • Figure 59: PPI and cost per PPI for some popular smartphones 
  • Figure 60: The top 10 grossing iOS games in the US (Source Think Gaming)  
  • Figure 61: Mobile gamers per country who pay for games 
  • Figure 62: Men are the big spenders in mobile games 
  • Figure 63: Mobile gaming has exceeded all other gaming venues (Brand Engage) 
  • Figure 64: Mobile game sales (App Annie and IDC) 
  • Figure 65: VITA vs. Smartphone? No contest for serious gaming 
  • Figure 66: Samsung Galaxy Note II with 5.5-inch screen 
  • Figure 67: Moga and Nvidia Shield handheld game devices have game controller look and feel 
  • Figure 68: Nyko Playpad Pro game controller for Android devices. 
  • Figure 69: OPenSubDiv is platform agnostic and used OpenCL 
  • Figure 70: A typical computer vision algorithm pipeline 
  • Figure 71: Smart Sonic Receiver Technology vibrates the phone (Source: Kyocera) 
  • Figure 72: Microchip Technology’s GestIC technology using a multi-layer conductive trace structure can find usages for conventional capacitive touch functions. 
  • Figure 73: The trace structure creates a three-dimensional, symmetrical equipotential E-field around the sensor surface. A close-range conductive item, such as a human finger, distorts the E-field in a manner that the MGC3130 can detect and decode. 
  • Figure 74: A new API every five years 
  • Figure 75: Conceptualization of PAM/TAM/SAM and SOM (Courtesy RAK Associates) 
  • Figure 76: Video codec compression efficiency has increased by only 3x 
  • Figure 77: Video compression is key to lower overall network bandwidth traffic 
  • Figure 78: Scene luminance driven by bright sky (Trusight) 
  • Figure 79: The original image is brightened by Trusight’s algorithm, and the sky is left essentially untouched (Trusight) 
  • Figure 80: Trusight’s Vice President of Engineering, Randall Eike, is obscured by shadows in this original image (Trusight) 
  • Figure 81: Trusight’s Vice President of Engineering, Randall Eike, is revealed in the Trusight-processed version, without washing out his family’s facial features and other details in the process (Trusight) 
  • Figure 82: Average time spent on a mobile device (focused on composition and 3D) 
  • Figure 83: Composition of several surfaces using a composition engine 
  • Figure 84: Graphics pipeline implementation of Big-Little concept 
  • Figure 85: Vivante’s CPC Draw Engine 
  • Figure 86: Vivante’s CPC pixel engine