Multi-core penetration continues to rise and, by end of this year, could cross 75% with smartphones containing multi-core processors now selling for under $100.
Qualcomm leads in the multi-core market, Spreadtrum in the single core.
For the first time, multi-cores out-shipped single-core in Q3 2012, thanks to strong traction for flagship chips such as Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and low-cost Cortex-A5 / Cortex-A7 chips from multiple vendors.
Quad-core smartphone applications processor shipments registered five-fold growth in 1H 2013 compared to 1H 2012, while single-core smartphone applications processor shipments declined by 14% in the same period.
Qualcomm led themutli-core market with 43% volume share followed by Apple, Samsung, MediaTek and ST-Ericsson in 1H 2013.
Qualcomm overtook Apple to become the leading multi-core vendor in Q4 with in the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 among others.
NVIDIA’s upcoming LTE Tegra chip Tegra 4i could generate more volume in the smartphone market.
HiSilicon, Huawei’s in-house silicon designer, has its K3V2 quad-core chip. Broadcom, Intel, Marvell and Spreadtrum started shipping multi-cores in 1H 2013.
Single-core has the highest baseband-integrated chip penetration while quad-core segment has the lowest baseband-integrated chip penetration. This can be attributed to time-to-market advantage with stand-alone applications processors.
While it is debatable how many number of cores would be enough, the market is expected to see the first true octa core chip from MediaTek later this year.