Despite 15% revenue growth and 13% unit growth for smartphones in 2010, the smartphone IC business moves towards commoditisation and consolidation like Intel-Infineon; Broadcom-Beceem; Qualcomm-Atheros.
The top ten application processor suppliers, including Qualcomm, TI, Samsung, Apple, and Marvell, together accounted for some 85% of all revenues for the segment in 2010, says ABI Research.
In baseband processors, Qualcomm, MediaTek, TI and ST-Ericsson together earned 82% of the total broadband processor market which grew 11% in 2010.
Qualcomm led the global handset baseband market in CDMA and W-CDMA segments, while MediaTek took the top position in GSM/GPRS/EDGE and TD-SCDMA segments.
However the market is not producing huge revenue or profit growth. Qualcomm grew 12% last year in a 30%+ industry growth year, and MediaTek grew only 3%..
ST-Ericsson continues to sink like a stone – reporting Q1 sales and profits at its lowest levels yet. Q1 2011 sales of $444 million were down on Q4 2010 sales of $577 million and on Q1 2010 sales of $606 million. The Q1 2011 loss was $149 million compared to the Q4 2010 loss of $119 million and the Q1 2010 loss of $114 million.
This is not a comfortable sector to be in.