Meet Qualcomm and Nvidia; Major Players in Smartphone and Tablet Market

21 Feb

All the launched and soon-to-be launched Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablets are powered with Nvidia (NVDA) Tegra 2. New tablets from Motorola, Samsung, LG, Asus, MSI, Acer and other Japanese makers shared this similar design, established Nvidia Tegra 2 as a major presence in the tablet market. On the other hand, renowned mobile chip designer

Qualcomm (QCOM), known for its outstanding 2G and 3G technologies, did not stand out in the tablet market. Yet Qualcomm maintains a definite market share among the most advanced Smartphones with its prominent Snapdragon line. Qualcomm had previously lacked in the Wi-Fi product range, and Smartphone using Qualcomm chipset noticeably showed higher power consumption and lower connectivity while connecting to Wi-Fi internet access. In 2011 January, Qualcomm acquired Atheros, a company known for its technology in developing Wi-Fi chips. The industry expects the complementary merger to take Qualcomm a step closer to the Wi-Fi chip leader, Broadcomm.


According to SmartMobix, a research division of TrendForce Corporation, Qualcomm will likely to launch Wi-Fi capable chipsets in April, 2011. The 4th generation chipset will be scheduled for mass production using the 28 nm process technology during 2011 Q3. Qualcomm will challenge Nvidia’s position in the non-iPad tablet market for three foreseeable advantages: the reduced price, improved Wi-Fi connectivity and telecommunication (3G, 4G) module integration and cost advantage.

However, Qualcomm charges Smartphone makers an authorization fee (up to one million U.S. dollars) for the technology used in 3G, 3.5G, 4G LTE modules integration. The added fee on the Wi-Fi only product line still depends on Qualcomm’s future pricing strategy. Therefore, Nvidia Tegra 2 was primarily adopted for launches of Android tablets in Q2 2011, providing the renown GeForce 3D graphic capability and without charging extra fees.

Other than that, Nvidia provides a total solution to Smartphone makers, for a relatively small sum of money, makers adopting Nvidia Tegra 2 can purchase the use of its official drivers. At the same time, Google Android 3.0 developers have optimized the operating system to adopt Tegra 2 for a smooth operation. In the future, the strategy and technical support in Tegra 3 will be improved to best promote the product. Tegra 3 will meet face to face with Qualcomm’s new chipset representing the landscape in Q3 and Q4 of 2011.

Finally, Qualcomm’s new chipset might best suit in capturing greater market share in the Smartphone market. After all, its advantages of low power consumption and advanced telecommunication module integration in 3G, 3.5G and 4G LTE will not be challenge by Nvidia in the short-run and its 4th generation dual core Snapdragon processor might still have a chance in becoming another mainstream tablet processor in the next generation tablet PCs.

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