Mobile stars line up for Qualcomm dominance

Mobile stars line up for Qualcomm dominance

Summary: Qualcomm is largely running away with the smartphone and tablet field. Analysts are openly wondering if there's any competition for Qualcomm.


Qualcomm will report its fiscal first quarter results Wednesday and appears to be the chipmaker with all the wind at its back.

The company is expected to report earnings of $1.13 a share on revenue of $5.9 billion for the first quarter. But the main takeaway is that Qualcomm is largely running away with the smartphone and tablet field. Analysts are openly wondering if there's any competition for Qualcomm.


For instance, Piper Jaffray analyst Auguste Gus Richard sees a lot of green field for Qualcomm. Qualcomm's edge is only likely to grow given the following:

  • New smartphones from Samsung and HTC are on tap. 
  • Mobile World Congress will bring a bevy of tablet and smartphone design wins. 
  • China is a large untapped market for Qualcomm and the country has a GSM migration rolling. 
  • Qualcomm has an LTE chipset lead and is capitalizing.

Richard noted:

We also expect strong guidance for the March quarter, above normal seasonality on the back of strong royalties from LTE smartphones and tablets sold in CQ4. Additionally we see chip market share gains in handsets sold around Chinese New Year. With TI exiting the apps processor business, ST-Ericsson in disarray, Intel struggling at the high-end, and Broadcom far behind Qualcomm, the only competition is Mediatek at the low-end. While internally-sourced apps processors at Samsung are a threat, Samsung is not competitive in modems and lacks scale in chip design of Qualcomm.

Other analysts also noted the China connection for Qualcomm. In China, Mediatek is a threat, but its LTE chipset won't ship until early 2014 for sampling. "Qualcomm has made China a priority over the last few years and our checks indicate that Qualcomm is increasing their focus on the geography," said Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Modoff.

In addition, Qualcomm is likely to gain from smartphone and tablet sales overall. Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum said:

We believe demand for smartphones and tablets is likely to surprise to the upside in CQ4, as evidenced by Corning having raised its Gorilla Glass guidance for Q4 in late November, while 3G/4G device ASP could also surprise to the upside based on recent high-end LTE and “phablet” model launches (with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 potentially topping 8M units globally in 4Q12).

Topics: Mobility, 4G, Hardware, Processors, ARM

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  • I hope they paid for this advert!

    Your headline suggests you were looking at the competition.

    But alas, no. Hardly a mention!
  • Watch out for MediaTek

    Most under-$350 smartphones rely on systems on a chip (SOCs) from MediaTek. These phones are coming on strong in Asia. Don't be surprised if they gain traction in Western countries, too, especially after they become LTE-capable.
  • What about Nvidia?

    Tegra 2/3 may not have set the world on fire exactly, but there's a fair few design wins out there (including Nexus 7, Lenovo/Toshiba/Sony/Asus tablets, HTC One X family etc), and Tegra 4 will have integrated LTE. Wouldn't call Mediatek the only low end competition..
  • Qualcomm satellite

    On the back of the cab of a big truck you might see a round white dome that is a satellite dish made by Qualcomm so the driver can communicate with dispatch. Over half of the trucks on the road have them. The technology was created in the 80's and has only recently been updated. Are they going to do the same to the tablet market? Make it and forget about while making billions per year. I sure hope not, but I have years of experience with the snails pace with which that qualcomm usually innovates. They are famous in the trucking industry for developing the most innovative product and then never updating it.
  • This annooucement was brought to you by...

    ... guess who.
  • Advert

    Paid advert? Is this the only Company out there? Is this a monopoly? Is there anybody home?
  • Do They Have An Eight-Core Chip?

    Samsung's Exynos "Octa" seems unique at this point.
  • Not really interested at the moment!!!

    When I get ready to buy a new device, then I will be more interested in the latest devices. There will be so many lead changes in the next few years, that we will have to wait until it is really important to us. I'm sure Qualcomm has some great processors, but we are almost to processor overkill now. The Nexus 10 with a fast dual core and2 gig of ram works just fine for me. I will likely buy one of the fastest devices I can get when I am in the market, but I will likely have other criteria too. That is good, lots of competition keeps prices down.