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Every fifth smartphone sold last year featured system-on-chip with two general-purpose cores, according to Strategy Analytics market tracking firm. Samsung leads transition pace to multi-core SoCs for smartphones: 60% of its smartphone chips sold last year are dual-core application processors.

Dual-core system-on-chips (SoCs), which power ultra high-end smartphones, gained strong traction in 2011, accounting for nearly 20% of total smartphone applications processors shipped, according to, Strategy Analytics market research firm. This Strategy Analytics research shows that Samsung led the dual-core smartphone applications processor market in 2011, with 60% volume share, followed by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia. Samsung’s success in dual-core processors can be attributed to its strong sales at Apple and in Samsung’s own mobile handset division.

“Qualcomm captured 16% volume share in the dual-core smartphone applications processor market in 2011 on the strength of its dual-core Snapdragon applications processor products MSM8x60 and APQ8060. Strategy Analytics believes that Qualcomm is well-positioned to make significant share gains in 2012 with the help of its LTE-integrated dual-core Snapdragon processor MSM8960,” said Stuart Robinson, director of the Strategy Analytics handset component technologies service.

Stand-alone applications processors accounted for 90% of total dual-cores shipped in 2011. Single-core applications processors are much more likely to be integrated with baseband capabilities: 72% of total single-core SoCs shipped in 2011 featured integrated baseband capabilities.

“Strategy Analytics would advise Nvidia to focus on high volume tier-one design-wins in 2012 in order to maintain its first-mover advantage with quad-core processors. Nvidia, whose Tegra 2 smartphone shipments declined 8% at the end of 2011 - compared to shipments in the first half of the year - lost momentum, despite being early to market with dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors,” said Sravan Kundojjala a senior analyst with Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics anticipates dual-core applications processor penetration into mainstream smartphones will accelerate through 2012 and into 2013, and new ARM architectures such as Cortex-A5 will help dual-core penetrate entry-level smartphones at the start of 2013.

Tags: Samsung, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Apple

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