After MediaTek came late to the 4G party and then decided to pool its efforts towards a big push when 5G became a thing, we’ve seen the new Dimensity chips prove themselves to be worthy alternatives to Qualcomm’s vast array of processors. Since the launch of the Dimensity chips over the past 12 months, more smartphone brands are using MediaTek processors in mainstream handsets, such as the T-Mobile variant of the LG Velvet and the Realme 7 5G. The results of which have seen MediaTek overtake Qualcomm as top chip vendor of Q3 2020.
According to a report from Counterpoint Research, MediaTek made the most of its dominance in the affordable smartphone segment in India and China to snag the title of the top vendor during Q3 2020 with its chips powering more than 100 million handsets sold during the period. Qualcomm, on the other hand, is still the leader in the 5G segment with roughly 39% of all 5G smartphones being powered by a Snapdragon processor of some sort.
The dark horse that has somehow managed a 12% cut of the chip market despite oppressive sanctions is Huawei’s HiSilicon, but whose decline probably accounts for Qualcomm’s dominance of the premium 5G market.
“Research Director Dale Gai said, “MediaTek’s strong market share gain in Q3 2020 happened due to three reasons – strong performance in the mid-end smartphone price segment ($100-$250) and emerging markets like LATAM and MEA, the US ban on Huawei and finally wins in leading OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Honor. The share of MediaTek chipsets in Xiaomi has increased by more than three times since the same period last year. MediaTek was also able to leverage the gap created due to the US ban on Huawei. Affordable MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC became the first option for many OEMs to quickly fill the gap left by Huawei’s absence. Huawei had also previously purchased a significant amount of chipsets ahead of the ban.”
2021 will be an interesting year in the smartphone chip segment as MediaTek is rumored to be unveiling a flagship processor, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series launches with its Exynos 2100 chipset outside of the US, and Snapdragon 888-powered handsets launch in greater numbers. We may finally have the sort of competition in the silicone market to challenge Qualcomm’s monopoly of the segment and to keep it honest.
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